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Shifting Sands under the ‘Polder Model'. The Trial of Strength between Government and Trade Unions
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Shifting Sands under the ‘Polder Model'. The Trial of Strength between Government and Trade Unions

(Willem Breedveld) The Low Countries - 2005, № 13, pp. 149-155

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Barely three years ago the Netherlands was still being overrun by foreign delegations eager to learn everything they could about the ‘miracle Hollandaise', the economic and industrial relations system based on consensus and referred to as the ‘polder model'. In 2004, however, this quintessentially Dutch model came under heavy fire from within. The sands under the polder model began to shift, and the trade unions were getting restless. Government and trade unions embarked on a power struggle, a trial of strength, resulting in the Museumplein Accord, after the Amsterdam square where more than two hundred thousand people had demonstrated against the government's plans. So it's back to the polder model, then, or more accurately the Rhineland model, since things are done in much the same way in Germany and Belgium. Those members of the government who wanted to move towards a more Anglo-Saxon method of government based on the free market have lost the battle.

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