Willem Oltmans

Willem Oltmans

Journalist Less

Willem Oltmans

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Willem Leonard Oltmans (June 10, 1925 - September 30, 2004) was a Dutch investigative journalist, who did not hesitate to pro-actively intervene in international politics.

Due to the highly critical and opposite stance he often took towards Dutch global politics, as of 1956 the Dutch government conspired to keep him out of work. During a lingering lawsuit (1991–2000), involving the Royal family, parties agreed to a binding arbitration in which the state had to pay him 8 million guilders in damages in 2000 (approx. 4 million in 2000 US dollars, 3.6 million euro's, over 5.6 million dollar these days). As an erudite orator Oltmans straightforward and uncompromising behaviour made him a striking media personality and unique phenomenon in Dutch society.

Early life

Oltmans was born into a wealthy family with roots in the Dutch East Indies. He studied at the prestigious Nyenrode Business University (1946) and Yale University (1948), without graduading. Originally intend on a career with the diplomatic corps of the foreign service, he ended up working in press offices in the Netherlands (1953–1955). He married in 1955 and worked as a free lance reporter in Rome in 1956. There he befriended Indonesian president Sukarno, which started his remarkable career as a controversial journalist.

Convinced that a well connected and informed individual could play a decisive role in the international...
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