Alexander Rinnooy Kan
Rinnooy Kan in 2011
Member of the Senate
In office
9 June 2015 – 11 June 2019
Chairman of the
Social and Economic Council
In office
1 April 2006 – 1 September 2012
Preceded byHerman Wijffels
Succeeded byWiebe Draijer
Member of the
Social and Economic Council
In office
1 January 1991 – 1 August 1996
ChairmanTheo Quené
Klaas de Vries
Personal details
Alexander Hendrik George Rinnooy Kan

(1949-10-05) 5 October 1949 (age 71)
Scheveningen, Netherlands
Political partyDemocrats 66 (since 1980)
ResidenceAerdenhout, Netherlands
Alma materUniversity of Amsterdam
(Bachelor of Mathematics, Bachelor of Science, Master of Science, Doctor of Philosophy)
Leiden University
(Master of Mathematics)
OccupationPolitician · Civil servant · Economist · Mathematician · Researcher · Businessman · Corporate director · Nonprofit director · Academic administrator · Trade association executive · Author · Professor

Alexander Hendrik George Rinnooy Kan (born 5 October 1949) is a Dutch politician, businessman and mathematician who served as Chairman of the Social and Economic Council from 2006 to 2012. A member of the Democrats 66 (D66) party, he was a member of the Senate from 2015 to 2019 and has been a Professor of Economics and Business Studies at the University of Amsterdam since 1 September 2012. He has also been president of the supervisory board of EYE Film Institute Netherlands since 2008 and of Museum Boerhaave since 2018.


Early life and education

Rinnooy Kan grew up in The Hague. He graduated in mathematics at Leiden University in 1972. The same year, he obtained his B.Sc. degree in econometrics from the University of Amsterdam. In 1972–1973, he worked as a mathematician at Spectrum Encyclopedia. From 1973 until 1977, he was a scientific employee in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at Delft University of Technology (then called the Delft Technical College). In 1976, he obtained a PhD in mathematics at the University of Amsterdam; he was advised by Gijsbert de Leve.[1]

Private career

In 1977, he went to the Erasmus University Rotterdam, where he became a full Professor in Operations Research in 1980 at the age of 30. In 1983, he was appointed head of the Econometric Institute and in 1986 rector magnificus of the university. In the meantime, he was visiting professor at the University of California, Berkeley and MIT, among others.[2]

From 1991 until 1996, he was president of the employers federation VNO and (after the merger with NCW) of the VNO-NCW.[2] Between 1996 and 2006, Rinnooy Kan was a member of the board of directors of ING Group, where he was responsible for the Asian branch. He was a member of the Netherlands Innovation Platform until the platform was dissolved in 2010.

Social Economic Council

From 2006 until 2012, he was a crown-appointed member and Chairman of the Social and Economic Council (SER). He was succeeded in this position by Wiebe Draijer. During his farewell party at the SER he was appointed Commander in the Order of the Netherlands Lion.[3] The Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant named him the most influential person in the Netherlands in 2007, 2008 and 2009.[4]


On 9 June 2015, he became a member of the Senate on behalf of the Democrats 66 party. He did not seek reelection to the upper chamber in 2019; his term ended on 11 June 2019.



Selected articles


Ribbon bar Honour Country Date
Commander of the Order of the Netherlands Lion Netherlands 1 September 2012
Honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire United Kingdom 2018[5]


  1. ^ Alexander Rinnooy Kan at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  2. ^ a b "Voorzitter - dr. A.H.G. (Alexander) Rinnooy Kan" (in Dutch). Social and Economic Council. Archived from the original on 3 January 2011. Retrieved 14 December 2010.
  3. ^ "University Professor Alexander Rinnooy Kan appointed Commander in the Order of the Netherlands Lion". University of Amsterdam. 7 September 2012. Archived from the original on 30 March 2014. Retrieved 19 November 2012.
  4. ^ "Rinnooy Kan weer invloedrijkste Nederlander" (in Dutch). NOS. 4 December 2009. Archived from the original on 2010-12-15. Retrieved 14 December 2010.
  5. ^ "Honorary awards". 2018. Retrieved 6 June 2021.
Civic offices Preceded byHerman Wijffels Chairman of the Social and Economic Council2006–2012 Succeeded byWiebe Draijer Preceded byFokko van Duyne Chairman of the Supervisory board of the Central Bank of the Netherlands2012–2015 Succeeded byWim Kuijken Business positions Preceded byKoos Andriessen Chairman of the Industry and Employers confederation1991–1996 Succeeded byHans Blankert Non-profit organization positions Preceded by Chairman of the Concertgebouw Foundation2003–2015 Succeeded byHans Wijers Chairman of the EYE Film Institute Netherlands2008–present Incumbent Preceded byDouwe Breimer Chairman of Museum Boerhaave2018–present Academic offices Preceded byRies van Hof Rector Magnificus of the Erasmus University Rotterdam1986–1989 Succeeded byKees Rijnvos