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Past and future of the ‘polder model’. Post-war economic coordination in the Netherlands


Admission requirements

BA History


The Dutch coordinated market economy shows that regulation and consultation (the ‘polder’) have been beneficial to Dutch economic performance. This means that various forms of consultation and information sharing have not been detrimental to the functioning of the free market.
In this course we will examine economic growth, labour relations, and the welfare state. We hope to observe in which areas non-market coordination changed during the post-war period. Did the ‘polder model’ withstand the influence of globalisation? How did Dutch coordination evolve? Finally, we will outline the possibilities of a ‘green polder model’ in which the tradition of the consensus economy is applied to the sustainability problem.

Course objectives

  • Concepts, notions and perceptions of comparative capitalism and economic institutions

  • historiographical knowledge of the state of the debate

  • critical insights into the literature

  • use varied primary sources to build historical case-studies and re-define theoretical approaches

  • understand the developments in the post-1945 economy and the policy responses


See here.

Mode of instruction

Research seminar.

Assessment method

  • Presentation during the course and participation in discussion (30%)

  • Term paper of about 7500 words (70%)



Reading list

  • Peter A. Hall and David Soskice, ‘Introduction to Varieties of Capitalism’ (2001) 1-68 (freely available on the internet)

  • The rest of the literature will be provided during the semester


via uSis.

Contact information

dr. L.J. Touwen.


If only native speakers of Dutch participate, the course can be taught in Dutch.

This course replaces the course ‘Technology and creativity. The role of innovation in economic growth’ because dr. V. Lagendijk moved to another university.