Dirk Stikker in 1964
|Minister of Foreign Affairs|
|Preceded by||Pim van Boetzelaer van Oosterhout|
|Succeeded by||Jan Willem Beyen|
|3rd Secretary General of the NATO|
21 April 1961 – 1 August 1964
|Preceded by||Paul-Henri Spaak|
|Succeeded by||Manlio Brosio|
5 February 1897|
|Died||23 December 1979
|Political party||Freedom Party (PvdV), People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD)|
Born in Winschoten, he studied law at the University of Groningen. After his studies he began a career in the banking sector. In 1935, he became director of Heineken International, the famous beer company. He held this post until 1948.
Stikker entered politics in 1945, when he was elected to the Senate of the States General. On 23 March 1946, he co-founded the Partij van de Vrijheid (PvdV, Freedom Party), together with some former members of the pre-war Liberale Staatspartij (LSP, Liberal State Party). On 24 January 1948, the PvdV was absorbed by the Volkspartij voor Vrijheid en Democratie (VVD, Peoples Party for Freedom and Democracy), which is as of 2004[update] the country's most important Liberal party. Stikker was the VVD's first chairman.
In 1948, Stikker became minister of foreign affairs in the first government led by Willem Drees, holding that position until 1951. After his party adopted a no-confidence motion over the government's colonial policy in New Guinea, Stikker resigned on 23 January 1951, prompting the cabinet's fall. He returned to that position less than two months later. The Netherlands played an important role in the creation of NATO and the European Coal and Steel Community during Stikker's time in office as minister of foreign affairs.
After his ministerial office, Stikker was ambassador to the United Kingdom (1952–1958) and head of the Dutch Permanent Representation to the North Atlantic council and to the Organization for European Economy Co-operation, the predecessor of the OECD (1958–1961). On 21 April 1961, he succeeded Paul-Henri Spaak, to become the third Secretary General of NATO. He resigned due to poor health on 1 August 1964.