Projects

Market Makers. A political history of neoliberalism in the Netherlands (1945-2002)

The research project ‘Market Makers’ aims to contradict the conventional image of an Anglo-American neoliberalism with only late and limited impact in the Netherlands. It follows the lead of international historiography, which has traced a multifaceted range of national trajectories of neoliberalism in Western Europe, originating in the late 1940s. The project examines the specific character of the Dutch neoliberal movement from 1945 to 2002 as a ‘discourse coalition’, analytically subdivided in discourses, networks and policies.

In doing so, it demonstrates how a neoliberal undercurrent in postwar Dutch society gradually mutated into a key influence on the policy paradigms of the 1980s and 1990s. This will enable us to explain the continuous postwar resistance against the welfare state, the remarkably radical transformation in the 1980s and 1990s of the Netherlands into one of the most liberalised European economies, and the paradoxical manifestation of Dutch neoliberalism in a depoliticised, consensual guise.

Internationally, the Dutch case provides a stepping stone towards a more systematic comparative conceptualisation of different national trajectories of neoliberalism and accompanying pathways of institutional change.

On a national level, the research provides depth to ongoing Dutch public debates on neoliberalism by demonstrating its long historical lineage, its nuanced complexity as well as its unexpectedly deep impact.

  • Project Leader: Prof. Ido de Haan
  • Duration: 2017-2021
  • Funding: NWO Vrije Competitie
The Imperative of Regulation: Local and (Trans-)National Dynamics of Drug Regulatory Regimes in the Netherlands since the Second World War

Dutch drug policies since the Second World War have oscillated between tolerance and repression of drug use. From a historical perspective drug policies in the Netherlands have shown a structural undercurrent of increasing regulation, despite their internationally (in)famous reputation in leading in the decriminalization of drug use and in harm-reduction public health policies.

This project investigates drug regulation in the Netherlands as historically resulting from the interaction with several important areas: the development of drug economies, shifting public perceptions about drug use, and the dynamics of local drug politics. How and to what extent did these economic and socio-cultural settings, and differentiated forms of policy-making, influence and modify Dutch drug regulation?

Within this project we will explain the development and intensification of drug regulatory regimes in the post-war period. Moreover and crucially, we will relate Dutch drug regulatory regimes to European and transnational developments. Finally, the results of this innovative approach and its implications for research and policy will be integrally disseminated and discussed, with both academic colleagues and public stakeholders in the Netherlands and in Europe.

  • Project Leader: Prof. James Kennedy
  • Duration: 2015-2019
  • Funding: NWO Vrije Competitie
Paramilitarism, Organized Crime, and the State in the 1990s

During the ethnic conflicts of the 1990s, paramilitary units appeared in Serbia and Turkey, and committed mass violence against civilians. These groups maintained close links with political elites, including heads of state, and they were largely drawn from the social milieu of organized crime. This research project starts from the hypothesis that paramilitary units are the result of outsourcing mass political violence by the state, and are recruited from the ranks of criminals and gangs, which return to their normal criminal activities after their service for the state is finished. This will be examined from a longer-term, historical perspective on the emergence, functioning, and decline of paramilitary units.

The availability of new, previously undisclosed source materials opens a window of opportunity for the study of these phenomena. Several examples of recent paramilitarism will be studied within a broad comparative framework; the Serbian and Turkish cases in greater detail. The project aims to answer the questions how and why paramilitarism emerges; to what extent and how it contributes to large-scale violence; what happens to these units after their ?political? role ends; and how paramilitarism is connected to transformations of warfare and state-society relations.

Religion Renegotiated: Faith-Based Organizations and the State in the Netherlands since the 1960s

Recent controversies in the Netherlands strongly suggest that the relationship between 'faith-based organizations' and the state is being redefined and renegotiated. The Staatkundige Gereformeerde Partij (SGP) can no longer exclude women from passive suffrage. And Jewish and Islamic communities nearly lost their prerogative in the Netherlands to engage in traditional ritual slaughter. These are but a few issues that illustrate the newly contested relationship between 'church' (defined here as all faith-based organizations, including houses of worship) and 'state' (both national and local government as well as judicial bodies).

This project offers a historical examination of the grounding for Dutch government policy toward faith-based organizations - old and new, from all religions. Using new digital methods of research, it offers a longitudinal study of the Dutch public debate about how these organizations should be regulated by government policy. It seeks to uncover the sometimes subtle and unpredictable ways in which faith-based organizations were accommodated in the public square by governmental bodies, and how the claims of these groups were weighed. And it ties policy-making to public discussions, showing the relationship between policy-making on the one hand and a broader public debate on the other. In so doing it hopes to shed light on developments not only of the Dutch case, which has generated much comment, but also transnational ones.

  • Project Leader: Prof. James Kennedy
  • Duration: 2013-2018
  • Funding: NWO programme Religion in Modern Society
A Colonial Legacy. Dutch Settlements in the occupied Soviet Territories, 1939-1945

This research project investigates Dutch colonial aspirations and initiatives during World War II. Between the summers of 1941 and 1944, some 5,500 Dutch men and women left their occupied homeland to find employment in the so-called German Occupied Eastern Territories: Belarus, the Baltic countries and parts of Ukraine. This was the area designated for colonisation by Germanic people. It was also the stage of the “Holocaust by Bullets,” a centrally coordinated policy of exploitation and oppression and a ruthless anti-partisan war.

This project seeks to answer why the Dutch decided to go there, how their recruitment, transfer and stay were organised, and how they reacted to this scene of genocidal violence.
 

The Long-lasting Legacy of Collaboration

This project at NIOD (Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies) investigates the legacy of war and collaboration in new ways. The general hypothesis is that examining the processes of integration and exclusion of former national socialist milieus in Dutch post-war society will enhance our understanding of collaboration and the consequences of the Second World War. To test this hypothesis, instead of assigning the terms ‘right’ (‘goed’), ‘wrong’ (‘fout’) or ‘grey’ (‘grijs’), we turn them into objects of research. A key question is in which ways the preconditions of reintegration and the meanings of ‘wrong’, ‘collaborator’ and ‘political delinquent’ changed over time.

  • Project Leader: Prof. Ismee Tames
  • Duration: 2008-2013
  • Funding: NWO
Alternatives of Parliamentary Democracy. The Netherlands in a European Comparative Perspective, 1880 to the Present

In this project we investigate the development of ideas and practices that were presented and functioned as alternatives of established parliamentary forms of democracy in Western Europe since 1880, as well as the practical development of alternatives to parliamentary democracy in the Netherlands since 1945.

We thus aim to serve three goals:

  1. to re-orient the historiography of democracy in the Netherlands, by focusing on democratic forms outside the established form of parliamentary democracy, and to connect this alternative history to a European-wide debate on the development of these alternatives;
  2. to probe the potentials and limits of alternative practices of representation and regulation in the Netherlands since 1945, both independently and in relation to established parliamentary forms of democracy;
  3. to investigate the relationship between conceptualizations and evaluations of forms of democracy and their institutionalization.
  • Project Leader: Prof. Ido de Haan
  • Duration: 2007-2013
  • Funding: NWO