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 rulers.
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 modernization.
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.