The Welfare State in the Netherlands and Belgium. A Story of Identical Challenges, Different Structures, Identical Instruments... and Jealousy
(Guy Tegenbos) The Low Countries - 2007, № 15, pp. 67-77
The website www.belgendoenhetbeter.nl, which was launched in 2005, ushered in a new era in Belgo-Dutch relations: the era of mutual constructive jealousy. Right from the start the website sought to convince the Dutch that the ‘Holy Grail' of social and socio-economic policy can come not only from the North (the Scandinavian countries) or the West (Great Britain), but also from the South, from Belgium. Until then, many Dutch people thought they had little to learn from the Belgians in that department. In the 1990s, the Netherlands was the guiding light in Europe. And the country enjoyed its role – that is, until the engine of the Polder Model began to stutter. The lower economic growth created scope for new relationships with its southern neighbour: a relationship of mutual constructive jealousy.
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