The Netherlands and Germany

Prof. Hein A.M. Klemann


It is the objective of the research project ‘The Netherlands and Germany 1870-2000. Economic interdependence versus sovereignty’, to analyse how, when around 1870 a number of countries unified into the German nation-state, the Netherlands could participate economically in this integration process and nonetheless managed to preserve its sovereignty.

Central question and theory

The central question of the project is, how between 1870 and 2000 the economic relations between these two countries evolved and what consequences this had for their political relations. The guiding theory is the question – known from social science interdependence theories – whether economic interdependence results in peaceful political relations, or, to the contrary, leads to attempts to push the weaker partner into a position of dependency or even annex it. Because in the last 140 years, the bilateral relations were reshuffled on at least three occasions – around 1870, and at the end of both world wars – separate subprojects will focus on these historical junctures.

Project elements

The research programme consists of three subprojects and a synthesis, written by prof. Hein A.M. Klemann. The title of the latter is the same as that of the project as a whole: 'The Netherlands and Germany 1870-2000: economic interdependence versus sovereignty'.

The titles of the three sub-projects are:

  • German economic and political unification and the Netherlands: the origin of economic interdependence and its political consequences around 1870 (prof. Hein A.M. Klemann).
  • Dutch-German relations after the Great War: interwoven economies and political détente, 1918-1933 (Jeroen Euwe, PhD student).
  • Dutch-German relations after the occupation: economic inevitability and political acceptance, 1945-1957 (Martijn Lak, PhD student).