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Meet Boris van der Ham

Boris van der HamBoris van der Ham (Amsterdam, 1973) a writer, actor, humanist and former politician.

He was member of the Dutch parliament between 2002 and 2012, and then decided to take a poltical 'time-off'. Currently Mr. Van der Ham has several board and management positions in the field of media, culture, healthcare, education and in the private sector.  Since 2012 he also serves as the chairman of the Dutch Humanist Association.

He is an humanist-activist who stands up for the freedom of expresion, and the rights of non-affiliated, humanists and freethinkers. In november 2014 he joined the Human Rights Committe of Liberal International. He is the boardmember of Humanists International in London.

In 2016/2017 he made a partly come back to his old profession, actor, and played a role in the musical 'Ciske de Rat', based on an old Dutch story. He returned to the stage again in 2018, in the Dutch adaption of Kwame Kwei-Arma's play 'Beneatha's Place'. Also Van der Ham is seen in tv-series in 2019 and 2020. In 2020 he launched his first music album.

In 2012 Mr. Van der Ham has been knighted in the Order of Orange-Nassau by (former) Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands. 


Mr. Van der Ham was born in Amsterdam, and raised in the countryside. His mother was a nurse, his father a teacher at the Free University of Amsterdam. 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 till 2000 he was its national chairman.  


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. He held the number 2 position at both the 2006 and 2010 National elections and was elected with preferential votes. In Parliament, Mr. Van der Ham served as deputy floor leader of the Dutch Liberal Democrats (D66), he was chairman of the Economical Affairs Commission of the Lower House, and was member of the committee 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 himself, 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 King 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 referendum on the European Constitution. He was also spokesman on economic affairs, domestic and European affairs, education, energy, freedom of speech and culture. In 2012 he decided not to run for re-election. He wanted to have a 'time-out' from politics.


Mr. Van der Ham is presently chairman of the Dutch Humanists, president of the Dutch Handicapped Care Association, president of the Dutch Waste Management Association, president of the Dutch Franchise Assocation, President of the Dutch Association of Free Theatre Producers,  President of the Dutch Institute for Classification TV and Film, President of the Association of Dutch UNESCO World Herritage. He still works as an actor as well. 


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  available on YouTube.

A documentary about islam and atheism 'Among Nonbelievers' premiered in 2015 and was shown on Dutch television and in London. In 2016 a new documentary 'Freethinkers on the run' was on television. It was about atheist refugees in Europe.


In april 2018 he published a new book 'Nieuwe Vrijdenkers' ('New Freethinkers') with twelf storys of Dutch ex-muslims. Another book he wrote is 'De Koning Kun Je Niet Spelen' ('You Can't Play The King') is a book that reflects on the links between theatre and politics, actors and politicians. As a former politician and actor himself, his book gives an original insight in the laws of power and leadership. His 2012 book ‘De Vrije Moraal’ (‘The Free Moral’) presents both an historical perspective on the permissive society and a framework to address its new dilemmas. His 2007 book 'Voortrekkers en Baanbrekers' ('In the front row') discusses the future of the European Union and the necessity of fundamental reforms. 

Also available:

Boris van der Ham on WIKIPEDIA