In order to understand how Christian Democracy in the Netherlands came into existence, this Canon takes the mid-nineteenth century as a starting point. An important date is the publication in 1847 of the book Ongeloof en Revolutie (Unbelief and Revolution) by Guillaume Groen van Prinsterer in which he let his religious beliefs permeate politics. To many, the legacy of Christian Democracy in the Netherlands can be traced back to Groen.
In the 39 lemmata that follow this political movement is outlined in more detail. Important milestones include the founding of the CDA (1980) and that of its predecessors ARP (1879), CHU (1908) and KVP (1945). More colour has been added to the Canon by the inclusion of other significant events such as the establishment of the Dutch ‘equipe’ in Europe, and cabinets with a confessional character and confessional members. Attention is also devoted to policy issues such as ethical colonial politics, development cooperation and the new health care system in which Christian Democracy played a significant role.
The Canon also pauses to look at reports that were a determining factor for Christian Democracy, such as Grondslag en karakter (1966) (Fundamentals and Character) and Nieuwe wegen, vaste waarden (1995) (New roads, firm values). The Canon concludes with the formation conference of October 2010.
The Canon was edited by Raymond Gradus (Director of the Research Institute of the CDA), George Harinck (Professor of History at the VU University Amsterdam), Alexander van Kessel (researcher at the Centre for Parliamentary History) and myself, among others. A reading committee, consisting of Carla van Baalen (Professor of Parliamentary History at Radboud University Nijmegen), Arie Oostlander (former director of the Research Institute of the CDA) and Gerrit Voerman (Professor in Development and Functioning of the Dutch and European political party systems at Groningen University), read through the draft and provided expert commentary on its content.
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