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Documents concerning the foreign policy of the Netherlands 1848-1945

Edited by: C. Smit, J. Woltring, C.B. Wels, A.F. Manning, A.E. Kersten, W.J.M. Klaassen, B.G.J. de Graaff, M. van Faassen and R.J.J. Stevens.

The international relations of the Netherlands as a constitutional monarchy, with rich colonial possessions, were given shape in the period from 1848 to 1945 and this period also marks the beginning and end of a cohesive policy of non-partisanship, neutrality and free trade.

Two sequential publications of source materials that cover the periods 1848-1919 and 1919-1945 are dedicated to the foreign relations of the Netherlands in this period. The publications comprise a selection of documents that together provide a reconstruction of Dutch foreign policy along main lines.

With the publication of these source materials, in terms of theme, the predecessor of the Institute of Netherlands History, the Rijkscommissie voor Vaderlandse Geschiedenis [National Committee for the History of The Netherlands] was following the example of the German, English and French publications of source materials on foreign policy.

In addition to substantive information about important topics like the international crisis of 1848, the actions of the Netherland as colonial power in Asia, negotiations about the administration of the Rhine, Schelde and Meuse, the Dutch contribution to the policy of the League of Nations, trade policies and the position of the Netherlands in WWI and WWII, these documents also contain a wealth of information about the officials involved and their working methods. This makes both series ideally suited for use in research as well as for teaching purposes by those interested in the foreign policy of the Netherlands.

Each series is divided into three sub-periods. The oldest series is based on the archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. For the period 1899-1919, research was also conducted abroad and British, German, American, French and Belgian documents are included.

The second series has a broader archival basis. Although the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is the main source for the periods 1919-1930 and 1940-1945, extensive use was made of the archives of other government institutions, the private collections of the officials involved and foreign archives. The period 1931-1940 is virtually completely based on collections other than that of Foreign Affairs, because this ministry destroyed its archives at the outbreak of WWII.

The documents involved are:

Documents regarding the foreign policy of the Netherlands from 1848 to 1919.

For the first period, only the volume about 1848 has been published, the other two parts of the series are complete with 6 and 8 volumes respectively.

Documents regarding the foreign policy of the Netherlands from 1919 to 1945.

Six sections of period A (1919-1926) and 4 sections of period B (1930-1935) have been published.

All volumes are available digitally.

For a summary of the documents in English refer to the PDF files of the List of Documents 1919-1945.