Theo van Lier was born in Heerlen, but grew up in The Hague. He was the son of a civil worker. During the Second World War he was involved with the resistance. Between 1st April 1941 and 15th december 1944 he was deputy director of the Gewestelijke Arbeidsbureau (Employment office) in Nijmegen. In the end of 1943 he was given charge of the spying and intelligence group : Albrecht". After several attempts to flee to England he was taken prisoner by the Germans and sentenced to life imprisonment. The rest of the war he was imprisoned. After the war, van Lier became director of the employment offices in Apeldoorn, Dordrecht and again in Nijmegen. In 1949 and 1950 he was for a short period the territorial officer of social service in Western-Java and Northern-Sumatra. from 15th July 1952 until 1st September 1973 he was a member of parliament for the PvdA (Dutch Labour Party) and from 1st September 1973 until 1st June 1986 a member of the Raad van State (government advising committee).
During his membership of the Raad van State, van Lier led the organisation Operations and Intelligence, an organisation which was functional until 1992 and was to coördinate resistance and intelligence activities when the Netherlands were ever occupied again and the government was in exile.
In 1973 Theo van Lier was candidate minister of Defence, but the job went to Vredeling.
Theo van Lier followed his military education at the School Reserve Officieren Artillerie te Ede.
1938 - 1940: Enlisted with coastal artillery- stationed at Hoek van Holland;
4th January 1951: reserve-tweede luitenant, Wapen der Artillerie;
28th January 1951: reserve-eerste luitenant der Artillerie.
26th August 1961: honorable discharge from military service.
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