‘Gelovige ambachtslieden, bezig met een nuchter handwerk’ | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 130, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 0040-7518
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1163



This article takes issue with the dominant ‘realist’ and ‘neo-realist’ views in Dutch historiography, in which a major role is attributed to national interests in the process of integration and which devalues the role of ideas and ideals. The enthusiasm in the Netherlands for the European cause in the 1950s is indicated by a consultative referendum held on 17 December 1952 in Delft and Bolsward, two towns with populations politically and religiously representative of the Netherlands as a whole. The vast majority voted in favour of the idea of a European government, overseen by a democratically elected European Parliament. This article introduces the generation theory into the field of European integration history. It asks whether the enthusiasm for European integration in the 1950s can be attributed especially to the formative experiences of the pre-war generation (1910-29) with the economic crisis of the 1930s and the horrors of totalitarianism during the Second World War.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): Dutch history; European integration; generation theory; historiography
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