The polder model. Political culture in water boards (c.1200-c.1800)

This project examines to which extent the theory that the origins of the Dutch polder model lie in the practicalities of water management in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Period actually holds true. Did the need for intensive collaboration to prevent flooding in this low-lying, water-rich country foster a culture of consensus, compromises and consultation? This study is positioned within a far broader debate about the function of corporative institutions in the creation of an affluent society. The Dutch water boards are used as a micro laboratory to determine whether closer involvement on the part of the various stakeholders has indeed favourably affected Dutch water management. To this end, the researchers draw comparisons with water management in other areas in the North Sea region (Flanders, Germany and England).

This project is a partnership between Huygens ING, Utrecht University and VU University Amsterdam.