1945-1949 1949-1969

The Netherlands 1949-1969

Foreign Policy . In 1945 the Dutch government intended to reestablish its control over the Dutch East Indies; there, they fought a brief campaign against independence activists. In 1949, Indonesia was released into independence. The Netherlands continued to administrate Netherlands' New Guinea (i.e. the western half of the island) until 1963, when it was occupied and annexed by Indonesia.
In 1954 the Statute for the Kingdom was passed, changing the colonies in the West Indies to equal partners within the kingdom. Curaçao (the six islands Curaçao, Aruba, Bonaire, Saba, St. Maarten, St. Eustasius) were renamed Netherlands Antilles. These areas were not part of the Netherlands (in sports events they competed under their own flags) but were closely linked to it; they received financial subsidies from the motherland.

Domestic Policy . In 1953 the Netherlands suffered one of the worst inundations in history, strong winds coinciding with the tide pusged seawater into the beds of Rhine, Waal, Merwede and Maas, causing the water to flow over the river dykes. The damage was estimated at 1,100,000,000 US $. In order to prevent such a disaster from repeating, the Delta Project was launched.
The Dutch parliament enacted legislation turning the country into an advanced Welfare State, among them the Old Age Pension Law (W. Drees) of 1957, the Children Benefit Act of 1962, the Health Insurance Act of 1964, the Sickness Benefits Act of 1967 (pension for people prevented by sickness or disability from working), the Work-Related Disability Benefits Act of 1967.

The Economy . In 1951 the Netherlands became a founding member of the ECSC, in 1957 of the EEC. It benefitted greatly from it, developing into the Garden of Europe. Most of the vegetables and fruits sold in German supermarkets were grown in the Netherlands. Dutch underglass agriculture benefitted from low natural gas prices - a large natural gas field was found at Slochteren in the province of Groningen in 1959. On the other hand, coal prices sank and in 1957 the Netherlands decided to close down its coal mining industry (province Limburg; the last one was closed in 1973).
In the second half of the 1950es, the Netherlands, like other booming western European economies, experienced labour shortage. It was met by recruiting the so-called Guest Workers (a misnomer, as most of them stayed on) from countries such as Italy, Yugoslavia, Turkey, Morocco.

Society . Upon Indonesian independence, 3.468 Moluccans, which had fought on the side of the Dutch, fearing reprisal, moved with their families to the Netherlands; many of them opened Indian-Chinese restaurants, so typical for Dutch cities. C. 300,000 Eurasians, persons of (at least partial) Dutch descent, were repatriated. The Guest Workers from Italy, Yugoslavia, Turkey, Morocco and elsewhere, arriving in the 1960es, contributed to the creation of an ethnic Kaleidosciope.

Culture . In 1951 TV broadcasting began in the Netherlands, from Hilversum, the airtime split among the organizations affiliated to the pillars which already provided radio programmes. TV, as radio, remained limited to non-commercial organizations until 1989.

A Concise History of the Netherlands, from Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken, available in English, French, German, Spanish and Dutch
Watersnood 1953, from Stichting Stavenisse, in Dutch, illustrated
Watersnoodramp in 1953, from Familie Meerman Website, in Dutch, richly illustrated
Watersnoodramp Februari 1953 Stavenisse (Tholen), posted by Ko van Oeveren, in Dutch
Watersnoodramp 1953, from Stichting Actief Stavenisse in Dutch, illustrated, concise
De Krimpenerwaard tijdens de Watersnood van 1953 (the Krimpenerwaard during the inundation of 1953), from De Krimpenerwaard, by Nieko Jongerius
Delta Plan Project, from Fluid Power Journal
Museum Watersnood 1953, from Museumkrant, in Dutch, illustrated
Bibliography Watersnoodramp 1953, from KNMI
Herdenking Watersnoodramp 1953, from Veron Amateur Radio, in Dutch
Herdenking Watersnoodramp 1953 (Commemoration Inundation of 1953), from EUCC, in Dutch, concise, illustrated; not identical with previous site
De Watersnoodramp (The Inundation), from SchoolTV, in Dutch, relatively brief, illustrated, links
Walcheren en de Ramp (Walcheren and the Inundation of 1953), from HK Walcheren, in Dutch, illustrated
1953-2003 De Ramp, from Provinciale Zeeuwsche Courant, in Dutch, links
Biography W. Drees, from Museum voor Vaderlandse Geschiedenis, in Dutch
Biography of J.E. de Quay, from Museum voor Vaderlandse Geschiedenis, in Dutch
Biography of J.M.L.Th. Cals, from Museum voor Vaderlandse Geschiedenis, in Dutch
Periode 1945-1959 - Rooms-Rode Kabinetten (Period 1945-1959, Roman-Red Cabinets), Periode 1959-1971 Welvaartsstaat (Period 1959-1971, Welfare State), from Parlement en Politiek, in Dutch, official site on the history of the Netherlands' Parliament
Het jeugdprotest in de jaren '60 (Youth Protest in the 1960es), from geschiedenis.net, in Dutch
1956 Greet Hofmans Affaire, from Nationaalarchief, in Dutch
The Netherlands, in : Kenneth Janda, Political Parties : A Cross-National Survey
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
List of Queens, Prime Ministers, Portfolio Ministers, Party Leaders etc. since 1945, from ZPC
Cabinet Lists : Cabinet Drees/van Schaik (1948-1951), Cabinet Drees I (1951-1952), Cabinet Drees II (1952-1956), Cabinet Drees III (1956-1958), Cabinet Beel II (1958-1959), Cabinet de Quay (1959-1963), Cabinet Marijnen (1963-1965), Cabinet Cals (1965-1966), Cabinet Zijlstra (1966-1967), Cabinet de Jong (1967-1971), from Wikipedia Dutch edition
Dutch banknotes, from Currency Museum
Verkiezingen Dossier 1948 - 1956 (Dossier on Dutch Elections, 1948-1956), from geschiedenis.net, in Dutch
REFERENCE J.C.H. Blom, A Bourgeois and Pillarized Society (1918-1960), pp.423-443, J.C.H. Blom, Seismic Shifts since the 1960es, pp.444-460, 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 - misleading title; on the entire kingdom
Adriaan J. Barnouw, The Land and People of Holland, Philadelphia : Lippincott, 1961 - misleading title; on the entire kingdom
Chapter 9 : The Benelux Contellation, pp.105-122 in : John Gunther, Inside Europe Today, NY : Harper & Bros. 1961 [G]
Article : Netherlands, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1950 pp.482-484, 1951 pp.494-495, 1952 pp.498-499, 1953 pp.498-500, 1954 pp.499-501, 1955 pp.545-546, 1956 pp.482-484, 1957 pp.544-545, 1958 pp.482-483, 1959 pp.480-481, 1960 pp.474-475, 1961 pp.480-481, 1962 pp.477-478, 1963 pp.595-596, 1964 pp.606-607, 1965 pp.582-584, 1966 pp.571-572, 1967 pp.577-578, 1968 pp.574-575, 1969 pp.555-556 [G]
Article : Netherlands, in : Americana Annual 1957 pp.553-555, 1961 pp.519-521, 1962 pp.528-530, 1963 pp.471-472, 1964 pp.467-468, 1965 pp.508-509, 1967 pp.484-485, 1968 pp.483-484, 1969 p.489, 1970 p.483 [G]
Article : Netherlands, in : Funk & Wagnall's New Standard Encyclopedia Year Book 1952 pp.294-295, 1961 pp.219-220 [G]

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2000, last revised on September 28th 2007

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