Wichert ten Have, born in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in 1944. Ph.D. from the University of Amsterdam. Associate Professor at the Department of Contemporary and Theoretical History and Director of the Teaching Institute of History, Archaeology and Regional Studies at the University of Amsterdam.
VNC Fellow (1 September 2001 – 30 June 2002)
In my research on “Non-fascist criticism of the liberal and democratic order: the Low Countries before and during the Second World War” I chose a comparative approach. During my stay at NIAS my work focussed on Belgium and the Netherlands in the 1930s. I analysed the discussion of democracy in socialist, catholic and liberal circles in both countries. The interpretation of this discourse of criticism, however, only makes sense if it is put in a historical context. The comparative approach has been very useful. In the thirties both countries were confronted with a threat to democracy and in both countries the existing order prevailed. The discourse of criticism had features in common with other European countries. The fact that Belgium had been involved in the First World War and knew a virulent Flemish nationalist movement might help explain the differences in the discussion of democracy in Belgium and the Netherlands. In both countries social movements were organised in networks that involved a larger part of the population. The study of common and different aspects in both countries resulted in a comparative analysis of the changing meaning of the concept of democracy itself.