Scoring Well. The Sexual Emancipation of the Netherlands and Flanders after the Second World War
(Wim Trommelmans) The Low Countries - 2008, № 16, pp. 15-23
The reader will certainly be familiar with the stereotype image of the Netherlands and sex. Sometime in the sixties of the last century a veritable sex explosion has supposedly occurred and led to a licentious society: pornography everywhere, free love, abortions galore, erotic programmes on TV, gays coming out of the closet, etc. Amsterdam's red light district on the Wallen even became a tourist attraction... The contrast with Flanders could hardly be greater: there sexual order and control reigned, there the church and the authorities kept the baser passions firmly in check.This simplification of the facts could not be further from the truth. The Dutch and the Flemings have indeed achieved sexual emancipation, but it was a long process with roots going back to the nineteenth century. It is true, though, that sexual liberation accelerated in the 1960s due to the arrival of the Pill and also to the unfortunate attitude of the Roman Catholic Church. A portrait of a struggle for freedom and the need to be watchful still.
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