Mr. Boris van der Ham (Amsterdam, 1972) is a writer, actor, humanist and former Dutch politician. A former Member of the Dutch Lower House for over ten years, Mr. Van der Ham wrote two books and is a well-regarded speaker in The Netherlands as well as internationally. Currently Mr. Van der Ham has a private firm and serves at the chairman of the Dutch Humanist Society.
Since 2010, Mr. Van der Ham has been addressing dilemma’s, historical parallels and virtues of the free society as well as humanist values is his video weblog vrijzinnig.com (Dutch) and freethoughtvlog.com (English, both are also available on YouTube).
His 2007 book 'Voortrekkers en Baanbrekers' ('In the front row') discusses the future of the European Union and the necessity of fundamental reforms. His 2012 book ‘De Vrije Moraal’ (‘The Free Moral’) gives an overview of political and legislative dilemmas of a permissive society. Despite being a liberal himself, Mr. Van der Ham shows himself critical about the way certain liberal policies are defended. Building on political and historical debates in Great Britain, the United States, the Netherlands and other countries, Mr. Van der Ham examines the values behind calls for more personal freedom and advocates a fundamental approach over a simplistic ‘anything goes’ line of argumentation.
Van der Ham studied history at Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences before being admitted to Maastricht Academy of Dramatic Arts. After graduation, he worked as an actor for various theatre groups. Van der Ham was a member of the Young Democrats from age 15 and from 1998 to 2000 he was chairman of the organization. After working as a Parliamentary assistant in both the European and the Dutch Parliament, in 2002 he was elected a member of the Dutch House of Representatives himself for his party Democrats 66 (D66), the Dutch Liberal Democrats. He held the number 2 position on the national party list for the 2006 elections and in 2010 and was elected to Parliament with preferential vote. In Parliament, Mr. Van der Ham served as deputy floor leader of his party, as chairman of the Economical Affairs Commission of the Lower House and as a member of the committee named after current Euro-boss Dijsselbloem, which analyzed education policy and reforms in The Netherlands.
In his time as a Member of Parliament, Mr. Van der Ham has drafted several bills, including one that abolishes the ban on blasphemy, one that liberalizes the opening hours for shopping, one that requires equal treatment for the handicapped as well as for gays and lesbians, and a proposal to reduce the traditional role of the Queen in the formation process of Netherlands governments. In 2005, Mr. Van der Ham, together with colleagues from the Green and Social-democratic parties, initiated the legislation that led to the Dutch referendum on the European Constitution.
In 2012 Mr. Van der Ham has been knighted in the Order of Orange-Nassau.