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EUROGOV No. C-07-01
Ank Michels

Theories and core principles of Dutch democracy

Published: February 20, 2007


Democracies in Europe differ in what they see as being at the core of the democratic system. In some countries, citizen participation constitutes the fundamental tenet of democracy; in others, democracy is closely linked to pluralism and the protection of minorities. This paper tries to identify certain core principles of the Dutch democratic system that are reflected in the institutions and political culture that have to come to define the democratic system and are derived from the intellectual context in which the system emerged. It does so by asking two questions.
The first is: what are the core principles of Dutch democracy that are reflected in the democratic system? Five core principles are distinguished, each of which has been institutionalised in various ways.
The second question is: which ideas on democracy of key political thinkers of the 19th and early 20th century are relevant to understanding the core principles of Dutch democracy? This paper explores the normative theories on democracy of a number of political thinkers in the Netherlands. Traces of different theories appear to be present in the core principles of the Dutch democratic system.

Keywords: democracy, ideas, political science

Ank Michels – Utrecht University

© 2007 Ank Michels

Citing this EUROGOV paper:
Michels, Ank. 2007. Theories and core principles of Dutch democracy. European Governance Papers (EUROGOV) No. C-07-01,

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