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The Netherlands and European Integration, 1950-1986

Assembled by Marc Dierikx, with cooperation of Loes van Suylekom and Mari Smits

These digital sources comprise a selection of key documents from archive collections. Together, they provide insight into the policy intentions and the evolution of Dutch policy towards European integration. The web publication also provides building blocks for further research.

In terms of the period of time covered, the cut off points of this project lie in 1950 (the Schuman plan for the ECSC) on the one hand, and in 1986 (the accession of Spain and Portugal to the EC; the signing of the Single European Act), on the other. See also the intro to these source materials.

Accessibility of the sources

The sources are accessible in steps. In the first instance, users are led to brief summaries of the documents. These offer the possibility of clicking through to files containing the complete documents from the archives. The documents are shown in PDF, and are insofar as technology allows (particularly in the case of older documents), made searchable at word level via OCR processing. The option ‘advanced search’ offers the possibility to limit search results to themes, keywords, persons, geographical terms and ranges of dates.

The core of this selective source publication is made up of archival material of the Netherlands government. ‘Selective’ means here documents that were of significance in the process of policy formulation and touched upon the political level, i.e. were drafted by a minister or state secretary, or required action on their part.

Although for the most part coordinated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, various other ministries were directly and indirectly involved in European policy. Moreover, the policy implemented by The Hague was the result of interaction with the policies of other EC Member States. It was influenced by consultation structures and institutions at the European level. With regard to a few selected themes, you will find foreign documents included as a supplement to material from archives in the Netherlands. Such documents are the results of pilot studies in preparation of a wider comparative project at the European level.