Hedy d’Ancona

Hedy d'Ancona bigraphy, stories - Dutch geographer, sociologist and politician

Hedy d’Ancona : biography

October 1, 1937 –

Hedwig (Hedy) d’Ancona (born October 1, 1937 in The Hague) is a Dutch politician, geographer and sociologist.

Private sector

Outside of government, she is known for starting the feminist monthly Opzij as well as the special interest lobbying group, Man-Vrouw-Maatschappij (Man-Woman-Society), which she co-founded with Joke Kool-Smit.

Government career

She was the Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport and State Secretary for Social Affairs and Employment for issues concerning women’s liberation. She also served in the European Parliament and in the first chamber of the Dutch parliament, for the Labour Party.


In 1992, Hedy d’Ancona was awarded the Harriet Freezerring, a women’s liberation prize, by the monthly Opzij she started. In 1994, she was named as a Knight of the Order of the Netherlands Lion. In 2002, she won the Aletta Jacobsprijs, a women’s emancipation prize awarded by University of Groningen every two years.


  • 1962 – 1965: TV-producer for the VARA
  • 1965 – 1975: Researcher in social geography at the University of Amsterdam
  • 1974 – 1981: Member of the first chamber of Dutch parliament, for the Labour Party.
  • 1975 – 1981: Director of Centrum Beleidsadviserend Onderzoek (Cebeon), a company that offers research-based advice to government and non-profit organisations, with Maurice de Hond
  • September 1981 – May 1982: Secretary of State, Ministry of Welfare and Employment
  • August 1982 – September 1983: Member of Parliament
  • 1984-1989: Member of the European Parliament
  • 1989-1994: Minister of Welfare, Health and Culture
  • 1994-1999: Member of European Parliament


From April 1995 through June 2004, d’Ancona was Chairwoman of Oxfam Novib (Oxfam Netherlands), serving also as Vice-Chairman of Oxfam International during part of her tenure.