Demonstratie van het landelijk WAO Comité op het Binnenhof, 1982
Demonstratie van het landelijk WAO Comité op het Binnenhof, 1982

Parliamentary History Series: Politics during the Lubbers cabinets (1982-1994)

"No nonsense" and the disappearance of old contradictions in the long eighties

Photo: Demonstration of the national WAO Committee, in the Binnenhof, against the cuts in benefits. Photographer Rob C. Croes, Nationaal Archief / Anefo

This research project focuses on Dutch politics in the 1980s and early 1990s, specifically the period when the cabinets led by Prime Minister Ruud Lubbers (1982-1994) left their mark on Dutch politics. This period has been characterised as the time of ‘no nonsense’, new pragmatism and the disappearance of old ideological divisions. At the same time, historians have only relatively recently begun to analyse this political era in more detail. To what extent is there continuity? What are the turning points? How can the period be characterised? In this project, researchers of the Netherlands Centre for Parliamentary History analyse the relevant political actors and their interrelationships. They will analyse parliamentary culture, the main political actors, the political struggles and the development of the main policy areas on which government and parliament focused at the time. The study will also analyse the impact of several international developments on national politics. Such as the revival of the European integration project (Single European Act 1985; Maastricht Treaty 1991), the nuclear arms race and the end of the Cold War with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the dismantling of the Iron Curtain between 1989 and 1991.

Other themes covered include migration and integration policy, moral-ethical dilemmas (debates about euthanasia among others) and judicial changes, as well as the rediscovery of the instrument of parliamentary inquiry by the Dutch Lower House from the time of the investigation into the bankruptcy of shipbuilding company Rijn-schelde-Verolme in 1983.

The results of this research will be published as volume 11 in the series Parliamentary History of the Netherlands after 1945.