1870-1887 World War I, 1914-1918

The Netherlands, 1887-1914

Foreign Policy . The Netherlands stuck to her policy of neutrality. In the Dutch East Indies it continued expanding the area under direct control; the most notorious colonial war fought in Aceh (1873-1908). The Netherlands attended the Berlin Africa Conference of 1884-1885, without pursuing the policy of acquiring colonies on that continent. During the Boer War (1899-1902), sympathies in the Netherlands lay with the Boers.
International Peace Conferences were held in Den Haag in 1899 and 1907. In 1908 the Netherlands dispatched gunboats to Venezuela, which blocked Venezuelan ports and took several Venezuelan vessels.

Domestic Policy - Cabinets . In 1887 the Netherlands' constitution was amended; the right to vote was made dependent on education and property. The franchise was expanded, to c. 29 % of the adult men. Parliamentarism was reformed, as the second chamber was enlarged to 100 representatives, the term being limited to 4 years; the first chamber had 50 members.
Cabinet Mackay (1888-1891) was composed of ARP politicians, Catholics and Conservatives; it settled the School Issue. Cabinet van Tienhoven (1891-1894) was liberal; it fell over the suffrage issue. Cabinet Röell (1894-1897) was composed of Old Liberals, Conservatives and Catholics; it extended the franchise, doubled the number of voters. Cabinet Pierson (1897-1901) was composed of ministers of various liberal parties; it introduced mandatory elementary education (1900), mandatory military service (1901), passed laws on health care, child labour, accidents and housing (1901); byname Cabinet of Social Justice. Cabinet Kuyper (1901-1905), composed of ARP and Catholic politicians. Cabinet de Meester (1905-1908), liberal. Cabinet Heemskerk (1908-1913), ARP / Catholic. Cabinet Cort van der Linden (1913-1918) VDB / CHU.
Domestic Policy - Political Parties . The Liberal Union (LU), the Catholics (a faction later organized as a party in 1896, as the Roman Catholic State Party (RKSP) in 1926), and the Anti-Revolutionary Party (ARP) were the most influential political organizations in the years between 1887 and 1918. In 1892 the radicals (RB) split off the LU, in 1894 the Old Liberals, and in 1901 the party's left wing, to form, together with the RB, the Free-Thinking Democratic League (VDB). From being the strongest political party in 1897 (57 seats), in 1901 the party was reduced to 18 seats.
In 1892 the Sociaal-Democratische Bond (SDB) was established, lead by F. Domela Nieuwenhuis; as it decided not to field candidates in the election of 1893 and to concentrate on work outside of parliament, it soon broke up. 1894 P.J. Troelstra founded the Sociaal Democratisch Arbeiders Partij (SDAP); in 1909 the radicals split off, founding the SDP, later renamed CPN (Communist Party of the Netherlands).
Domestic Policy - Issues . Of significant importance was the School Issue. As requirements regarding the standards school had to meet made the running of schools costly (law of 1878), political parties organized on confessional lines promoted state financial support for confessional schools. In 1885 a coalition of Catholics and the ARP (Calvinist) gained control of government; confessional schools were granted state financial aid. The organization of the Dutch schools along confessional and political lines laid the basis for a structure particular to the Netherlands and Belgium - the Pillarization of Society. These pillars were Catholicism, Calvinism and Liberalism, to which Social Democracy later was added.
Another hotly debated issue was that of suffrage. The constitution had made the suffrage depending on property and literacy qualifications; in effect, only c. 29 % of the Netherlands' adult men in 1887 had the right to vote. These qualifications discriminated against the working classes; the clientele of the SDAP was largely barred from voting in 1894. The LU split over the suffrage issue; the Cabinet Röell extended the franchise, about doubling the number of voters.
The Dutch Women's Suffrage Movement began in 1890.
The Cabinet Pierson (1897-1901), the most effective cabinet of the pre-World War I era, passed a number of laws addressing social ills, from child labour to health and accident insurance; the Industrial Revolution, in the Netherlands, was just in her early stage. In 1913, a pension fund mandatory for workers was inroduced.

The Economy . According to Historian A.J.W. Camijn, the industrial revolution began in the Netherlands as late as 1895. In 1899 the Central Bureau of Statistics was established. The Cabinet Pierson (1897-1901) passed laws against child labour, for mandatory schooling, a law concerning mandatory insurance against invalidity etc.
1891 Philips Light Bulb Factory at Eindhoven established. In 1896 taxation on ownership of bicycles was introduced (abolished in 1919); as early as 1866, a bicycle race had been held; a bicycle factory had been opened by Willem Koelling in 1892; the bicycle quickly became an indispensable part of Dutch society. In 1907, Royal Dutch Petroleum Co. (Shell) established. A Railroad Workers Strike in 1903, which had emerged because of the firing of Amsterdam dock workers over hiring and firing policy, temporarily paralized the port of Amsterdam. The railway administration gave in; Labour Unions were given official recognition.

Culture . In 1889 the KNVB (Dutch Soccer association) was founded; the first national championship was held in 1897-1898. Dutch athletes did not participate in the first modern Olympic Games held in Athens, Greece; they participated for the first time in the games held in Paris 1900.

Dutch Government Revenue and Expenditure, 1870-1913
Source : B.R. Mitchell, International Historical Statistics 1750-1988, pp.798, 801, 812 and 822
figures in Dutch Guilders







Articles Pieter Jelles Troelstra, Ferdinand Domela Nieuwenhuis, Social Democratic Workers' Party (Netherlands), Nicolaas Gerard Pierson, from Wikipedia English edition
Articles Pieter Jelles Troelstra, from Wikipedia Dutch edition
The Netherlands : History, from infoplease, encyclopedic, scroll down
Het ontstaan van de SDAP, from Museum voor Vaderlandse Geschiedenis
Biography of Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920), from NBCi
History of political parties and movements : geschiedenis.com, go to menue : politiek, partiijen; chronological lists, in Dutch
Documentatiecentrum Nederlandse Politieke Partijen, at Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
Internationale Koloniale en Uitvoerhandel Tentoonstelling van Amsterdam 1883, in Dutch, recreated, virtual exhibition
Short History of Dutch Catholicism : the Catholic Pillar, from Katholiek Documentatie Centrum at Katholieke Universiteit Nijmegen
Biography of Ferdinand Domela Nieuwenhuis (1846-1919), of Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920), of Jan Heemskerk Azn. (1818-1897), from Multatuli Encyclopedie
Biographies of Pieter Jelles Troelstra, from International Archive of Social History
De Internationale Koloniale en Uitvoerhandel Tentoonstelling Amsterdam 1883, from Univ. Leiden, in Dutch
Timeline 1850-1899, 1900-1940, from geschiedenis.com, in Dutch
Het Ontstaan van de SDAP (The emergence of the SDAP), from Museum voor Vaderlandse Geschiedenis, article in Dutch
Het Rijwielbelastingsplaatje (Bicycle Tax Plate), from Museum voor Vaderlandse Geschiedenis, in Dutch
Article N.G. Pierson, from Museum voor Vaderlandse Geschiedenis, in Dutch
Periode 1888-1918 Antithese (Period 1888-1918 - Antithesis), from Parlement en Politiek, in Dutch; official site, on the history of the Netherlands' Parliament
DOCUMENTS Links to Documents on the History of the Netherlands in the 19th Century, in the 20th Century, posted by psm-data
Historical Population Statistics : the Netherlands, from Population Statistics at Univ. Utrecht
World Statesmen : the Netherlands, by Ben Cahoon; World Rulers : the Netherlands by Enno Schulz, illustrated, begins 1572
Lists of Dutch Cabinets : Kabinet Mackay (1888-1891), Kabinet van Tienhoven (1891-1894), Kabinet Röell (1894-1897), Kabinet Pierson (1897-1901), Kabinet Kuyper (1901-1905), Kabinet de Meester (1905-1908), Kabinet Heemskerk (1908-1913), Kabinet Cort van der Linden, 1913-1918, from Wikipedia Dutch edition
Overview over the allocation of seats to political parties in the Second Chamber, 1888-1937 : Tweede Kamer : Geschiedenis, from Wikipedia Durch edition
Final Act of the Peace Conference at Den Haag, 1907, from Project Diana
Correspondence, Instructions and Reports from the Peace Conference at Den Haag, 1899, from Avalon Project at Yale Law School
Coins issued under Willem III. (1849-1890), under Wilhelmina from Numismania
Portrait of King Willem III., from Art Istocracy
Portrait of Queen Wilhelmina, from Art Istocracy
Poster : vote red, 1913, from IISG Archives, Postcard Collection
Poster Exhibition : Stem, Steun, Staak (Vote, Support, Strike), posters 1870-1997, from IISG
Deutsche Zollgeschichte : Niederlande, from Deutsche Zollgeschichte, postcards 1905-1928, German comment
Anti-Monarchist Socialist Posters, posted by Museum voor Vaderlandse Geschiedenis, comment in Dutch, scroll down, thumbnail images, mostly pre-WW I
Volkstelling van 1899, in Dutch (Population Census of 1899)
Bronnen uit Amsterdam, 1848-1917 (Sources from Amsterdam, 1848-1917; in Dutch; mostly on social history)
REFERENCE Mark T. Hooker, The History of Holland, Westport : Greenwood, 1999; KMLA Lib.Sign. 949.2 H783h
J.C.H. Blom, The "Modernization" of the Netherlands (1880-1918), pp.404-423, in : J.C.H. Blom and E. Lamberts (ed.), History of the Low Countries, trsl. by James C. Kennedy, NY : Berghahn Books 1999, KMLA Lib. Sign. 949.3 B653h
A.J.W. Camijn, Een eeuw vol bedrijvigheid. De industrialisatie van Nederland, 1814-1914 (A century of industry, the industrialization of the NL), Utrecht : Veen 1987 [G]
Anselm J. van der Peet, Belangen en Prestige. Nederlandse Gunboat Diplomacy omstreeks 1900 (Interests and Prestige. Dutch Gunboat Policy around 1900), Amsterdam : De Bataafsche Leeuw 1999
W. Harold Claflin, Holland and Belgium, in : Vol.XIII of Collier's History of Nations, NY : Collier 1916 [G]
Article : Holland (sic !), in : Britannica Book of the Year 1913 pp.1038-1042 on events of 1912) [G]
Article : Netherlands, in : Statesman's Year Book 1895 pp.759-796, 1898 pp.759-797, 1901 pp.856-879, 1905 pp.929-952, 1910 pp.1026-1055 [G]
Article : Netherlands, in : International Year Book 1898 pp.545-547, 1899 pp.567-568, 1900 pp.635-637 [G]
Article : Netherlands, in : New International Year Book 1907 pp.546-549, 1908 pp.486-489, 1909 pp.510-512, 1913 pp.483-487 [G]
Article : Netherlands, in : Appleton's Annual Cyclopedia and Register of Events 1894 pp.507-510, 1902 pp.411-416 [G]
Algernon Bastard, The Gourmet's Guide to Europe (1903), posted by Gutenberg Library Online, chapters V pp.105-110 on 'Holland'
Frederic Augustin Ogg, The Governments of Europe (1913), posted by Gutenberg Library Online, Pt.7 pp.517-534 on 'Holland'

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2000; last revised on October 17th 2007

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