The Netherlands and the Polder Model: A Response

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In response to the contributions by Davids-’t Hart, De Vries, and De Munck we
emphasise that our book Nederland en het poldermodel [The Netherlands and the
Polder Model] has been written for a general audience and therefore does not
provide a detailed theoretical framework, nor a large number of graphs and tables.
We have focused on the territory of the Netherlands, fully aware that this was not
a (politically or economically) coherent territory before the sixteenth century,
but any other choice would have been equally arbitrary. In the Middle Ages the
region developed much like other, neighbouring parts of Western Europe, but
whereas elsewhere the rise of centralised states and absolutist monarchs ended
the development path based on bottom-up institutions, the successful Dutch
Revolt and the formation of the decentralised Dutch Republic ensured much more
continuity. We share the assessment of our critics that the transformation from
this institutional structure via the mid-nineteenth century phase of ‘liberalisation’
into the new corporatism of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries is still
incompletely understood.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-133
Number of pages9
JournalBMGN - The Low Countries Historical Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Low Countries
  • economic history
  • discussion
  • polder model


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