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Aletta Jacobs-Prize 2010 for Neelie Kroes

19 October 2009

The Aletta Jacobs Prize 2010 of the University of Groningen will be awarded to Ms Neelie Kroes. She is receiving the prize in honour of the major social impact of her work and the clear exemplary role she plays in positions that are sometimes unique and often powerful. Kroes is an example for women from many generations, particularly recently, because she fulfils a significant, effective and positive pioneering role in the field of female emancipation. In this sense she is following in the footsteps of Aletta Jacobs. The Aletta Jacobs Prize will be awarded on 8 March 2010.

Neelie Kroes (Rotterdam, 1941) is European Commissioner for Competition. She studied Economics at the Erasmus University Rotterdam and has been a member of the Dutch parliament, Secretary of State for Transport, Public Works and Water Management in the first Van Agt cabinet (1977-1981) and Minister of Transport, Public Works and Water Management in the first and second Lubbers cabinets (1982-1986 and 1986-1989, respectively), as well as president of Nyenrode business school, currently Nyenrode Business University.


Neelie Kroes has an impressive career behind her and a number of significant achievements to her name, for example the commissioning of the Betuwe railway line and the preparations for the privatization of the Dutch Post and Telephone Services. As a European Commissioner, Kroes has earned a great deal of praise and respect for her robust attitude towards cartel matters.
Just like Aletta Jacobs, Neelie Kroes has often been the first woman to do something – the first female board member of the Dutch Chamber of Commerce, the first female secretary of state and minister of Transport, Public Works and Water Management, the first female president of Nyenrode and the first female European Commissioner for the Netherlands.


Kroes long held the opinion that women should themselves storm male bastions – a matter of rolling up your sleeves and not whining – and was not really interested in emancipation or feminism until recently. Only at a more advanced age, as a powerful European Commissioner, did she become more interested in the thinking behind feminism and become an open proponent of preferential treatment for women in the job market. The figures on the current numbers of women in higher positions changed her mind. In her own work environment she has tried as much as possible to give women a chance and has fought against the macho culture in the boardrooms of major companies. In addition, she has tried to influence the political personnel policy through her networks.

Previous awards

Neelie Kroes has been on the Forbes list of the 100 most powerful women in the world for several years. She has been made a Knight in the Order of Oranje-Nassau and Grand Officer in the Order of Oranje-Nassau. She has also been awarded many prizes, including the Machiavelli Prize in 2007 for the way that, without a trace of populism, she has presented her work in Europe in clear terms to a wide audience.

Note for the press

More information: Ms Marijke Dam, secretary of the Aletta Jacobs Prize Jury, University of Groningen, tel. 050 363 5435, e-mail: or Ms Kirsten Guyaux, personal assistant to Ms Kroes, tel. +32 229 87501, e-mail

Last modified:06 February 2018 09.33 a.m.
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