|Mrs. Irene Daatman|
Born to the family as the only daughter of Anna and Jan Meerdijk, Irene Daatman grew up in an upper middle class Leiden. She graduated from the Faculty of Law at the University of Amsterdam, where she also met her future husband Jan Willem Daatman. At the university she participated in a student exchange programme with New York and Jersey, and the couple was married three years after their respective studies had ended. She then started working and established her own real estate agency which she kept running until her husband became Prime Minister. With both partners in time-consuming jobs, the relationship is thought to have been occasional at best, although publicly Jan Willem often refers to his wife as a source of support.
Irene Daatman was never active in politics. Successful in her own business, she also devoted her time and energy to numerous charity campaigns, many of which she initiated herself. As First Lady she promotes voluntary activities and encourages others to help the disabled, the ill and the poor.