Globalization and Welfare series
Edited by Klaus Armingeon and Michelle Beyeler
Chapter 9: The Netherlands: how OECD ideas are slowly creeping in
Harmen Binnema INSTITUTIONAL AND POLITICAL CONTEXT The Dutch welfare state is, in terms of the Esping-Andersen (1990) typology generally characterised as conservative, although it has some clear socialdemocratic traits and – especially in recent years – increasingly more liberal elements too (cf. Kersbergen 1995; Becker 2000; Lamping and Vergunst 2000; Huber and Stephens 2001). In terms of generosity and income equality, the Netherlands are closer to the social-democratic models than to conservative counterparts Austria and Germany, but the architecture is still very much conservative. First social laws were established in the beginning of the twentieth century and would offer a minimum protection in case of accident, sickness or disability. They were part of a package deal, which has become known as the ‘Pacification’, also including the equal treatment of private and state schools and universal suffrage. In the inter-war years, the welfare state schemes remained very limited, with a small role for the state and an emphasis on charity. The true build-up of the Dutch welfare state came after World War II, when a Roman–Red coalition (Catholics and social-democrats) headed by Drees (1946–58) introduced a range of new social security laws, starting with the Emergency Act for Old Age Provisions. In the 1950s, this early initiative was extended to a fully-fledged pension system, including a flat-rate universal pension, occupational pensions and private insurances. The pension system is a telling example of the conservative–social-democratic mixture that typifies the Dutch welfare state. Successive governments in the 1960s and 1970s, composed of...
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