Ferm, doch onopvallend | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 132, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 0040-7518
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1163



This article reconsiders the role of the Netherlands in the Conference on Security and Co-operation (CSCE) in Europe in times of both détente (1973-1979) and crisis (1980-1983). This conference was meant to channel the Cold War in a more peaceful direction, but soon turned into a clash between Western and Eastern European values. Contrary to conventional wisdom, this article argues that the Dutch were not primarily concerned with advancing human rights, but rather with maintaining Western European unity and mediating between the members of the European Community and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Moreover, the Dutch priority shifted from European Political Co-operation during détente to a greater emphasis on NATO and co-operation with the Americans in times of crisis. Pragmatic rather than idealistic, the Dutch contribution to peace in Cold War Europe consisted more in its willingness to compromise than in its principled defence of human rights.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): Cold War; détente; European Political Cooperation; European security; human rights
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