The social insurance system and healthcare are very well
developed. Public social insurance covers national pension,
widow's and children's pension, disability pension, sickness
and unemployment insurance, child allowance, occupational
injury insurance, etc. National pension is paid to persons
over the age of 65. Early retirement and unemployment
insurance are handled by bodies behind the social partners.
The compulsory health insurance system includes workers who
have an income below a level determined for each year as
well as older people who were insured before their
retirement. The insurance is financed through contributions
from employees and employers and gives the right to medical
and dental care, hospital care etc.
Since the beginning of the 1990s, the Netherlands has
reformed the social security system to reduce the state's
costs. Visit AbbreviationFinder to see the definitions of NED and acronym for Netherlands. In 1994 the rules for the sickness pension were
changed, and the statutory health insurance was abolished at
the turn of the year 1995/96 and replaced by a loan system.
The Netherlands was the first country in the world to
legislate on euthanasia in 1994.
Up to the 1960s, occupational activity among women was
relatively low, as most women stopped working when they got
married. Since the 1970s, the proportion of working women
has increased significantly and in 1996 amounted to about
40%. About one-third of the professionals work part-time,
the majority of women.
Dutch prosperity came not only from trade on the
continent, but also from its colonies. In 1602, the Dutch
East India Company was established with branches in Sri
Lanka, India and Indonesia, where it operated with complete
powers - in the same way similar companies in England and
France did. The company initially had the indispensable
basis for conducting trade, but the desire for control over
regions and specific goods led to the occupation of land.
The colony administration was largely autonomous, and the
Dutch preferred to govern through agreements with the local
In 1621 the Dutch West India Company was established. Its
most important income came from the trade in slaves and the
piracy that took place offshore Zeeland, and was mainly
aimed at the Spanish ships. During the 17th century, the
Netherlands hegemonized the trade of slaves. In 1648, the
Netherlands had 3 primary starting points for its activities
in America: one was in North America off to the Atlantic and
engaged in the trade in fur. The other was in the Caribbean
and was responsible for the slave transport and smuggling
trade with the Spanish colonies. The third was in part of
Brazil and Suriname - the former Dutch Guiana. In the year
1700 there were only the trading stations in Curaçao, St.
Eustatius and St. Maarten back as well as the plantations in
Guyana and Elmina as a slave port.
The Dutch naval power was weakened in the 18th century -
especially after the war with England (1780-1784). The
country used parts of its capital to buy other countries'
government debt securities. The banks in Amsterdam were
therefore among the most powerful in Europe. In the 1750's,
the Patriot movement emerged, which was a mix of very
different groups from big bankers to simple craftsmen,
rebellious Protestants and Catholics. They had in common
that they were dissatisfied with the conditions of the
monarchy. The Patriots had to go into exile during the
Prussian invasion of 1786. Their expectations were
resurrected with the French Revolution, but it was not until
1794 that France was able to contain England and Prussia,
proclaim the Republic of Batavia and initiate a political
The new republic declared that citizens should have equal
rights and changed the institutions. The Assembly of
Superior States was replaced by a directly elected National
Assembly, and the executive, legislative and judicial powers
were separated. In 1806, the country was incorporated into
the French Empire under the name of the Kingdom of the
Netherlands. Five years later, Napoleon incorporated the
Netherlands into the French Empire. This situation continued
until the empire collapsed. In 1814, the monarchy was
reinstated in the Netherlands. At the Vienna Congress, the
victors of the Napoleonic Wars handed over the supremacy of
all the Netherlands to the new king. But the contradictions
between the agricultural country of the Netherlands and
early industrialized Belgium were too great: in 1830 the
Belgian citizenship revolted, broke out and formed their own
state - Belgium.