Rudy Andeweg, Galen Irwin, and Tom Louwerse

Mar 15, 2021

Governance and Politics of the Netherlands

Red Globe Press 2020

Ranked sixth globally in the BAV Group’s 2020 “Best Countries” index and 11th in output per head, the Netherlands is renowned worldwide as a wealthy, stable, tolerant, and democratic success story.

Yet, as American political scientist Robert Dahl told Dutch colleagues after the Netherlands’ complex social and political structure was explained to him: “Theoretically your country cannot exist”.

As 13 million Dutch voters prepare to choose a new coalition government on March 17, Tom Louwerse discusses the new and essential fifth edition of Governance and Politics of the Netherlands (Red Globe Press, 2020) co-written with Rudy Andeweg and Galen Irwin.

He explains the modern history that prompted Dahl’s remark, the post-1960s “amazing transformation” of the Netherlands from “religious and boring” to “progressive and permissive” nation, and the onset of a domestic culture war over the last two decades.

Tom Louwerse is Associate Professor of Political Science at Leiden University, and formerly an Assistant Professor at Trinity College Dublin.

*The author's own book recommendation is Patterns of Democracy: Government Forms and Performance in Thirty-Six Countries by Arend Lijphart (Yale University Press, 1999)

Tim Gwynn Jones is an economic and political-risk analyst at Medley Global Advisors.

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