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Anthropology in the Netherlands

Studying Social and Cultural Diversity in the South and the North

Han F. Vermeulen

Dutch anthropology is a rich field of studies of culture and society in Europe and beyond, with hundreds of participants, today and for the past two centuries.1 It is the result of a complex interaction between scholarly interests in distant peoples, several centuries of colonialism and international trade, and political decisions on the structuring of higher education and research in the Netherlands and its former colonies.2 To a large extent, this historical background has shaped the way research is organised and funded nowadays.

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Conjuring Futures

Culture and Decolonization in the Dutch Caribbean, 1948–1975

Chelsea Schields

This article explores the history of the Foundation for Cultural Cooperation between the Netherlands, Suriname, and the Netherlands Antilles (Sticusa), asking how cultural institutions partook in the process of decolonization. Analyzing the perspectives of Sticusa collaborators and critics in the Caribbean, I argue that cultural actors saw decolonization as an opportunity to reorient cultures toward an emergent world order. In this process, they envisioned a range of horizons, from closer integration with Europe to enhanced affinity with the broader Americas. By the 1970s, however, these horizons narrowed to the attainment of national sovereignty, and Sticusa’s cultural experiment ended as a result.

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Rolf-Ulrich Kunze

God created the Earth, but the Dutch created the Netherlands, albeit with only a limited role for the railway. Any railway museum in this country invented by and dependent on hydraulic engineering must creatively solve the problem of portraying a technology of mobility which was not central to the Waterstaat (hydro-engineering) identity and the nation’s sociotechnological construction, but one which initially was secondary and subsidiary and, above all, delayed. On the face of it, the story to be told here appears to be that of how, in a northwestern part of Europe where thorough industrialization was late to come, railway-based mobility established itself against the omnipresence of shipping and evolved from seaport-catering surface logistics into an integral element of everyday transportation in twentieth-century Netherlands. The Utrecht Spoorwegmuseum (railway museum) impressively shows that this is not even half the truth, behind which might be, at best, the grumbling resentment of an 1890 boatman.

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Rachel Kurian and Chihiro Uchiyama

This article argues that the social quality approach can be usefully applied to studying “models of elderly care“ that enhance the wellbeing of the elderly and empower them to participate in social activities. Examining three cases in Japan and another three cases in e Netherlands, the study identifies actors, institutions and processes that have provided services for the elderly, highlighting the importance of history and culture in influencing the “social“ of the elderly. The article deals with a range of opportunities and possibilities for optimizing care for the elderly, both as individuals and as a group, through promoting their social inclusion, social cohesion, socio-economic security and social empowerment. Grounded in community networks, as well as in social and intergenerational interaction, these “models“ demonstrate how care-givers, including nurses and family members, are also empowered in these processes. These discussions, reflecting empirical reality and conceptual insights, provide the basis of sustainable welfare policies that improve the social quality of the elderly.

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Learning from a Contested Project in the Netherlands

The Clash over the Amelisweerd Forest, 1957–1982

Odette van de Riet and Bert Toussaint

The Amelisweerd case, a highly debated highway network expansion project from the late 1970s, has been widely portrayed as a symbolic mismatch between government and entrenched stakeholder opposition. The aim of this article is to learn from the case by unraveling the policy process using a multiactor policy analysis model. The result is that the policy process scores poorly on all the three applied criteria, and this has had a discernible negative effect on the level of stakeholder support for the policy proposals. Since then, major changes have taken place in the planning processes of infrastructural projects in the Netherlands. However, the potential for learning from Amelisweerd is much wider, as since the 1960s public projects are increasingly subject to public scrutiny and comment. Careful analysis from iconic cases like Amelisweerd can help current infrastructural policymakers and planning project managers as they develop fresh policies and projects.

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William T. van Markham and C.S.A. (Kris) Koppen

This article investigates the messages about climate change that ten nature protection organizations in Germany, the Netherlands, and the United States communicate to their members and the public through their Internet sites, member magazines, and annual reports. Based on analysis of this content, we conclude that all the organizations address climate change, but to varying extents and in differing ways. All of the organizations note that climate change is a major problem, has a significant impact on nature, and should be addressed mainly via mitigation. With the partial exception of the Dutch groups, all also inform their members about domestic climate change politics. Other themes, including international dimensions of climate change, adaptation to climate change, consumer behavior, collaboration with and criticism of business, and efforts to pressure business or government received less emphasis overall. How much emphasis the organizations gave these themes was conditioned by their traditions, constituencies, national context, and international affiliations.

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Barak Kalir

Each year the Dutch authorities categorize scores of people as being “out of procedure” (uitgeprocedeerd). These are mostly “failed asylum seekers” who have exhausted all legal appeals in search of regularizing their status in the Netherlands. Out-of-procedure subjects, or OOPSs, have no formal rights and receive no state provision. They must leave the country voluntarily within one month or risk deportation. Many OOPSs who spent weeks or even months in Dutch detention centers are eventually released onto the streets, as the authorities cannot manage to deport them. This article interrogates the production and treatment of OOPSs as nonexistent human beings who are no longer considered by the state as “aliens” but merely as illegalized bodies. This intriguing case of the state deserting certain people within its sovereign territory is realized through a process of derecording OOPSs and formally pretending that they are not part of the governed population.

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Ton Korver

This report seeks to answer several basic questions concerning the employment situation in the Netherlands. The focus is on flexicurity, in other words the combination of secure and flexible employment from a lifetime perspective. Ultimately, secure employment comes down to employability, to a worker’s employability throughout her career, whether she works for one employer or for more than one.A single career may span many employers and many functions and jobs, according to the preferences of workers and companies. Flexibility seeks to adapt employment to the needs of the employing organisation, and thus to provide three key elements: employability for the employee; adaptive employment for the company or organisation; a system of social security enabling the employee to make the required transitions. Employability requires training and development, work of a quality to improve the skills of the employee, and a balanced combination of work, care and leisure, enabling the employee to maintain continuous participation in both work and other areas of life. From this perspective social security should not merely make work pay, it should also make transitions pay, whether these are from one job to another, one employer to another, one level of skill to another or from one combination of work and care to another.

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The Boy Is Not a Well-Behaved Henry

Images and Goals of Education in Dutch Educational Literature about Boys (1882-2005)

Angela J.M. Crott and Fabian Schurgers

Representations of the boy in Dutch educational literature shift considerably during the twentieth century while educational goals remain importantly unchanged. Optimism in education seen before the Second World War diminishes after the war as a result of social changes. While representations of boys take on increasingly negative tones, boys themselves may be changing little. This is suggested by the goals of education that remain constant during the entire century, goals which aim to free the boy as much as possible from troublesome behavior as mischief. Pedagogical aims to have boys adopt desired behavior, like courteousness, change during the 1970s and stress those of care and emotional strength. However, boys’ adoption of caring behaviors progresses so slowly the boy, often embraced as the hope of the fatherland in the first half of the twentieth century, is increasingly seen as a problem at the end of it.

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Vegetables and Social Relations in Norway and the Netherlands

A Comparative Analysis of Urban Allotment Gardeners

Esther J. Veen and Sebastian Eiter

This article aims to explore differences in motivation for and actual use of allotment gardens. Results from questionnaire surveys and semistructured interviews in two Norwegian and one Dutch garden show that growing vegetables and consuming the harvest is a fundamental part of gardening. The same is true for the social element—meeting and talking to other gardeners, and feeling as part of a community. Although gardeners with different socioeconomic backgrounds experience gardening to some extent similarly, access to an allotment seems more important for gardeners with disadvantaged personal backgrounds: both their diets and their social networks rely more on, and benefit more from, their allotments. This underlines the importance of providing easy access to gardening opportunities for all urban residents, and disadvantaged groups in particular. Public officers and policy makers should consider this when deciding upon new gardening sites or public investments in urban food gardens.