Cardinal Adrianus Johannes Simonis, Archbishop emeritus of Utrecht (the Netherlands), was born on 26 November 1931 in Lisse. He is one of a family of 11 children. After his studies in the Hageveld and Warmond seminaries he was ordained a priest on 15 June 1957. After this he served as curate of two parishes. From 1959 to 1966 he studied biblical exegesis in Rome where he completed his studies by defending the thesis ‘Die Hirtenrede’. The book deals with the texts concerning the Good Shepherd in the Gospel of John.
On 29 December 1970, he was nominated Bishop of Rotterdam by Pope Paul VI. The ordination took place on 20 March 1971.
On 27 June 1983, he was nominated Archbishop-Coadjutor of Utrecht with the right of succession to Card. Johannes Willebrands. On 8 December 1983 he was installed as Archbishop. Since then, he has been the president of the Episcopal Conference in the Netherlands.
As Archbishop, he assumed the role of president of the Commissions for teaching and education and for religion. He was named Grand Chancellor of the Catholic University of Nijmegen. He has been dedicated to defending the catholic doctrine regarding matrimony, the family and the inviolable value of human life.
Archbishop emeritus of Utrecht, 14 April 2007.
He participated in the conclave of April 2005, which elected Pope Benedict XVI.
Created and proclaimed Cardinal by St. John Paul II in the Consistory of 25 May 1985, of the Title of San Clemente (St. Clement).