The great Dutch libertarian Hubert Jongen has died


(Translated from the Dutch by Neil Lock. See the original by Michael van der Galien)

Hubert Jongen, who for literally decades was one of the most important and influential libertarians in the Netherlands, died on Wednesday (15th June 2016) at the age of 88.

Before he became politically active, he was a successful entrepreneur. In his company “Ingenieursbureau Jongen” (Engineering Office Jongen) he eventually employed 500 people. Once he had read Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, he became a libertarian and objectivist. Since then, he gave his whole heart and soul to the political ideology of freedom.

Together with his wife Rita van Roon he was co-founder of the Libertarisch Centrum (Libertarian Centre), the Vrijbrief (Freedom Letter), the libertarian relief fund LIFHAS, the second Libertarian World Conference, the Dutch Libertarian Party, Libertarian.nl and Vrijspreker.nl. The latter website today published an obituary which reaffirms that Jongen has had a huge impact on the libertarian movement in our country:

The patriarch and co-founder of the libertarian movement in the Netherlands and driver of Libertarian International has died suddenly. Hub was the primordial libertarian and a tireless, always busy organizer, writer and inspiration in all areas and expressions of liberty. Whether it was the Vrijbrief, Vrijspreker, discussion, promotion, or political writing, Hub set things in motion and was always busy. More than 6,500 of his articles in the Vrijspreker show not only his work ethic, but also his vision, clarity and enthusiasm for libertarianism. His spirit remains in the countless articles on this site; but you can keep it alive by carrying on where he had to stop.

The Libertarisch Centrum was the first libertarian organization in the Netherlands. So Jongen was a real pioneer. Furthermore, he was one of the people behind the creation of the Libertarian Party. The leader of the LP, Toine Manders, says of him:

I am deeply saddened by the news of the death of Hub Jongen. He was not only one of the founders and first directors of the LP, but he was also closely involved in the election campaign of the LP for the parliamentary elections in 1994, and thus played a key role in this important start-up phase of the LP. Even after his resignation as a director, he was always ready to support the LP with advice and deed. The LP is now the fastest growing party in the Netherlands, particularly in social media, and we owe this largely to Hub Jongen. We will miss him.

Perhaps not everyone knows Jongen; but that does not make him any less important. He played a huge role in the development of the libertarian movement in the Netherlands; a movement which, unlike all other political movements, stands for maximum individual freedom. Therefore, I suggest that people who did not know Jongen (and those who did know him, too!) should take the opportunity to read his pieces again. Just go to Vrijspreker.nl or search on Google.

 

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5 comments

  • I knew Hubert well, and am saddened by the news of his death. My condolences to Rita and his other loved ones. However, while regretting his death, we must also celebrate his life – a long life with much positive achievement. He will not be forgotten.

    • Thank you, Sean.

      Hubert was my “liberty uncle” – much the same relationship as you have to Keir. We must never forget our responsibility to do what we can to educate people younger than ourselves (even if they aren’t “young”) to direct their thinking towards liberty.

      • Then I hope I shall live as long and as well as Hubert.

  • I confess I had never heard of him. I am not an ‘educated’ person and know very little about libertarianism, but I will look him up.

    Are there articles of his available in English? And any that you would recommend I look at?

    • Unfortunately, most of Hubert’s writings are in Dutch, on Dutch subjects and published on Dutch websites. I would say his interest was more in applying the ideas of liberty in particular contexts than in the academic side. He was an engineer by profession, after all.

      In the English speaking liberty world we used to see him often as an organizer, chairman of panels and such like. And he came many times to LA conferences in London – for example, he chaired a panel at Chris Tame’s last conference in 2005.

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