Dré Rennenberg (83) is perhaps the oldest party leader in the Netherlands. This week, he signed on for another term with the Ouderen Appèl. How does he do it?
Dré Rennenberg opens a can of cola with a ‘pshh’. He takes a slow sip, savouring it. “Delicious,” he says. “Just one can a day, that’s the maximum. My sons keep an eye on that.” The lead candidate is in the limelight because of his age.
He’s almost 84. “I’m very busy this afternoon. The media are all coming. It seems to be unusual to be doing this at my age,” says Cllr Rennenberg.
What about his stamina? Council meetings can be long, sometimes up to 12 hours. Is it thanks to the fizzy drink? Not at all, says the councillor. He immerses himself in the subject matter and reads up on it. “Then it can be quite exciting and the hours fly by.”
“I did ask the Mayor if he could shorten those meetings. Two hours at most,” says Cllr Rennenberg, grinning.
Rennenberg does his work as list leader from an office next to the Albert Heijn XL on Limburglaan. He’s incorporated in his sons’ consultancy. They’ve been working together in one room for years.
They occasionally advise each other. There’s a clear resemblance between father and son. “Who gives the most advice? That depends”, says the younger. “Sometimes it’s me; sometimes it’s him. We alternate a bit.”
Cllr Rennenberg has a sample copy of his memoirs. Between work, he’s found time to commit his life story to paper. The final version will soon be available in bookshops. The proceeds will go to charity.
Translated by: Bob