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He now looks forward to new challenges outside politics, and thanked his colleagues and employees for their cooperation and trust in recent years.

Now that the ministerial posts have been divided among the parties and the arrival of a new cabinet is near, outgoing Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management Mark Harbers has announced his retirement on social media. “I won't be part of that anymore, it's time to do something else,” he writes. Harbers looks back on a fifteen-year career in national politics, where he was active in the House of Representatives, as State Secretary for Justice and Security, and in the current cabinet as Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management.

Harbers looks back with pride on his time at the ministry, where he felt “more than at home”. From an early age he has had a passion for everything that drives, flies, sails and flows, and it was a dream come true for him to be a minister. “The ministry where I felt more than at home! Because from an early age I have had a passion for everything that drives, flies, sails and flows. So it was really a dream come true to be a minister here, and now I am happy to pass on the baton," says Harbers.


There were many challenges and milestones during his tenure. Harbers was responsible, among other things, for the start of the largest maintenance and replacement operation of roads, bridges, waterways and railways in the Netherlands. He introduced a modern vision of mobility for 2050 and committed himself to reversing the negative trend in road and bicycle safety. He also worked on a new future perspective for the car and laid a solid foundation for the aviation of the future, where airports must be in balance with their environment.

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Another important spearhead was the water management of the Netherlands. Harbers emphasized that the country must not only be protected against high water, but must also be prepared for drought and provide cleaner water. He was also committed to making shipping and ports more sustainable. Harbers has worked passionately on these and many other topics in his role as minister.

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Mark Harders
Photo: © Pitane Blue - Mark Harbers during the opening of the tunnel in Eindhoven

Now that his term of office is coming to an end, Harbers is looking forward to a new chapter outside politics. “Now, after all these years, it is time for new activities. I don't know yet what I'm going to do, but I'm looking forward to exploring life outside politics in The Hague,” he says.

For Harbers it has been a privilege to work for the VVD in The Hague for the past fifteen years, and before that in Rotterdam politics. He is grateful for the trust he received from the VVD and thanks all the fantastic employees of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management. “I am therefore grateful for the trust I received from the VVD,” Harbers writes. He also thanks all the fantastic employees of IenW - who from the ministry and throughout the country keep the Netherlands moving every day. “And also thanks to the employees in the House of Representatives, the MPs in the various periods and the colleagues in the cabinet for the pleasant cooperation. I wish the incoming VVD ministers, all members of the coming cabinet and my successor the best of luck,” said Harbers.

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With his departure, Dutch politics loses a dedicated and passionate politician. Harbers' contributions to infrastructure and water management have had a lasting impact, and his work on making the Dutch transport system more sustainable and safe will live on. His successor will have a solid foundation to build on, and Harbers himself is looking forward to what the future has in store for him outside the political arena.


PVV MP Barry Madlener appears to be the main candidate for the post of Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management in the new Schoof cabinet. In any case, this ministerial post will go to Geert Wilders' party, which will also provide the new State Secretary in this ministry. Madlener, born in 1969 in Leiden and raised in Oostvoorne, has always had Infrastructure and Water Management in his portfolio during his political career. During his first period as a Member of Parliament from 2006 to 2009, he was a member of the Parliamentary Committee on Transport, Public Works and Water Management. 

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