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Mark Rutte

A Dutch politician serving as the 50th Prime Minister.

Mark Rutte, born in 1967 is a national figurehead in the Netherland for nine years as the prime minister of the Netherlands. Besides, he is the Leader of the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (Volkspartij voor Vrijheid en Democratie – VVD). Mark Rutte announced that he will not be a politician forever. He already spends one morning a week teaching Dutch and Civics at a nearby secondary school in The Hague. I will focus on his career before he leaves the political field.

Mark Rutte, born in The Hague went to a gymnasium high school from 1979 until 1985, specialising in the arts. Rutte his original ambition was to attend a conservatory and become a concert pianist. However, he went to study history at Leiden University instead, where he obtained his master’s degree in 1992. Rutte developed an interest in politics at the same time and he combined his studies with a position on the board of the Youth Organisation Freedom and Democracy, the youth organisation of the VVD.

After his studies, Rutte entered the business world, working as a manager for companies in the food sector and between 1993 and 1997, Rutte was a member of the national board of the VVD. Rutte also served as a member of the VVD candidate committee for the general election of 2002. Rutte was eventually elected as Member of Parliament in 2003. There, Rutte served as State Secretary in the Social Affairs and Employment ministry responsible for fields like municipal welfare and occupational safety and health. During this time, one of Rutte his particular interest was making the Dutch higher education system more competitive internationally.

Eventually, Rutte resigned from his position in government in 2006 to return to the House of Representatives, and he soon became the parliamentary leader of the VVD. Rutte became an important figure within the VVD leadership because he was campaign manager for the municipal elections. His party became the biggest party in the house of representatives in 2010 and Queen Beatrix appointed Rutte as formateur to form a coalition in the Dutch parliament. Then, on 14 October 2010 Rutte presented his first cabinet to Parliament, and it was confirmed in office by the smallest possible majority. This was his first day as Prime Minister of the Netherlands.

It’s worth mentioning that Rutte is the first Prime Minister since 1918 who is neither a Christian Democrat nor a socialist. He is also the first VVD Prime Minister, and the second-youngest Prime Minister of the Netherlands ever, after Ruud Lubbers.

There is not really much known about the personal life of Mark Rutte, but we know is single and he is a member of the Dutch Protestant Church. Rutte is known to be a big fan of the writing of Robert Caro, especially his book about Robert Moses, The Power Broker. A fun fact is that he uses an old Nokia to send text messages, blaming his big thumbs for making it hard to use a smartphone. His favourite music includes classical music include Mozart, Brahm, Franz Schubert.

See you next month for my final monthly text.

Short bio of the volunteer:

I am Jan from Rotterdam in the Nederlands and I am part of Madeira Heritage voluntary program. I have a passion for chemistry, history, food and exploring new places. That is why the Madeira Islands and its historical and cultural environment attracts me.


Erasmus+ is a programme of the European Commission embracing the fields of education, training, youth and sports during the period 2014-2020. One of the major aspects is the cooperation between the different fields where the programme acts, hence contributing for a diverse and rich Europe.

Amongst the several goals of the programme, the following are prioritised: the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy, including the headline education target; the aims of the strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training (ET 2020), including the corresponding benchmarks; the sustainable development of Partner Countries in the field of higher education; the overall goals of the renewed framework for European cooperation in the youth field (2010-2018); the objective of developing the European dimension in sport, in particular grassroots sport, in line with the EU work plan for sport and the promotion of European values in accordance with Article 2 of the Treaty on the European Union.

In order to achieve these goals, the Erasmus+ has several action policies. The Key Action 1 (KA1) is directed towards the mobility of people; Key Action 2 (KA2) for the cooperation for innovation and the interchange of good experiences; and Key Action 3, which is for the support of reformation policies.

European Voluntary Service

Since 1991 the University of Madeira Students’ Union has developed a wide incentive policy for voluntary work. In 2013 the Students’ Union started the process to receive, send and coordinate Erasmus+ projects of the European Voluntary Service, in order to have a larger influence in the volunteering field. The Union received its first volunteer withing the ambit of a KA1 project in 2014. Many efforts have been done to allow young people from Madeira to take part in several initiatives in Europe, as well as propose several projects allowing young people from several countries to work in the projects of the Students’ Union of the University of Madeira. The main goal of the voluntary work is the contribution of the volunteers to the communities and places they will be staying, being their work not rewarded with payment.

We believe that the European Voluntary Service is a mechanism full of experiences, allowing the approved candidates to have the privilege of taking part in these projects and benefit the places and communities where these volunteers will be staying.

Since 2013, the University of Madeira Students’ Union has received volunteers that have collaborated in several activities and initiatives. Besides being able to enjoy a wonderful experience which will contribute to their personal and professional growth, they are able to contribute in a unique way to the community in which they are inserted and to join dozens of volunteers from the University of Madeira.