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Week 2: Eighteenth-century movements for democracy… Revolutions for whom?

The movement for more democracy in the Netherlands was sparked by the regime of king William II. Because of his abuse of power and his bad governing of the country, the upper classes of the Netherlands thought it was better if the monarchy was replaced by a constitutional monarchy. The leader of this movement was the parliamenterian Johan Rudolf Thorbecke. He already asked king William I to make a constitution, but he succeeded when more people joined his movement because king William II was such a bad monarch. In the constitution, the right to vote was reserved for the upper class.


Week 3: Abolition… The first global social movement?

The Netherlands were among the last countries in Europe to abolish slavery. Slavery in the West Indies was abolished in 1863. For comparison: English and French colonies, which were situated right next to the Dutch colonies in the West Indies, introduced abolition in 1834 and 1848. Because of the fact that slavery didn't exist in nearby countries, slaves often rebelled in the first half of the 19th century.


Week 4: 1848: Workers, Slaves, Women Unite!

The First Wave Feminist movement in The Netherlands was, as in other countries, mainly occupied with granting women the right to vote. The struggle for women's voting rights was led by Aletta Jacobs, who wrote a letter to the major of Amsterdam asking why she was not allowed to vote as she way a normal tax paying citizen. She was in later years followed by the so-called Suffragettes. Eventually, the right for women to stand for election was granted in 1917, followed by the right for women to actually vote in 1919. This was a compromise between the dominant parties in cabinet at the time: the socialists and liberalists got female suffrage, the protestants and catholics got government subsidized schools.


Week 5: Working Class Heroes?

Labour laws really came into existence in the later part of the 19th century. A politician by the name of Samuel van Houten introduced several laws that gave more rights to labourers. Especially his law against child labour is still well known. Later laws in 1899 introduced a maximum amount of time a day that a person could work. Other laws followed to ensure that workers were compensated if they were injured at work in 1901. In 1913, laws were introduced to ensure that sick workers would still be paid.


Week 6: Satyagraha, Revolution and the Indian Independence Movement(s)

The Indian independence movement didn't gain a lot of attention in the Netherlands. It wasn't until the 1950's that the connections between India and the Netherlands improved. This was because of the migration from Indian people to the Netherlands to start working in the industry. Prior to the independence of India, this wasn't likely because of the language barrier between the two countries. As more labourers were needed in the Netherlands after the second world war, Indian people were welcomed in the Netherlands and they got help to learn the language.


Week 7: Freedom Struggles in South Africa

Because the Dutch once started colonizing South Africa, there has always been a connection between the two countries. Especially the Apartheid regime provoked strong actions by the Dutch population in the Netherlands. They wanted a trade embargo with South Africa from the beginning of the 1970's until the end of the Apartheid regime. A lot of organisations were founded in the 1970's, like the Kommittee Zuidelijk Afrika ( Holland committee on Southern Africa). They organised the resistence against the Apartheid regime.


Week 8: The Civil Rights Movement

There has not been a prevalent movement for Civil Rights in The Netherlands: although it is in no way the case that racism is not at all present in the country, civil rights and liberties for minority groups have been embedded in the constitution from the beginning. However, in 1964, Martin Luther King did visit The Netherlands in order to speek at a Congress of the European Baptist Federation, thereby illustrating that there was definitely concern and attention for civil rights around the world in The Netherlands. King talked about the struggle for civil rights and about senator Barry Goldwater, but mainly focussed on how all Christians around the world had to help each other.


Week 9: Sexual Revolutions

The Second wave of Feminism in the Netherlands was characterized by the publishing of “The Discontent of Women” by Joke Smit, addressing the cultural and structural inequalities between men and women in Dutch society, in 1967. This led to the creation of the feminist group “Man-Vrouw Maatschappij,” also the Man-Woman Society, consisting of middle- or upper class well educated people, but differencing itself from other associations in the Western world because it included men as well. As a reaction, the more radical Dolle Mina’s (“Mad Mina’s”) were the second feminist group prominent in the Netherlands in the 1960s.


Week 10: Red Power(s)

The Netherlands does not know an indigenous population: the example coming closest to an indigenous independence movement in The Netherlands at this time would be the independence of the Dutch East Indies colony, currently known as Indonesia. After the Second World War, the Dutch tried to reclaim their former empire from the Japanese, but the Indonesian nationalist movement led by Sukarno claimed independence. Military interventions called Politionele Acties ("Police Actions") were launched against the Indonesians, but the nationalist movement held firm and the Dutch were yielded back by the United States and finally recognized Indonesian independence in 1949.


Week 11: Modern Environmentalisms: Silent Spring, Tree Huggers, and Climate Change

Environmental discussions in the Dutch government have been dominated by the right-wing cabinet for the previous years, which mostly wields a effect-oriented environmental policy which pays little attention to the sources of pollution. However, people have been more and more occupied with the New Nature movement, giving thousands of hectares "back to nature" in order to compensate for loss of "old nature" in the country, heavily promoted by the Dutch strand of WWF. This movement can be seen to be tremendously influenced by the so-called "Wilderness Ideal" prominent in environmentalist thinking.


Week 12: Democracy Redux: Tiannamen Square and the Berlin Wall to the Arab Spring and the Umbrella Movement

The fall of the Berlin wall was one of the key events in the Netherlands in the 20th century. Although it was first sceptically viewed by the government, they soon realised that this granted a lot of opportunities for the Dutch economy. Time has proven that the sceptimism wasn't necessary, as the German economy is now the main reason of the growth of the Dutch economy.