Max Kohnstamm

Max Kohnstamm

Max Kohnstamm (born May 22, 1914 in Amsterdam - died October 20, 2010 in Amsterdam) was a Dutch historian and diplomat.

Max Kohnstamm is the son of Philip Kohnstamm, a physicist, philosopher and pedagogue of Jewish-German origin. His father was married to one of the daughters of Jean Baptiste August Kessler, who helped create the company now known as Royal Dutch Shell; one of his uncles was Geldolph Adriaan Kessler, who helped create the Dutch steel industry. During World War II, Kohnstamm and Kessler were both held hostage by the Germans along with other prominent Dutchmen at camp Beekvliet in Sint-Michielsgestel; they became quite close there despite the difference in age.[1]

He was educated at Amsterdam University, where he studied Modern History, before taking up a fellowship at American University, Washington, D.C. During 1938 and 1939 he travelled through the United States as part of his studies. His correspondence with his father during this period discussed his impressions of the United States and his concerns with the looming war.[2]

He was private secretary to Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands from 1945 to 1948, then served with the Netherland Foreign Office from 1948 to 1952. During this time he was head of its German Bureau and Director of European Affairs. He was Vice President of the Netherlands' Schuman Plan delegation in 1950, serving as Secretary to the High Authority of the European Coal and Steel Community from 1952 to 1956. He was Vice President of the Action Committee for the United States of Europe from 1956. He was President of the European University Institute in Florence. He was Chairman of the Trilateral Commission in Europe.

He was a member of the Club of Rome global think-tank, being one of the six member "inner group" at the time its influential work the Limits to Growth was published.[3]

In 2004, Kohnstamm was awarded the 'Freedom from Fear' Four Freedoms Award by the Roosevelt Stichting.

References and sources


  1. ^ de Clercq 2010, p. 105
  2. ^ Kohnstamm, Dolph (Editor) (2003). Still No War: Correspondence Between Two Dutchmen - son Max and father, Philip Kohnstamm. London: Athena Press. 
  3. ^ "Romanian Association for the Club of Rome". 


  • de Clercq, Daan; Saskia Everts, Michaja Langelaan, Ellen Stoop and Jet van Voorst Vader-Duyckinck Sander (2010). From a Source of Wealth: The Lives of the Stoop Heirs [Original Dutch title: Uit Een Bron van Weelde: Het leven van de Erven Stoop]. Stichting Stoop-van Deventer.