King Willem-Alexander performs the swearing-in of Raymond Knops as Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations at Palace Huis ten Bosch in The Hague on Friday. Also sworn in as Minister was Stientje van Veldhoven-Van der Meer who will take over the housing portfolio. Photo by Rotapool/Patrick van Katwijk.

 

THE HAGUE--Raymond Knops was sworn in as Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations BZK on Friday. Knops, previously a state secretary, will temporarily replace Kajsa Ollongren who for the time being is unable to fulfil her task as minister.

  A complication evolved during recovery from a medical procedure that Minister and Vice-Prime Minister Ollongren recently underwent, and she will need treatment for this complication, Dutch Government Information Service RVD stated in a press release on Friday.

  Ollongren has been out of the office since last month due to a sinus-related illness. An operation to her sinuses, on the left and right side above her nose, was initially successful, but was followed by medical complications. “Thank goodness it seems treatable, but it will take some time before I am completely healed,” Ollongren told the Parool newspaper.

  Knops will take over the largest part of Ollongren’s portfolio. Aside from Kingdom Relations, Government Real Estate and Border-Crossing Cooperation, he will be in charge of Democracy and Government, a number of government departments and the operation to strengthen Groningen, which has been suffering from tremors due to large-scale gas extraction. So, Knops will be busier, but the BZK Ministry doesn’t expect major consequences for the Kingdom Relations portfolio.

  Stientje van Veldhoven-Van der Meer was also sworn in as Minister of Environment and Housing on Friday. Van Veldhoven-Van der Meer, who up to now was State Secretary of Infrastructure and Water Management, takes over Ollongren’s Housing portfolio. King Willem-Alexander granted Van Veldhoven and Knops resignation with full honours as state secretaries.

  Defence Minister Ank Bijleveld-Schouten takes over Ollongren’s responsibility for National Intelligence and Security Agency AIVD. Ollongren’s function as Vice-Prime Minister will go to Minister of Social Affairs and Labour Wouter Koolmees.

  The appointments of Knops and Van Veldhoven-Van der Meer will be for at least six weeks, until the Christmas recess. When Ollongren returns, Van Veldhoven-Van der Meer and Knops will resume their work as state secretaries, confirmed Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Friday.