World War I

The Netherlands, 1918-1929

Troelstra's Mistake . With Germany surrendering in November 1918 and revolutions in process in Germany, Russia, Hungary and elsewhere, the Dutch SDAP (Social Democratic Workers Party), demanded the introduction of woman's sufrage, the 8 hour workday, the fixing of retirement age at 60, the nationalization of certain industries and the abolition of the First Chamber. The working classes were dissatisfied with the situation as they had become impoverished due to the war; in several garrisons mutinies were going on. The leader of the SDAP, on November 11th 1918, proclaimed the revolution (Troelstra's Mistake).
Yet the government had distributed pamphlets pointing out that the number of potential revolutionaries was small, and an Orangist Movement, supporting monarchy and parliamentary democracy, had formed. The demonstrations intended to support the revolution turned into demonstrations supporting Queen Wilhelmina. Even the SDAP had not turned out in support of the revolution; Troelstra resigned.
Domestic Policy . The introduction of universal adult suffrage (for men in 1917, for women in 1919) altered the political landscape; now the Catholics, in 1926 organized as RKSP, and the SDAP formed the strongest factions in parliament. Both favoured a policy of welfare legislation. The first cabinet Ruijs de Beerenbrouck (1919-1922) was a multiparty coalition, consisting of liberals, ARP, Catholics and CHU; it introduced women's suffrage (1919) and the 8 1/2 hour workday (1922). The second cabinet Ruijs de Beerenbrouck (1922-1925) was composed of members of the same parties, as was the cabinet De Geer I (1926-1929).
The Quadripartite structure of Dutch society was strengthened - Dutch society was based on 4 political pillars : (1) Liberalism, (2) Calvinism, (3) Catholicism and (4) on the labour movement; Pillarization.

Foreign Policy . In 1920 the Netherlands joined the League of Nations.

The Economy . In 1921-24, the country experienced an economic crisis. In 1922 the 8 1/2 hour workday was introduced. In 1929 the Great Depression set in, at the same time the IJsselmeerproject was begun. The Wieringermeerpolder was drained in 1929, the Afsluitdijk finished in 1932, turning the saltwater Zuiderzee into the sweetwater lake IJsselmeer.
The 1920es saw an expansion of Dutch business conglomerates such as Royal Dutch/Shell and Philips.

Culture . In 1928 the 9th Summer Olympic Games were held in Amsterdam; for the first time ever, women were allowed to compete.
In 1927 the Nederlandse Filmliga (Netherlands' Film League) was established, in reaction to censorship which had banned a movie from being shown. Although dissolved already in 1933, it was successful in promoting the Dutch film production. In 1924 Radio Hilversum began sending a regular radio programme. Quickly, radio organizations affiliated to the various pillars emerged (1924-1928) and in 1930 a law was passed which split the available airtime among the organizations.

A Concise History of the Netherlands, from Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken, available in English, French, German, Spanish and Dutch
Articles Pieter Jelles Troelstra, History of the Netherlands in the 20th Century : Interbellum, Hendrikus Colijn, Charles Ruijs de Beerenbrouck, Dirk Jan de Geer, from Wikipedia English edition
Philips Story, from Philips B.V.; Shell - the Internet History, from Shell
Geschiedenis van den Nederlandse Omroep, from NOS (history of the Dutch Radio, in Dutch)
The History of Flevoland, from official site of the Province of Flevoland, on progress of the Zuiderzee Project
De oprichting van de Nederlandse Filmliga, from Museum voor Vaderlandse Geschiedenis
Draadomroep, from Museum voor Vaderlandse Geschiedenis
Interbellum 1918-1940, from Parlement en Politiek, in Dutch, official site on the history of the Netherlands' Parliament
Timeline - The Netherlands 1919-1940, from Encyclopedia of World History (Bartleby); click on NEXT to continue
Olympic Games Amsterdam 1928, from
DOCUMENTS Links to Documents on the History of the Netherlands 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; Kabinetten 1918-1994, from Centrum voor Parlamentaire Geschiedenis, in Dutch

Cabinet Lists : Kabinet Ruijs de Beerenbrouck I (1918-1922), Kabinet Ruijs de Beerenbrouck II, (1922-1925), Kabinet Colijn I (1925), Kabinet de Geer I (1926-1929), 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 Medal Standings, Olympic Games 1928, Amsterdam, from Museum voor Vaderlandse Geschiedenis, in Dutch
Images from Chronik 2000 Bilddatenbank : The Dutch Prince-Consort on his way to the Opening of the Olympic Games, Amsterdam 1928; Queen Wilhelmina gives Gold Medal to German Fencer Helene Mayer; Paavo Nurmi 1928; Zuiderzee just before closing the smaller dyke, 1929
Poster : Demonstration for disarmament, 1926, from IISG Archive, Postcard Collection
Poster Exhibition : Stem, Steun, Staak (Vote, Support, Strike), posters 1870-1997, from IISG
REFERENCE J.C.H. Blom, A Bourgeois and Pillarized Society (1918-1960), pp.423-443 in : J.C.H. Blom and E. Lamberts, History of the Low Countries, trsl. by James C. Kennedy, NY : Berghahn 1999, KMLA Lib.Sign. 949.3 B653h
Mark T. Hooker, The History of Holland, Westport : Greenwood, 1999, KMLA Lib.Sign. 949.2 H783h
Article : The Netherlands, in : Statesman's Yearbook 1919 pp.1069-1086, 1924 pp.1116-1134, 1925 pp.1125-1143, 1926 pp.1090-1108, 1928 pp.1122-1140, 1929 pp.1104-1120 [G]
Article : The Netherlands, in : Americana Annual 1927 pp.619-621, 1928 pp.573-575 [G]
Article : The Netherlands, in : New International Year Book 1919 pp.465-467, 1920 pp.482-484, 1921 pp.503-505, 1923 pp.519-522, 1925 pp.493-494, 1928 pp.523-525 [G]

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2000, last revised on August 24th 2007

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