Op zoek naar het poldermodel in de waterstaatsgeschiedenis | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 122, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 0040-7518
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1163


The so-called poldermodel, a model which is based on compromise and coalition between social groups, has often been portrayed as characteristic of Dutch political culture. Many consider it as a result of the need to cooperate in order to master the wet soils. It is commonly held that this could be achieved only by the direct participation of all parties in dialogue and compromise. This article explores what we actually know about water management in the Low Countries in the pre-industrial period. It turns out that the rural population in fact intensively participated in water management, but not at all times nor in all regions or under all circumstances. The polders in the central part of the province of Holland, nowadays the Randstad and its ‘green heart’ (Groene Hart), seem to have been the best breeding grounds for management structures resembling the poldermodel. The article also includes suggested directions for future research.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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