1918-1929 World War II

The Netherlands between the Wars, 1929-1940

Foreign Policy . On the occasion of the German occupation of the Rhineland (1936; a violation of the Treaties of Versailles and Locarno) PM Colijn confirmed Dutch neutrality.

Domestic Policy . Cabinet Ruijs de Beerenbrouck III (1929-1933) was composed of politicians of the RKSP, CHU and ARP, Cabinet Colijn II (1933-1935) and Cabinet Colijn III (1935-1937) of politicians of ARP, RKSP, CHU, VDB and LSP, Cabinet Colijn IV (1937-1939) of politicians of ARP, RKSP, CHU, Cabinet Colijn V (1939) of politicians of ARP, CHU, LSP. Cabinet de Geer II (1939-1940) was composed of politicians of ARP, RKSP, CHU, VDB, and - for the first time - SDAP.
The Great Depression was the dominating issue. The Dutch parties responded by forming multiparty coalition governments. Liberal and Christian parties cooperated; the SDAP only was invited to join in 1939. Policies pursued tended to address the perceived needs of the national economy, at the expense of individuals; this policy caused unrest, such as the mutiny on the Zeven Provincien in 1933 and the Jordaan Riots in 1934.

The Economy . In 1929 the economic crisis set in, at the same time the IJsselmeerproject was begun. The Wieringermeerpolder was drained in 1929, the Afsluitdijk (closure dyke) finished in 1932, turning the saltwater Zuiderzee into the sweetwater lake IJsselmeer.
During the Great Depression, the cabinet Hendrik Colijn pursued a policy of austerity, attempting to maintain the value of the currency. It reduced the unemployment benefits, which resulted in the Jordaan Riots of 1934. Unemployment remained high and forced the government to reluctantly devaluate the Guilder in 1936, finally giving up the Gold Standard. A number of unemployed were offered (low-paying) jobs in Nazi Germany. In case the unemployed Dutchman refused such an offer, his unemployment benefits were withheld. Other measures to deal with the economic misery were regulations according to which women, upon marriage, automatically were fired from jobs in public administration - the principle of only one breadwinner per family was to ensure that jobs were freed for heads of families without jobs.

A Concise History of the Netherlands, from Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken, available in English, French, German, Spanish and Dutch
Articles History of the Netherlands in the 20th Century : Interbellum, Hendrikus Colijn, Charles Ruijs de Beerenbrouck, Dirk Jan de Geer, from Wikipedia English edition
Dossier Colijn, from Historisch Nieuwsblad, links to Dutch-language articles; Biography of H. Colijn from Museum voor Vaderlandse Geschiedenis, in Dutch
Geschiedenis van den Afsluitdijk, from waterland.net, in Dutch
Dutch Warplane D-21, by Johan Lemmers, with information on the Dutch Airforce before the German occupation, in English
De Rode Droom. Een eeuw sociaal-democratie in Nederland; many commented illustrations, in Dutch
Interbellum 1918-1940, from Parlement en Politiek, in Dutch, official site on the history of the Netherlands' Parliament
Timeline - The Netherlands 1925-1940, from Encyclopedia of World History (Bartleby); click on NEXT to continue
Henk Flap, De Electorale Steun voor de Nationaal Socialistische Beweging 1939 (Electoral Support for the NSB in 1939), in Dutch
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 III (1929-1933), Kabinet Colijn II (1933-1935), Kabinet Colijn III (1935-1937), Kabinet Colijn IV (1937-1939), Kabinet Colijn V (1939), Kabinet de Geer II (1940), 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
Images from Chronik 2000 Bilddatenbank : Zuiderzee after completion of the smaller dyke, 1930 near Medemblik; Zuiderzee at closure of larger dyke, 1932; Large Dyke at Zuiderzee; Large Dyke at IJsselmeer
Poster advertising the Plan van de Arbeid (Plan against Unemployment) 1936, from IISG Archive, Postcard Collection
Poster 'Sloopt de Krotten' (Tear down the Slums) 1931, from IISG Archive, Postcard Collection
Poster Exhibition : Stem, Steun, Staak (Vote, Support, Strike), posters 1870-1997, from IISG
Map featuring the IJsselmeerprojekt, from Informatiecentrum Nieuw Land (map of 1891); text in Dutch' click on map to enlarge
Parlement & Politiek : Verkiezingen 1937 (Elections 1937), in Dutch
Dutch Election Results since 1917
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
Chapter XXXV : The Notable Neutrals, pp.496-506 in : John Gunther, Inside Europe, 1940 war edition, NY : Harper & Bros. 1940 [G]
Article : The Netherlands, in : Statesman's Yearbook 1932 pp.1120-1137, 1937 pp.1158-1175, 1185-1186 [G]
Article : The Netherlands, in : Americana Annual 1930 pp.567-569, 1931 pp.550-552, 1932 pp.521-522, 1933 pp.555-557, 1934 pp.428-430, 1935 pp.516-517, 1936 pp.518-520, 1937 pp.506-507, 1938 pp.495-496, 1939 pp.562-563, 1940 pp.567-569 [G]
Article : The Netherlands, in : New International Year Book 1930 pp.551-552, 1932 pp.579-581, 1933 pp.589-591, 1934 pp.510-511, 1935 pp.523-525, 1938 pp.522-525, 1939 pp.549-551, 1940 pp.538-541 [G]
Article : The Netherlands, in : Funk & Wagnall's New Standard Encyclopedia Year Book 1932 pp.399-400, 1933 pp.373-374, 1934 pp.387-388, 1935 pp.383-385, 1936 pp.357-359, 1937 pp.361-362, 1938 pp.366-368, 1939 pp.391-393, 1940 pp.391-394 [G]

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First posted in 2000, last revised on May 9th 2008

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