1949-1969 since 1990

Netherlands 1969-1990

Foreign Policy . In 1975 Suriname was released into independence.

Domestic Policy . In 1980, Queen Juliana retired, being succeeded by her daughter Beatrix.
Under the administration J.M. den Uyl (1973-1977) the Welfare State was extended. Preschool education is provided for every child; Dutch youngsters turning 18 can claim an apartment of their own. If they can't afford it, the community has to subsidize them etc.
The Catholic and Protestant parties joined forces, founding the CDA in 1975/1980. The CDA defeated the PvdA at the poll in 1977 and was to dominate Dutch politics into the 1990es (Cabinets van Agt, Lubbers). Yet it soon became apparent, that the Dutch, with declining state revenue (decline in the manufacturing sector; dependency on (exhaustible) natural gas supplies) could not maintain the (rising) costs of the Welfare State for long. The export of natural gas resulted in a strong Guilder, which affected exports and caused a rise in unemployment (Dutch Disease). In 1982, Dutch employers and trade unions signed the Wassenaar Accord, in which they agreed to pursue moderate wage increases, and act with prudence while the government would pursue a policy of cutting down on the excessive services offered to the citizens/burdens on the economy, resulted by the welfare state. Labour law was rewritten to promote part-time labour. The new economic policy was called the Polder Model, refered to as a Dutch form of Corporatism.
In response to changes within society, new political parties emerged - Democraten 66, a progressive liberal party aiming at the 'democratization of society'. The Catholic and Protestant parties ( KVP, ARP, CHU) in 1977/1980 merged to form the CDA, an event indicating the Depillarization of Dutch society.

The Economy . The expansion of the Welfare State in the 1970es (in reaction to the 1968 students movement) resulted in rising state expenses and costs for Dutch industries. This phenomenon coincided with the end of the post-war economic boom; the Oil Crisis of 1973 resulted in increased costs for imported raw materials; by the 1970es, the competition of emerging Asian manufacturers (with significantly lower labour costs) began to have an impact. Domestic raw material deposits were exhaustible ( Slochteren gas field) or no longer competitive (the last Dutch coal mine closed down in 1973). The development of new gas fields under the North Sea was costly. The overall phenomenon is called Dutch Disease.
More Dutch women entered the labour market than before. The arrival of Surinamers in 1975 also contributed to unemployment figures rising steadily. The policy of recruiting workers from abroad (Guest Workers) was discontinued; those in the country were permitted to stay.
To address the Dutch Disease, to make the Dutch economy more competitive and to check the costs of the Welfare State, the Polder Model was agreed upon in the early 1980es.

Society . Historian Mark T. Hooker describes the Americanization of Holland (i.e. the Netherlands, pp.139-140) - the transformation of the Netherlands into a consumer society in which movies and tv have a great impact on society. The Netherlands developed her own version of a fast food culture. The country experienced the emergence of a generation gap; the generation which grew up in the 1950es and 1960es did not remember the war, largely rejected authoritarianism, consumerism, the (religious and political) values of their parents' generation. In 1966, this discrepancy became apparent; J.C.H. Blom refers to this date as the beginning of Seismic Shifts (pp.444ff). The youth movement wanted democratization of society, was opposed to war in general and specifically the Vietnam War, against capitalism, against authoritarianism etc.
The use of narcotics had became widespread, and the Dutch government refused to crack down hard on it; instead, it adopted the stand of treating addiction to narcotics as a public health issue, and of tolerating the use of soft drugs under supervision. The intention was to decriminalize the use of soft narcotics, to reach the addicts and to be able to influence them. Amsterdam attracted addicts from neighbouring countries such as West Germany, many of whom stayed because they feared German police looking for them. Dutch narcotics policy was criticized by neighbouring EEC countries, as many of Europe's narcotics were imported via the Netherlands.
Another movement beginning in the late 1960es were the Krakers - young men illegally occupying houses standing empty and being in disrepair. Claiming that the owner also broke the law by failing to repair the house, they repaired it on their own, paying (a low rent the amount of which they fixed themselves) on a bank account, they declared being prepared to hand over that money to the owner if he was ready to legalize the situation by signing a contract. Among the Krakers were some radical elements. Police attempted to negotiate between moderate Krakers and house owners, and take action against the radicals.
The most important movement emerging from the late 1960es were the environmentalists. Greenpeace headquarters is located in Amsterdam.
Upon independence (1975), many Surinamers (with double citizenship) flew to the Nettherlands, settling there and claiming social security benefits.
In 1977 radical Moluccan exiles took the students of a school hostage and at the same time took control of a train passing the province of Drente, holding the passangers hostage as well. They demanded the Dutch government to use its influence for their homeland, the Molucca islands in Indonesia, to become independent. Special forces liberates the hostages.
Intensive agriculture was one of the factors causing severe pollution. The second Cabinet Lubbers fell (1988) over its inability to agree on a policy intended to tackle the pollution problem head on. In 1982, the Netherlands formally abolished the death penalty.
In 1981 abortion (practised illegally since 1971) was legalized. Because of the liberal abortion regulations in the Netherlands, an 'abortion tourism' emerged, from West Germany etc. to the Netherlands.

Culture . In 1974 and 1978 the Dutch soccer team became runner-up in the World Cups staged in Germany and Argentina respectively. The Dutch are referred to "the best team never to win the cup". In 1980 the Netherlands and Belgium signed a treaty on the Union of the Dutch and Flemish language (Dutch Language Union).

A Concise History of the Netherlands, from Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken, available in English, French, German, Spanish and Dutch
Articles : Ruud Lubbers, Dries van Agt, Christian-Democratic Appeal, Joop den Uyl, Labour Party (Netherlands), Barend Biesheuvel, Piet de Jong, Polder Model, Dutch Disease, The Netherlands Train Hostage Case, Drug Policy of the Netherlands, Dutch Language Union, from Wikipedia English edition
Article Abortus (Abortion), Gastarbeider (Guest Worker), from Wikipedia Dutch edition
Geschiedenis van de Krakers (Krakers history), from Staatsarchief
Combining work and care in the polder model. An assessment of the Dutch part-time strategy, by Janneke Plantenga
The Netherlands, from the Oil Crisis History Site
Het ontstaan van de CDA, from Museum voor Vaderlandse Geschiedenis, in Dutch
Biography of A.A.M. van Agt, from Museum voor Vaderlandse Geschiedenis, in Dutch
Biography of J.M. den Uyl, from Museum voor Vaderlandse Gescgiedenis, in Dutch
Biography of R.F.M. Lubbers, from Museum voor Vaderlandse Geschiedenis, in Dutch
Biography of W. Kok, from Museum voor Vaderlandse Geschiedenis, in Dutch
Periode 1959-1971 Welvaartsstaat (Period 1959-1971, Welfare State), Periode 1971-1982 Polarisatie (Period 1971-1982, Polarization); Periode 1983-1994 Kabinetten Lubbers (Period 1982-1994 - Cabinets Lubbers), from Parlement en Politiek, in Dutch, official site on the history of the Netherlands' Parliament
History of the Dutch-Flemish cultural Treaty, from Commissie Cultureel Verdrag Vlaanderen Nederlanf, in Dutch
Geschiedenis van Abortus Provocatus
Geschiedenis van de Abortus in Nederland, from STIMEZO Zwolle, in Dutch
Abortus - Geschiedkundige Informatie, from NGVA Handboek, 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
List of Queens, Prime Ministers, Portfolio Ministers, Party Leaders etc. since 1945, from ZPC
Cabinet Lists : Kabinet de Jong (1967-1971), Kabinet Biesheuvel (1971-1973), Kabinet den Uyl (1973-1977), Kabinet van Agt I (1977-1981), Kabinet van Agt II (1981-1982), Kabinet van Agt III (1982), Kabinet Lubbers I (1982-1986), Kabinet Lubbers II (1982-1989), Kabinet Lubbers III (1989-1994), from Wikipedia Dutch edition
Dutch banknotes, from Currency Museum
Constitution of 1815 as amended in 1972, posted by Verfassungen.de, in German
Constitution of 1815 as amended in 1983, posted by Verfassungen.de, in German
REFERENCE 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
Article : Netherlands, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1970 pp.565-567, 1971 pp.547-549 [G]
Article : Netherlands, The, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1972 pp.509-511, 1973 pp.499-501, 1974 pp.504-505, 1975 pp.514-515, 1976 pp.541-542, 1977 pp.542-543, 1978 pp.568-569, 1979 pp.558-559, 1980 pp.556-557, 1981 pp.558-559, 1982 pp.560-561, 1983 pp.551-552, 1984 pp.552-553, 1985 pp.537-538, 746, 1986 pp.531-532, 744, 1987 pp.503, 713, 1988 pp.459, 665, 1989 pp.459, 665, 1990 pp.475-476 [G]
Article : Netherlands, in : Statesman's Yearbook 1970-1971 pp.1166-1178, 1975-1976 pp.1166-1178, 1976-1977 pp.1168-1181, 1978-1979 pp.873-886, 1979-1980 pp.877-889, 1980-1981 pp.882-894, 1981-1982 pp.887-902, 1983-1984 pp.879-892, 1984-1985 pp.879-892, 1985-1986 pp.880-892, 1986-1987 pp.880-893, 1987-1988 pp.884-895, 1988-1989 pp.886-897, 1989-1990 pp.898-909, 1990-1991 pp.899-910 [G]
Article : Netherlands, in : The World in Figures 1st ed. 1976 pp.244-246, 2nd ed. 1978 pp.244-246, 4th ed. 1984 pp.244-246 [G]
Article : Netherlands, in : Americana Annual 1971 pp.491-492, 1972 pp.490-491, 1973 pp.491-492, 1974 pp.415-416, 1976 pp.407-408, 1988 p.384, 1989 p.388, 1990 p.384 [G]
Article : Netherlands, in : Yearbook on International Communist Affairs 1976 pp.194-198 (C.C. van den Heuvel), 1980 pp.190-193 (C.C. v.d.H.) [G]

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2000, last revised on March 20th 2006

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