Verhagen studied history at Leiden University.
He was a member of the municipal council of Oegstgeest from 1989 to 1990, a member of the European Parliament from 1989 to 1994, a member of the House of Representatives from 1994 to 2007 and in 2010, and also parliamentary leader from 2002 to 2006 and in 2010.
From 2007 to 2010, he was foreign minister, in the Fourth Balkenende cabinet. He also was development cooperation minister in the same cabinet in 2010. From 2010 to 2012, he was both economics and agriculture minister, and deputy prime minister in the First Rutte cabinet.
Verhagen was leading the CDA from 2010 to 2012.
Since July 2013 he has been chairing Bouwend Nederland.
- Maxime Verhagen, EenVandaag, 22 November 2011