The Dutch Post-war Social Movement and the Elite’s Reaction

  • Sjaak van der Velden
Part of the Palgrave Studies in the History of Social Movements book series (PSHSM)


The post-war period in the Netherlands was a time of reconstruction. Following the prevailing opinion of the time, the Dutch had only one goal. That goal was to restore the economy. In a joint effort, they restored the economy that had suffered so much from the war. The Nazi occupiers had struck a severe blow to economic life by killing or deporting many hundreds of thousands of inhabitants, looting the country and even destroying the arteries of the economy: the ports of Rotterdam and Amsterdam. After the allied victory over Germany, there was a feeling of national unity. This prevailing opinion of the time made its way into historical writings, but one may wonder if national unity was supported by all segments of society. In this chapter the author gives an overview of labour relations during the first post-war years and questions the opinion that there was broad support for the official ideology. A strike wave that occurred immediately after the war shows that both workers and their opponents quickly returned to pre-war relations. Fear of a return to the post-World-War-I revolutionary atmosphere by labour unions and the government ended the strike wave.

List of Abbreviations


Extraordinary Decree on Labour Relations


Collectieve Arbeids Overeenkomst (Collective Labour Agreement)


Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek (Statistics Netherlands)


Christelijk Nationaal Vakverbond (National Federation of Christian Trade Unions)


College van Rijksbemiddelaars (Board of Government Mediators)


Eenheids Vak Centrale (Unity Union)


Katholieke Arbeiders Beweging (Catholic Labour Movement)


Nederlands Verbond van Vakverenigingen (Dutch Federation of Trade Unions)


Onafhankelijk Verbond van Bedrijfsorganisaties (Independent Union of Industrial Organisations)

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sjaak van der Velden
    • 1
  1. 1.International Institute of Social HistoryAmsterdamNetherlands

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