The Netherlands

  • Jelle Visser
Part of the The Societies of Europe book series (SOEU)


The institutional features of Dutch trade unions after 1945 can be summarized in five points: a union movement divided by religion and ideology; close co-operation between the different currents; predominance of industrial unionism; strong federal authority over affiliate unions; and marginal importance of independent unions. This arrangement helped to sustain what Windmuller (1969: 130–1) thought to be the ‘most striking feature’ of post-war unionism in The Netherlands, ‘namely the underlying sense of responsibility for the welfare of the nation as a whole … showing itself after the war in many different ways-wage restraints, participation in innumerable public and semi-public institutions, an exceedingly low rate of conflict, acceptance of stringent economic controls, and the imposition of discipline in labour’s own ranks’. All this lasted until the late 1960s and some of it revived in the 1980s and 1990s. In the 1970s, there was a caesura and the outlook and character of Dutch trade unionism underwent a marked change. The division into three main union confederations continued, though the traditional cleavage between general or Social Democratic, Catholic, and Protestant currents disappeared. The Catholic federation merged with the Social Democratic one to become the dominant centre of the Dutch trade unions. The Protestant centre attracted a number of independent Catholic unions and became the interdenominational union federation it had always wanted to be. A new federation of white-collar organizations was founded. Within each federation, union mergers produced large multi-industrial or conglomerate unions which cut across the industry boundaries and challenged the leadership of their peak associations. Unionism in the public and semi-public sector grew more important, and with it intra-federal rivalry.


Private Sector Trade Union Public Administration Personal Service Union Confederation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Akkermans, M., and P. Grootings (1978), ‘From Corporatism to Polarization: Elements of the Development in Dutch Industrial Relations.’ In C. Crouch and A. Pizzorno, eds. The Resurgence of Class Conflict in Western Europe, Vol. 1: National Studies. London: Macmillan, 179–90.Google Scholar
  2. Amelink, H. (1940), Onder eigen banier. Utrecht: CNV.Google Scholar
  3. Bank, J., P. Klep, J. Peet, H. Righart, and J. Roes (1985), Katholieke arbeiders-beweging. Studies over KAB en NKV in de economische en politieke ontwikkeling van Nederland na 1945. Baarn: Ambo.Google Scholar
  4. Blom, J. (1977), ‘The Second World War and Dutch Society.’ In A. Duke and C. Ramse, eds. Britain and the Netherlands, vol. IV. The Hague: Nijhoff, 228–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bymolt, B. (1894), Geschiedenis van de arbeidersbeweging in Nederland. Amsterdam: van Looy / Gerlings.Google Scholar
  6. Coomans, P., T. de Jonge, and E. Nijhof (1976), De Eenheidsvakcentrale (EVC) 1943–48. Groningen: Tjeenk Willink.Google Scholar
  7. CBS (Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek) (1946–64; 1967; 1969), De omvang der vakbeweging in Nederland op 1 januari 19…(1946–64, 1967, 1969). The Hague: Staatsuitgeverij (formerly: Utrecht: De Haan).Google Scholar
  8. — (1971–89), ‘Statistiek van de vakbeweging’, The Hague: CBS (1971–89): biannual publication: 1971–89, since 1991 in Sociaal-Economische Maandstatistiek (monthly).Google Scholar
  9. — (quarterly), ‘De vakbeweging en haar ledentallen’, Sociaal-Economische Maandstatistiek. The Hague: CBS (data for affiliated unions only).Google Scholar
  10. Daalder, A. (1994), ‘Arbeidsmarkt en vakbondsleden in 1994’. Amsterdam: CESAR (University of Amsterdam).Google Scholar
  11. —(1966), The Netherlands: Opposition in a Segmented Society.’ In R. Dahl, ed. Political Opposition in Western Societies. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 188–236.Google Scholar
  12. —(1985), ‘Politieke instellingen en politieke partijen.’ In F. van Holthoon, ed. De Nederlandse samenleving sinds 1815. Wording en samenhang. Assen/Maastricht: van Gorcum, 305–40.Google Scholar
  13. Dubois, A. (1987), ‘Het bijna vergeten hoofdstuk: een sterke vakbeweging is een financiëel gezonde vakbeweging.’ In L. Hendriks, S. Ruesen, and J. Sprenger, eds. Het nieuwe huis van de arbeid. Amsterdam: Raamgracht/BHB, 137–52.Google Scholar
  14. Flora, P., W. Pfenning, and F. Kraus (1987) State, Economy and Society in Western Europe 1815–1975, Vol. II. Frankfurt: Campus.Google Scholar
  15. Griffiths, R., and J. van Zanden (1989), Economische geschiedenis van Nederland in de 20e eeuw. Utrecht: Aula.Google Scholar
  16. Harmsen, G. (1980), ‘De arbeiders en hun vakorganisaties.’ In F. van Holthoon, ed. De Nederlandse samenleving sinds 1815. Wording en samenhang. Assen: van Gorcum, 261–82.Google Scholar
  17. —, and L. Noordegraaf (1973), ‘Het ontstaan van de Eenheidsvakcentrale’. Te Elfder Ure 14: 791–852.Google Scholar
  18. —, J. Perry, and F. van Gelder (1980), Mensenwerk. Industriële bonden op weg naar eenheid. Baarn: Ambo.Google Scholar
  19. —, and Reinalda, B. (1975), Voor de bevrijding van de arbeid. Beknopte geschiedenis van de Nederlandse vakbeweging. Nijmegen: SUN.Google Scholar
  20. Hemerijck, A. (1993), The Historical Contingencies of Dutch Corporatism. Unpubl. D. Phil, thesis, Balliol College, Oxford.Google Scholar
  21. Hueting, E., F. de Jong Edz., and R. Heij (1983), Naar groter eenheid. De geschiedenis van het Nederlands Verbond van Vakverenigingen 1906–1981. Amsterdam: van Gennep.Google Scholar
  22. Jong, F. de, ed. (1956), Om de plaats van de arbeid. Amsterdam: NVV.Google Scholar
  23. Jonge, J. de (1968), De industrialisatie van Nederland tussen 1850 en 1914. Amsterdam: Scheltema & Holkema.Google Scholar
  24. Klandermans, P., and J. Visser (1995), De vakbeweging na de welvaartsstaat. Assen: van Gorcum.Google Scholar
  25. Kooy, P., ‘Stad en platteland.’ In De Nederlandse samenleving sinds 1815. Wording en samenhang. Assen/Maastricht: van Gorcum, 93–115.Google Scholar
  26. Kruyt, J. (1959), ‘The Influence of Denominationalism on Social Life and Organizational Patterns’. Archives de sociologie des religions 4: 105–11.Google Scholar
  27. Kuyper, C. (1951–3), Ontstaan, groei en werk van de Katholieke Arbeidersbeweging in Nederland. 3 vols. Utrecht: KAB.Google Scholar
  28. Leeuwen, M. van (1997), ‘Trade Unions and the Provision of Welfare in the Netherlands, 1910–1960’. Economic History Review 50(4): 764–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Lijphart, A. (1968), The Politics of Accommodation. Pluralism and Democracy in the Netherlands. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  30. Lis, C, J. Lucassen, and H. Soly, eds. (1994), Before the Unions: Wage Earners and Collective Action in Europe, 1300–1850. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  31. Nobelen, P. (1983), Ondernemersorganisaties in beweging. Deventer: Kluwer.Google Scholar
  32. Peper, B. (1978), ‘The Netherlands: From an Ordered Harmony to a Bargained Relationship.’ In S. Barkin, ed. Worker Militancy and its Consequences. 1965–1975. New York: Praeger, 118–53.Google Scholar
  33. Pott-Buter, H. (1993), Facts and Fairy Tales about Female Labour. A Seven-Country Comparison 1850–1990. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.Google Scholar
  34. Reinalda, B. (1985), De dienstenbonden. Klein maar strijdbaar. Baarn: Ambo.Google Scholar
  35. Rij, C. van (1996), ‘Arbeidsmarkt en vakbondsleden in 1996’ Amsterdam: CESAR (University of Amsterdam).Google Scholar
  36. —(1998), ‘Arbeidsmarkt en vakbondsleden in 1998’. Amsterdam: CESAR (University of Amsterdam).Google Scholar
  37. Riiter, A. (1935), De spoorwegstaking van 1903. Een spiegel der arbeidersbeweging in Nederland. Leiden: E.J. Brill.Google Scholar
  38. —(1967), ‘De Nederlandse trekken van de Nederlandse arbeidersbeweging’. In A. Rüter, ed. Historische Studiën over mens en samenleving. Assen: van Gorkum 1967: 36–165.Google Scholar
  39. Smit, E., and K. Schilstra (1992), ‘Unie of Gemenebest?’ Zeggenschap 92/3: 30–40.Google Scholar
  40. Streeck, W., and J. Visser (1998), ‘The Evolutionary Dynamic of Trade Union Systems’. Discussion Paper 98/4. Cologne: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.Google Scholar
  41. Veltman, J. (1987), ‘Vakbeweging en uitkeringsgerechtigden’, MA Thesis. Amsterdam: Sociologisch Instituut (University of Amsterdam)Google Scholar
  42. Visser, J. (1989), European Trade Unions in Figures. Deventer: Kluwer [Chap. ‘The Netherlands’, 131–64].Google Scholar
  43. —(1990), In Search of Inclusive Unions. Deventer: Kluwer.Google Scholar
  44. —(1990), ‘Continuity and Change in Dutch Industrial Relations.’ In G. Baglioni and C. Crouch, eds. European Industrial Relations: The Challenge of Flexibility. London: Sage, 199–243.Google Scholar
  45. —(1995), ‘The Netherlands: From Paternalism to Representation.’ In J. Rogers and W. Streeck, eds. Works Councils: Consultations, Representation, and Cooperation in Industrial Relations. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 79–114.Google Scholar
  46. —(1998), ‘The Return to Responsive Corporatism.’ In A. Ferner and R. Hyman, eds. Changing Industrial Relations in Europe. Oxford: Blackwell, 283–314.Google Scholar
  47. —(1998), ‘Two Cheers for the Market, One for Corporatism: Industrial Relations, Wage Moderation and Job Growth in the Netherlands’, British Journal of Industrial Relations 36(2): 269–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. —, and A. Daalder (1992), ‘Arbeidsmarkt en vakbondsleden in 1992’. Amsterdam: CESAR (University of Amsterdam).Google Scholar
  49. —, and A. Hemerijck (1997), ‘A Dutch Miracle’. Job Growth, Welfare Reform and Corporatism in the Netherlands. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.Google Scholar
  50. —, and C. van Rij (1999), Flexibiliteit en vakbeweging. Amsterdam. Welboom: Elsevier.Google Scholar
  51. Windmuller, J. (1969), Labor Relations in the Netherlands. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Bernhard Ebbinghaus and Jelle Visser 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jelle Visser

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations