Was there a “Great Labour Unrest” in the Netherlands?


1 January 2014


Volume 1 – Number 4

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Sjaak van der Velden



2011 witnessed the beginning of the commemoration of the Great Labour Unrest that shook the United Kingdom one hundred years ago. The Unrest was a big event in British history and British historiography. It is common knowledge among labour historians that before, during and after World War I the struggle between labour and capital was intense in many countries. The British Unrest was part of that era but what about the Netherlands? Across the North Sea strike activity also rose in 1911-1914. But as a result of Dutch peculiarities it was much higher during the first years of the century. In line with international developments strike activity in the Netherlands rose to unprecendented heights immediately after the war. After describing the Dutch strike movement of 1900-1920 I conclude that there was no Great Labour Unrest in the Netherlands during the years coined such in the United Kingdom.


Netherlands, “Great Labour Unrest”, Strikes and war