1. Project information In search of the poldermodel. Participation and representation in Dutch water-boards in the pre-democratic era

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1 1. Project information In search of the poldermodel. Participation and representation in Dutch water-boards in the pre-democratic era Summary Water management in the pre-democratic Netherlands was characterised by an intensive participation of the rural population. This bottom up structure of water management has often been portrayed as an important explanation for the success of both water management as such, and of Dutch society more generally, but in fact very little is known about it. This project aims to establish (1) to what extent stakeholders (like peasants, large landowners and leaseholders) actually participated in water management, (2) if, how and why this participation changed over time, and (3) if the Netherlands were unique in this. The project s methodology is deliberately comparative. The project is intellectually framed by the debate on the role of civic institutions in the prosperity and progress of societies. 2. Main applicant Prof. dr. M.R. Prak 3. Co-applicants Prof. dr. P.J.E.M. van Dam Dr. P. Sigmond 4. Previous and future submissions In 2007, the proposal has been submitted to the Vrije Competitie Geesteswetenschappen (dossier VPR-07-21) and was qualified as kansrijk. Because of new commitments at that time of one of the key researchers, dr. Van Tielhof, the proposal was then withdrawn. 5. Institutional setting/ host institution Utrecht University, OGC (Onderzoekinstituut voor Geschiedenis en Cultuur) Instituut voor Nederlandse Geschiedenis 6. Period of funding Proposed starting date: April 2011 Total period of funding: April 2011 September 2016 Sub project 1: April April 2015 (PhD student 1.0 fte) Sub project 2: April April 2014 (Postdoc 1.0 fte) Synthesis: September September 2015 (postdoc 0.4) and September September 2016 (postdoc 1.0) 1 and September September 2016 (replacement main applicant 0.4 and coapplicant 0.1) 7. Composition of the research team name affiliation function in application role in PhD project coauthor synthesis 1 Over the whole period of the project this adds up to 0,52 per annum 1

2 Prof.dr. M.R. Prak Prof.dr. P.J.E.M. van Dam Dr. P. Sigmond Dr. M. van Tielhof Universiteit Utrecht (UU) main applicant supervisor x Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU) Instituut voor Nederlandse Geschiedenis (ING) Instituut voor Nederlandse Geschiedenis and Universiteit Utrecht co-applicant co-applicant proposed postdoc cosupervisor x x 8. Structure of the proposed research title 1 Participation and representation in small-scale water-boards 2 Participation and representation in regional water-boards 3 Dutch water-boards in an international perspective type institution supervisor(s) appointment PhD UU Prak/Van Dam Postdoc ING Sigmond Postdoc Van Tielhof ING/UU Sigmond/Prak 9. Description of the research proposal It is often assumed that the typical Dutch overlegeconomie (consensus economy) that emerged in the 20 th century was rooted in a much older political culture connected to water management. It is argued that the fight against water could only succeed if the inhabitants cooperated closely and took account of each others interests. This resulted in intensive consultations with all those involved. Thus the medieval water-boards were the foundation of the Dutch overlegcultuur (consensus culture) (Lendering 2005, Pleij 2005, Te Velde 2007). A general point that might be raised against this interpretation is that the continuity it assumes had to swim against a tide of massive social change already during the late Middle Ages, when the Holland countryside transformed from a peasant society into a capitalist society (Van Bavel & Van Zanden, 2004; Van Bavel 2009). Specialists on the history of water management also have good reasons to be skeptical about this simplified story. Nevertheless, a rich historiography demonstrates that in the Dutch provinces a significant part of the rural population was directly involved in water management (Van de Ven 2004: 59). Soens and Nobel were the first, and so far only historians, who have explicitly tried to trace the poldermodel in the early history of water management. Soens (2006b en 2009) found fascinating evidence in Flanders of participation, consultations and discussions, and suggested that these phenomena were growing weaker in the Late Middle Ages. Nobel (2007) described changes in the political culture in the polder Cromstrijen in 17 th -century Holland. Crucial changes were accompanied by fierce debates about who was allowed to participate, when and how (see also Van Tielhof 2009). Arrangements in the early water-boards evidently did not directly lead to modern political culture (Van Zanden 2002a). These and other recent publications (Zeischka 2007; Fransen 2009; Van Bemmel 2009) suggest new ways to study this topic. The project uses issues of water management to also address a broader intellectual agenda, by framing its questions in the context of the debate about civic institutions and their 2

3 impact on socio-economic developments (Putnam 1993 and 2000; Kaviraj and Khilnani 2001; North, Wallis, and Weingast 2009). The rich history of the Dutch polder landscape provides a unique laboratory for investigating at micro level the mechanisms of civic participation in the countryside. Focusing on the pre-democratic era, the project will allow us to question the traditional Great Divide in political history between post-1789, and the political Dark Ages that presumably preceded the French Revolution. Central questions Three central questions guide the research. (1) To what extent was water management in the Netherlands in the medieval and early modern period characterized by participation and representation of large numbers of stakeholders? (2) Did participation and representation increase or diminish over the course of time and if so, how and why did this happen and which regional variations can be found? (3) To what extent was the political culture of Dutch water-boards unique? The project will investigate the various forms and aspects of participation and representation. Issues related to participation include: Were people with an interest in the water systems, like farmers, personally involved in water management by performing services in kind such as dike maintenance? What were the consequences when this traditional system of maintenance was replaced by contractor maintenance? Issues related to representation include: Did land owners and leaseholders alike have the opportunity to elect members of the water-board? Was it possible for small landowners and leaseholders to be elected as member of the water-board and which social strata actually dominated water-boards? General questions to be answered by the project include: How often were meetings organized to discuss investments and other changes in the water systems, and were all stakeholders invited to such meetings? Did stakeholders have the right to petition against decisions on water management? Did everybody paying water taxes have the right to inspect the annual accounts? Method The project will be comparative throughout (cf. Ragin 1987, and Mahoney and Rueschemeyer 2003). This implies that we will study a representative set of polders in Holland, Zeeland, and Utrecht - and not just the larger ones in Holland that have been most intensively studied so far. Water-boards will be investigated on two levels of geographical scale, because the available literature suggests that scale is a vital dimension (Ostrom 1990: ). Therefore the PhD student will investigate local, small-scale water-boards, the postdoc the more complex regional water-boards. Next to this detailed test of Dutch institutions, the project leaders will highlight the peculiarities of the Dutch experience compared with water management arrangements developed in other parts of North-Western Europe. Scholarly quality The extent of participation and representation was possibly determined by three different kinds of factors. Firstly, demographic and socio-economic developments: notably the growth of towns, the increasing amount of landed property in the hands of city dwellers, the commercialization of agriculture, and the growing inequality among landowners (Van Bavel and Van Zanden 2004). These changes, taking place in the Late Middle Ages, slowly undermined traditional water management systems relying on intensive direct participation (Van Dam 2000). Secondly, the peculiar trajectory of Dutch state formation: the remarkably decentralized Dutch state allowed the water-boards to operate with great autonomy, but it also forced them to mobilize all those interested and make them cooperate. In periods of more intense centralization (e.g. the Habsburg period) elites and bureaucrats reinforced their 3

4 position vis-à-vis the common people (Van Tielhof and Van Dam 2006). Finally, environmental changes: when large scale, complex water systems were required, effective water management demanded regional coordination. Only elites were able to provide this (TeBrake 2000; Prak 2008). The project will especially focus on the interaction of the geographical and institutional upscaling of water problems with issues of participation and representation. Coherence of the projects The project consists of two sub-projects and a synthesis. The two sub-projects cover identical topics, but in different settings. This is more efficient than to separate the projects thematically, and force the researchers to both look at more or less the same sources. The first sub-project is Participation and representation in small scale water-boards. The second is Participation and representation in regional water-boards. It focuses on representation of stakeholders in larger organizations where personal interaction was few and far between, and investigates how this affected water management. As this project is more complex and has to deliver a series of articles for international journals, it should be executed by a post-doc. The synthesis Dutch water-boards in an international perspective questions the uniqueness of Dutch arrangements in water management. Comparisons will be made with well-studied areas, such as low-lying regions in England, the Flemish coastal plain and northern Germany. Innovative quality This project will (1) produce new and much more detailed data about stakeholder involvement in water management; (2) provide much-needed empirical precision about the historical roots of the Dutch poldermodel; (3) assess the importance of participation and representation for how civic institutions functioned. The political culture of Dutch water-boards has not been studied from this perspective, except in some recent and still tentative explorations by Soens (2006b) and Nobel (2007). Studies on water-boards are usually confined to one single institution, and international comparisons are still very rare. The claim for a distinct Dutch political culture so far lacks empirical foundation (cf. Pollmann 2007; exceptions include Danner et al. 2005; Davids 2006). The approach of this project dovetails with the new history of water management, which looks at systems of water management in environmental, political, economic, and social contexts (Van Dam 1998; Thoen 2001; Thoen and Soens 2003; special issue of Holland vol. 36, 2004). Theoretical framework Scale is an important concept in analysing longterm development in water management institutions, both under normal and exceptional conditions. Research in developing countries shows the importance of integrating small-scale and large-scale organisations. Large-scale designs are technically more effective, whereas social interactions work better at a small scale (Kerr 2007, Swallow et al. 2006). The integration of small-scale and large-scale organisations, labeled as nesting, is an important element of the well researched theories on commons and Common Pool Resources (CPR s; Ostrom 1990). The integration is typical for water management arrangements in the Netherlands, yet the nesting was often not very well formalized (Raadschelders en Toonen 1993, Dolfing 2000, Van Dam 2000, Kaijser 2002, Soens 2006a).What still needs to be investigated is the role played by elitist networks to maintain the good relations. Theories about civil society and its institutions provide the appropriate framework to do this, because they focus on interactions between rulers and citizens, and underline how good government flourishes in environments of active citizen participation (Putnam 1993 and 2000; Prak 2006; North, Wallis and Weingast 2009). 4

5 Research group and earlier work closely related to the project The Social and Economic History Group at Utrecht University, led by professors Maarten Prak and Jan Luiten van Zanden, is widely acknowledged as one of the strongest in its field in Europe. It has in the past decade launched a string of projects on civic institutions and their socio-economic impact. These include an NWO-VNC project on the craft guilds in the Low Countries, and an NWO-middelgroot database project on civic institutions in Europe and Asia. The `middelgroot project will produce a database of 4,000 Dutch water-boards, as well as an extensive bibliography, created by M. van Tielhof. The postdoc of project 2 will be hosted by the Instituut voor Nederlandse Geschiedenis (ING), where Van Tielhof is employed as a programme director. She will set up a new research group there in 2011 connected to this water-boards project. Sources As is underlined by recent publications, appropriate sources exist to help us answer the main questions of this project (Soens 2006b; Nobel 2007; Van Tielhof 2009). The water-boards themselves have rich collections of documents. These include regulations, records of meetings, as well lists of members of the boards. Archives of villages, towns and manors are also relevant, because of their close relationships with the water-boards. The material is, in fact, so abundant, that we will have to make informed selections of water-boards that can be investigated. Relevance for today Problems related to water increase worldwide. River floods, fresh water shortages, water pollution and rising sea levels all cause concern. This in itself makes it relevant to study the history of water management in a country that has been successful in dealing with major water problems for over 500 years. After New Orleans was flooded in 2005 in the wake of the Katrina hurricane, the Dutch were presented as an example to the Americans (Disco 2006: 341), but foreigners are often confronted with bizarre myths (Diamond 2005: ). There is a need for precise and reliable information about the impact of participation and representation on water management systems. The research team is currently setting up a network with American scholars working on the modern history of water management in China and the Americas. The goal of this network is to investigate the long-term history of water management from the perspective of social and environmental sustainability. This project will contribute especially to the social dimension of the network s collaborative efforts. 10. Summary in key words Water management; participation; representation; civic institutions; comparative history 11. Work programme April April 2012 April Project 1. PhD student Project 2. Postdoc Synthesis. Prak, Van Dam and Van Tielhof Study of literature, Study of literature, Study of literature, orientation in archives, orientation in archives, orientation in archives, selection of polders for selection of regions and selection of regions for indepth in-depth study start of archival study study Archival study, writing the first version of two Archival study, writing 2 articles, organization of a Archival study, writing 1 article 5

6 April 2013 April April 2014 April April 2015 April Sept chapters Archival study, writing 1 article, writing the first version of a third chapter Writing the remaining chapters, general revision of the manuscript, PhD ceremony session on a congress Remaining archival study, writing 3 articles Archival study abroad, writing 1 article, organization of international workshop Archival study abroad, 1 article, organization of a congress (utilization of knowledge) Writing the synthesis, making the website for students and school teachers (utilization of knowledge) 12. Word count 1,845 words 13. Planned deliverables Project 1: - PhD dissertation - article in refereed journal Project 2: - 5 articles in refereed journals - organization of a session at an international conference Project 3: - organization of international workshop, and of a session at an international conference - 3 articles in international refereed journals - synthesis monograph in English Refereed journals to which the articles will be submitted: Environment and History International Review of Social History Comparative Studies in Society and History Continuity and change Bijdragen en Mededelingen voor de Geschiedenis der Nederlanden 14. Short CV Main Applicant Maarten Prak (1955) has been chair of Social and Economic History at Utrecht University since 1992, together with Jan Luiten van Zanden. He was elected to the KNAW (Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences) in He was a visiting scholar at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris in 1996 and 2004, at the University of Exeter in 1996 and 2002, at the London School of Economics in 2008, and at the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität, Münster in He is currently Academic director of the Onderzoekinstituut voor Geschiedenis en Cultuur (OGC, Research Institute for History and Culture) of the Faculty of the Humanities at Utrecht University, and a member of the Humanities Board (Gebiedsbestuur Geesteswetenschappen) of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research NWO. 6

7 His main research interests are civic institutions and cultural industries in early modern Europe. Maarten Prak wrote and edited 18 books, and published more than 80 scholarly articles, some of which are listed below. He contributed book reviews to: American Historical Review, Annales: Histoire, Sciences Sociales, Bijdragen en Mededelingen betreffende de Geschiedenis der Nederlanden, English Historical Review, European History Quarterly, Historische Zeitschrift, History of Political Thought, International Review of Social History, It Beaken, Journal of Early Modern History, The London Journal, Simiolus: Netherlands quarterly for the history of art, Tijdschrift voor Geschiedenis, Tijdschrift voor Sociale en Economische Geschiedenis, Tijdschrift voor sociale geschiedenis. He was asked to review manuscripts for (publishers:) Amsterdam University Press, Ashgate, Cambridge University Press; (journals:) Bijdragen en Mededelingen betreffende de Geschiedenis der Nederlanden, Comparative Studies in Society and History, Economic History Review, European Review of Economic History, International Review of Administrative Sciences, International Review of Social History, Stadsgeschiedenis, Tijdschrift voor Sociale en Economische Geschiedenis, Urban History Key publications Maarten Prak: * editor, with S.R. Epstein, Guilds, Innovation and the European Economy, , Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008, 352 pp. * editor, with André Holenstein, and Thomas Maissen, The republican alternative: The Netherlands and Switzerland compared, Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2008, 360 pp. * `Polderland [review article of Milja van Tielhof, Petra van Dam, Waterstaat in stedenland: Het hoogheemraadschap van Rijnland voor 1857, Utrecht 2006], Bijdragen en Mededelingen betreffende de geschiedenis der Nederlanden 123 (2008) * (with J.L. van Zanden), Towards an economic interpretation of citizenship: The Dutch Republic between medieval communes and modern nation-states, European Review of Economic History 10 (2006) * editor with Catharina Lis, Jan Lucasen, Hugo Soly, Craft guilds in the early modern Low Countries: work, power, and representation (Aldershot: Ashgate 2006) 269 pp. * The Dutch Republic in the Seventeenth Century (Cambridge UP 2005) 317 pp. * `The politics of intolerance: citizenship and religion in the Dutch Republic (17th-18th C.)', in: Ronnie Po-chia Hsia, Henk van Nierop (eds), Calvinism and Religious Toleration in the Dutch Golden Age (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), * `Un nouvel ordre politique, in: Hélène Ahrweiler, Maurice Aymard (éds.), Les Européens (Paris: Hermann, 2000), * `Burghers into citizens: Urban and national citizenship in the Netherlands during the revolutionary era', Theory and Society 26 (1997), * Cittadini, abitante e forestieri: una classificazione della popolazione di Amsterdam nella prima eta moderna, Quaderni Storici vol 30 / 89 (1995) Summary for non-specialists De Amerikaanse wetenschapper Jared Diamond schreef een zeer succesvol boek over de vraag waarom culturen te gronde gaan, dan wel overleven. Nederland was volgens hem een voorbeeld van een samenleving die een goede manier had gevonden om met de enorme uitdagingen van het milieu om te gaan. Nederlanders hadden geleerd polarisatie te vermijden en altijd met elkaar on speaking terms te blijven. In een land dat deels onder zeeniveau lag waren de inwoners immers tot elkaar veroordeeld. Ze konden alleen door eendrachtige samenwerking overleven en daarom was onderlinge belangenstrijd tot een minimum teruggebracht. Aldus Diamond in Collapse. How societies choose to fail or survive (New York/London 2005, p ). Ook in eigen land hoort men soms bijna mythische verhalen. 7

8 De typisch Nederlandse overlegeconomie van de tweede helft van de twintigste eeuw zou geworteld zijn in de middeleeuwse waterschappen. De strijd tegen het water noodzaakte de bewoners rekening te houden met elkaar. Daardoor ontstond een cultuur waarin voortdurend overleg werd gepleegd, veel waarde werd gehecht aan inspraak van belanghebbenden, compromissen werden gesloten en het streven naar consensus voorop stond. Kortom: het poldermodel ontstond. Het project wil onderzoeken wat nu precies waar is van de historische wortels van het poldermodel en zal daartoe de bestuurscultuur van de Nederlandse waterschappen in Middeleeuwen en vroegmoderne tijd bestuderen. Het onderzoek wordt geplaatst in het veel grotere debat over de functie van corporatieve instellingen in het creëren van een welvarende samenleving. De Nederlandse waterschappen worden gebruikt als een micro laboratorium om te zien of het waterbeheer inderdaad gunstig beïnvloed werd door grotere betrokkenheid van de belanghebbenden. Die betrokkenheid kan de vorm aannemen van persoonlijke directe of indirecte participatie of van een goed functionerend systeem waarin de belangen van brede groepen belanghebbenden gehoord worden. Wij willen het woord democratisch niet gratuit gebruiken het wordt te vaak misbruikt in verband met de Nederlandse waterschappen - maar het onderzoek draagt wel bij aan de discussie over democratische mechanismen die in verschillende tijden en culturen kunnen worden aangetroffen. Er is te meer reden voor dit onderzoek omdat waterstaatshistorici doorgaans sceptisch zijn over inspraak, compromissen en consensus binnen de waterschappen. Ze kennen heel wat voorbeelden van conflicten en situaties waarin het recht van de sterkste gold. Toch is ook bij hen onomstreden dat in de Nederlandse gewesten vaak een groot deel van de lokale bevolking bij het waterbeheer betrokken was en recente proefschriften geven mooie voorbeelden van poldervergaderingen en herhaalde -vreedzame- discussies over de beste inrichting van het watersysteem. De vraagstelling van dit project is vierledig. (1) In hoeverre werd het waterbeheer in Nederland in de periode in de Middeleeuwen en vroegmoderne tijd gekenmerkt door directe of indirecte participatie van brede groepen belanghebbenden en door vertegenwoordiging van deze groepen? (2) Welke evoluties in de tijd en welke regionale verschillen traden hierbij op en hoe kunnen we die verklaren? (3) Was dit alles uniek voor Nederland of zien we het in laaggelegen gebieden in Engeland, Vlaanderen en Duitsland misschien ook? Mogelijke verklaringen zullen worden gezocht in een brede sfeer: de demografische en sociaaleconomische ontwikkelingen, de landschappelijke veranderingen en de voortgang van het staatsvormingsproces. Al deze factoren bepaalden welke ruimte beschikbaar was voor inspraak en medezeggenschap. Een hypothese bij het onderzoek is dat de politieke cultuur niet zozeer het gevolg was van het unieke landschap, maar minstens zoveel van de bijzondere maatschappelijke ontwikkeling. Met name in het westen van het land was sprake van een zeer vroege commercialisering en verstedelijking. De staatsvorming was zwak, en door die combinatie van factoren kon geen enkele groep zijn overwicht blijvend laten gelden en moest wel naar overeenstemming worden gestreefd. Met deze aanpak bouwt het onderzoek een nieuwe richting binnen de waterstaatsgeschiedenis uit. Deze nieuwe waterstaatsgeschiedenis zoekt verklaringen binnen een zo breed mogelijke maatschappelijke context. Hoewel er goede studies bestaan over het Nederlandse waterbeheer, is de vraag naar de bestuurscultuur in waterschappen tijdens middeleeuwen en vroegmoderne tijd nooit gesteld. Niet alleen de vraag, ook de systematisch vergelijkende aanpak is nieuw. Historische studies hebben bijna altijd betrekking op slechts één waterschap. Vaak wordt gesteld dat algemene conclusies over de inrichting van waterschappen niet mogelijk zijn, omdat elk waterschap weer anders in elkaar stak. Hoewel hier veel waars in steekt, is het toch onze ambitie om algemene patronen te ontdekken. Het waterbeheer in verschillende Nederlandse regio s die vanaf circa 1200 geconfronteerd werden met complexe waterproblemen zal daartoe systematisch worden vergeleken aan de hand van dezelfde vragen, dezelfde definities 8

9 en dezelfde operationaliseringen van de begrippen participatie en vertegenwoordiging. Van het project maakt deel uit een vergelijking met buitenlandse waterschappen. Volgens de populaire opvatting was het poldermodel een typisch Nederlands fenomeen, maar deze opvatting is nooit onderbouwd. Daarom is ook deze vergelijking vernieuwend. 16. Research budget A. Personnel Type of appointment term extent salary bench fee amount PhD student 4 years 1,0 fte Postdoc 3 years 1,0 fte Postdoc Van Tielhof 4 years 1 year 0,4 fte 1,0 fte Sub total A. personnel and bench fee Salary is estimated conform the NWO tables B. Other personnel costs -Replacement for the teaching duties of the main applicant Prak (0.4) and the co-applicant Van Dam (0.1) for 1 year (September September 2016), to enable them to write the monograph with Van Tielhof. -Maps. Studies on water management profit very much from maps, specifically designed to illustrate the results of the research. Some results are even difficult to understand without maps or schemes. It will be extremely helpful to have 30 maps designed (10 maps for each of the two sub projects and 10 for the synthesis). People drawing this kind of maps are highly specialized and work freelance. Costs are 300 per map: in total. -Open access publication. Costs for getting articles published, estimated at Language correction and translation. Correction of eight articles in English (each words a 0,08) : 7680,- Translation of the monograph (synthesis) in English ( words a 0,18) : ,- Other personnel costs specification year amount Replacement Prak and Van Dam Maps Open access publication Language correction and translation 2 articles 3 articles 3 articles monograph Sub total B. replacement

10 and other personnel costs C. Material -International travel expenses. To enable the three researchers to participate in international conferences, travel expenses are estimated at 2000 euro per year for the PhD student , 3000 per year for the postdoc A , 1000 per year for postdoc B , together ,- -3 laptops to work in archives (a 1000): international workshop, planned in 2013: archival studies in England, Germany or Flanders, together circa 6 weeks 9.000,- Material costs specification year sum Internationalisation 1. Travel expenses congresses activities 2. International workshop Sub total internationalisation Archival studies abroad Laptops Sub total C. material D. Knowledge utilization 1. We intend to organize a conference to share the results with a non-academic audience. During the conference academics and non-academics will debate the relevance of political culture for the success of water management and for society in general. Among the nonspecialists we hope to invite Jared Diamond, as he pinpointed the Netherlands an example of a successful society and explained that from the way water management was organized. Other possible speakers and discussants are representatives of the water-boards, of the Ministry of Transport and Public Works, of the National History Museum, and other cultural institutions. The intended audience includes the (international) press, politicians, staff of museums, school teachers and professional historians. Year: We plan this activity in the second half of 2014, when the results of the first two sub projects are known and part of the work on the synthesis has been done. 2. A website will be created on the historical sources used in the research programme. It will contain a large number of scans of the original sources with transcriptions of the texts, explanations and critical commentaries. The intended users are students and schoolteachers, 10

11 who can use it as a basis for lessons and courses. The ING will host the website. The website will be launched in 2015, when most of the archival work has been completed. Knowledge utilization year amount Knowledge utilization activities 1. congress website Subtotal D. Knowledge utilization Overall programme budget Subtotal A, personnel Subtotal B, replacement Subtotal C, material Subtotal D, knowledge utilization Total amount requested Elaboration of project 1. Participation and representation in small scale water-boards The focus in this PhD project is on the internal relationships within polders. The most important stakeholders were owners of land (peasants, farmers, large landowners), leaseholders and other users of land and water in the polder. How did rural communities deal with conflicting interests and to what extent and how did all groups involved participate in the management of the water table and related issues? The first thing we need to know is who was actually present at the various events. All polders had an annual calendar of meetings. At fixed dates, often three in each year, the quality of the dikes and other works were inspected by the water authorities. Once a year, stakeholders gathered for a hearing and closing of the accounts in those polders where, besides labor in kind, monetary contributions were required from the landowners. There were also meetings to vote people into office. Who was entitled to be present on all of these occasions? Were accounts indeed read in public? Were small landowners able to file protest against the accounts? Were they involved in decisions about major investments in the water system, like the building of a new mill? Did leaseholders have a say, or was participation restricted to those who owned land? Were meetings scheduled in the village or were villagers forced to travel to the towns where the major land owners lived? Water-boards officially seated in Dordrecht or Alkmaar serve as examples that the countryside was sometimes ruled from the town. For this project polders will be selected in which the water-board (polderbestuur) was separated from the regular local administration, like sheriff and aldermen (Van de Ven 2004, p.114), to isolate specific characteristics of water management. Many such polders are found in central Holland, but they are also in evidence in other peat districts with a dynamic landscape. The valley of the river Eem is a good example. It deserves further study, and its well-preserved archives also make this possible. In the Middle Ages the valley belonged to the territory of the bishop of Utrecht, who was a relatively weak sovereign. Stakeholders in water management here were, besides the bishop himself, the rural community of landowners, leaseholders, traders and fishermen, as well as the citizens of Amersfoort, who became increasingly interested in the countryside. It seems that in the late Middle Ages at times one or 11

12 more seats on polder boards were reserved for the burghers of Amersfoort and meetings of the water authorities were more often scheduled in the town (Mijnssen-Dutilh 2007, 182). Besides answering the question to what extent various social groups participated in water management, how they did that, and if this participation changed over time, the PhDproject hopes to explain the patterns of evolution and variation. This will involve studying such contextual aspects as the process of state formation, urbanization in the region, property relations within the polders, and the changing uses of the land. The analyses will be made in normal times and in extraordinary situations like floods. In order to reach more general conclusions, the political culture in polders situated in two, possibly three different provinces will be studied. Besides Utrecht this will be Holland, possibly also Zeeland (cf. relevant work by Dekker 1974, Henderikx 1996, De Kraker 1997). The comparison will highlight what may have been special about the Groene Hart district, located in the former peat region on both sides of the border between Holland and Utrecht. The institutional arrangements created when the region was reclaimed and developed between the 10 th and 13 th century are thought to have had a long-lasting impact on political culture. The project should clarify if egalitarian social relations and a large degree of personal freedom were indeed characteristic of this region, more than other parts of the Netherlands (Van der Linden 1956, versus Van Tielhof and Van Dam 2006, 36). Elaboration of project 2. Participation and representation in regional water-boards Since the 12 th and 13 th centuries dikes, dams and drainage canals were built for groups of villages or even entire regions. This happened in many areas in the low-lying parts of the Netherlands: e.g. in Utrecht (c the Lekdijk Bovendams), the south of Holland (c three drainage canals near the Old Rhine) and in the north of Holland (c the Westfriese Omringdijk). These works required coordination and cooperation, and regional water-boards were created to supervise them. Sooner or later these institutions did not merely have to look after the regional works, but also had to communicate with local water authorities to prevent local and regional systems from undermining one another. In the central part of Holland there was even an official, hierarchical relationship between the regional water authorities and the local polders, at least from the 16 th century onwards. Considering the ongoing subsidence of the soils, which sank more and more below sea level, and the limited support from the state (not strongly developed itself), it is remarkable that the regional water-boards were by and large successful in their task. There were failures, to be sure. In Zeeland many small polders bordering on the sea arms were lost after floods in the 15 th and 16 th centuries. In the peat districts of Holland and Utrecht whole villages disappeared, and former polders turned into lakes in the 17 th and 18 th centuries as a consequence of destructive peat mining. Nevertheless, over the long time-span of the Middle Ages and early modern period, only one large region was given up as a result of floods (the Grote Waard, now known as Biesbosch) and there were no large regions that had to be abandoned because of insufficient drainage. By implication, the water-boards must have dealt more or less adequately with the complex challenges of coordinating between small-scale and large-scale systems. This makes them very interesting as examples of rural self-regulation. Were they also proto-democratic institutions? As in the case of small-scale water-boards, we have to know the annual calendar of events: when, and on what occasions did the regional water-boards meet, and who were present at these meetings? More specifically we would like to know more about the relationship and communication with the landowners in the region. In principle, the regional water authorities were delegates of the local communities that were profiting from the dike, dam or drainage canal. They directly represented the local land owners. They were appointed 12

13 for a limited period, and could loose their office when landowners were dissatisfied with their performance. In a few exceptional cases, notably in the central part of Holland, the water authorities had a right of cooptation, and appointed their colleagues for life (in Rijnland, Delfland and Schieland). In these cases the participation of common landowners was practically nil. This system seems to have been replicated in other regions, but only much later (Fransen 2009). Where was the system changed, and when and why did that happen? Another remarkable evolution is the appearance of boards of Main Landholders (Hoofdingelanden). In several regions, the local communities had the right to delegate people to annual meetings with the regional water authorities to discuss financial issues. However, in the 16 th century these delegates were increasingly replaced by a small number of wealthy landowners, sitting for life on the boards of Main Landholders. They discussed plans for new investments and had the right to turn them down. One of the questions the project has to answer is why those elitist boards replaced the system of direct representation. Comparing regional water-boards in various provinces, the postdoctoral researcher will have to look for explanations in the ecological, social-economic and political spheres. A collective biography of the people holding a seat on the boards of Main Landholders will be time-consuming but is feasible for a few case studies. It will probably be rewarding, cf. the study of the dike reeves in the Krimpenerwaard, which has shown major changes in social background between the 15 th and the 18 th century (Van Aesch 2004). Regional water-boards in three, possibly four provinces will be compared, e.g. in Zeeland (Walcheren), Guelders (the boards supervising dikes along the Lek, Maas and Waal), Holland and Utrecht. All these institutions trace their origins back to the 12 th and 13 th centuries. Changes in participation and representation during and in direct response to crisis situations like floods will be confronted with developments in more normal times. Elaboration of synthesis. Dutch water-boards in an international perspective The situation of the Netherlands is peculiar because a relatively large part of its territory is situated beneath sea level, while another part risks flooding by sea or river tides. Together the area under threat constitutes 55% of the country s current surface. Many more regions in the world face, however, comparable problems, and this was already so in the Middle Ages and early modern period studied by this project. Coastal regions in the north of Germany required sea dikes since the Middle Ages. The Flemish coastal plain too was forced to invest in drainage systems since the Middle Ages. Drainage canals emerged in England as part of projects to reclaim marshes in the 17th century. To put Dutch water management in an international perspective at least two regions in Flanders, England or Germany will be selected for a comparison with the Dutch situation. One of the question that can only be satisfactorily answered through international comparison, is what happened to third parties in projects of land reclamations. Those projects ranged from small endikements along the rivers, to large and famous reclamation projects like the Schermer and the Beemster (the latter is now on the Unesco World Heritage List). The traditional users of the marsh, lake or part of the river that was reclaimed, saw their shipping route or their source of income (fishing, fowling, reed cutting) disappear. Dutch historiography suggests that people willing to reclaim land could not proceed unless they had compensated those suffering from it in a satisfactory manner (Beekman , 1221.) How this was done can be read in Van Zwet s PhD thesis on the reclamations in the north of Holland (Van Zwet 2009). Van Cruyningen (in press) claims that the explicit condition to take into account other people s interests was a typically Dutch phenomenon, and this may have contributed to the far better success rate of land reclamations in the Dutch Republic. Toussaint (2005) showed how reclamation projects in France were complicated and slowed down, or 13

14 even failed, because of strong regional interests and traditional rights. Bearing in mind that throughout history the overlegcultuur has probably been advantageous for Dutch economy and society in general (Van Zanden 2002b), the international comparisons will allow us to pinpoint what specific civic culture actually contributed to effective land reclamations. As in the other two sub-projects, water-management systems will be analyzed in their broader context. Explanations for particular arrangements will be sought in socio-economic, political and ecological evolutions. We plan to include religion and mentality, as they have been the object of research in international literature. In the principalities in the north of Germany an essentially rural society had to cope with fear for the sea, which seems less prominently present in the coastal Dutch provinces. The coastal region in North-West Germany has been the object of the very interesting book by Marie-Louisa Allemeijer (2006), which shows how water management shaped the whole of society, including religion and culture. For other countries, we can also employ detailed recent studies. About the region around Bruges in Flanders, various works by Tim Soens (2001, 2006a, 2006b, 2009) provide a solid foundation for comparisons, while land reclamation in England has been the subject of extensive research (e.g. Williamson 2005). Our understanding will be deepened by archival research abroad, in one or more regions in Flanders, England or Germany. The resulting monograph will summarize the findings of the two sub-projects on small-scale and regional water-boards, add analyses of the rich historical literature on other regions in the Netherlands and of archival research of a few selected case studies not covered in the other sub-projects, and compare these with arrangements abroad. The researchers will formulate answers to the questions guiding the overall project: were broad groups of stakeholders involved in water management, and if so, how? Did the scale of water systems really matter that much? What happened to involvement of different groups during crisis situations when water problems manifested itself temporarily on a larger scale, spatially as well as institutionally? Was a great measure of participation and representation characteristic for all of the Netherlands, for one region only or was it found everywhere in North-Western Europe? If the Netherlands were indeed a special case, did it have to do with the way the peat districts were cultivated during the Middle Ages, with the special development of early urbanization combined with slow state formation, or with still other factors? Works cited Aesch, F.H.J. van, De dijkgraven van de Krimpenerwaard, in: G.P. van de Ven (ed), Mensen in een waard vol wind en water: de geschiedenis van de waterhuishouding in de Krimpenerwaard (Hilversum 2004) Allemeijer, Marie-Luisa, Kein Land ohne Deich! Lebenswelten einer Küstengesellschaft in der Frühen Neuzeit (Göttingen 2006). Bavel, Bas J.P. van, `Rural development and landownership in Holland, c , in: Oscar Gelderblom (ed.), The political economy of the Dutch Republic (Farnham, 2009), , and Jan Luiten van Zanden, The jump-start of the Holland economy during the late medieval crisis, c c.1500, Economic History Review 57/3 (2004) Beekman, A.A., Het dijk- en waterschapsrecht in Nederland vóór 1795 (Den Haag ). Bemmel, A.A.B. van, De Lekdijk van Amerongen naar Vreeswijk: negen eeuwen bescherming van Utrecht en Holland (Hilversum 2009) Bos, Dennis, and Maurits Ebben, Henk te Velde (eds), Harmonie in Holland. Het poldermodel van 1500 tot nu (Amsterdam 2007). Cruyningen, Piet van, Property rights, social structures and sustainability of drained areas along the North Sea coast, sixteenth-eighteenth centuries. Comparative Rural History of the North Sea Area (Turnhout, in press). Dam, Petra J.E.M. van, Vissen in veenmeren. De sluisvisserij op aal tussen Haarlem en Amsterdam en de ecologische transformatie in Rijnland, (Hilversum 1998)., Apples and pears. Water authorities and marks in the Netherlands, Unpublished paper for the European Social Sciences History Conference, Amsterdam April Danner, Helga S. et al. (eds), Polder pioneers. The influence of Dutch engineers on water management in Europe, (Utrecht 2005). 14

15 Davids, Karel, River control and the evolution of knowledge: a comparison between regions in China and Europe, c , Journal of Global History 1 (2006), Dekker, C., De vertegenwoordiging van de geërfden in de wateringen bewesten Schelde in de middeleeuwen, Bijdragen en Mededelingen betreffende de Geschiedenis der Nederlanden 89 (1974) Diamond, Jared, Collapse. How societies choose to fail or survive (New York/London 2005). Disco, Cornelis, Delta Blues, Technology and Culture 47 (2006) Dolfing, B., Waterbeheer geregeld? Een historisch bestuurskundige analyse van de ontwikkeling van de hoogheemraadschappen van Delfland en Rijnland (z.p. 2000). Holland 3 (2004). Themanummer De Nieuwe Waterstaat. De interactie tussen ecologie en economie in Holland. Fransen, Alfons, Een kleine dijk met een groot doel. De financiering van de Diemerdijk, (PhD thesis Vrije Universiteit 2009). Henderikx, Peter, De zorg voor afwatering en dijken op Walcheren voor circa 1400, in: A. Beenakker et al., Duizend jaar Walcheren. Over gelanden, heren en geschot, over binnen- en buitenbeheer (Middelburg 1996). Kaijser, Arne, System building from below. Institutional change in Dutch water control systems, Technology and Culture 43 (2002) Kaviraj, Sudipta, and Sunil Khilnani (eds), Civil society: History and possibilities (Cambridge 2001). Kerr, John, Watershed management: lessons from common property theory, International Journal of the Commons 1 (2007) Kraker, A.M.J. de, Landschap uit balans. De invloed van de natuur, de economie en de politiek op de ontwikkeling van het landschap van de Vier Ambachten en het Land van Saeftinge tussen 1488 en 1609 (Utrecht 1997). Lendering, Jona, Polderdenken. De wortels van de Nederlandse overlegcultuur (Amsterdam 2005). Linden, H. van der, De cope. Bijdrage tot de rechtsgeschiedenis van de openlegging der Utrechts-Hollandse laagvlakte (Assen 1956). Mahoney, J., and D. Rueschemeyer (eds), Comparative historical analysis in the social sciences (Cambridge 2003). Mieris, van, Groot Charterboek der graaven van Holland, van Zeeland en heeren van Vriesland etc (Leiden ). Mijnssen-Dutilh, Margriet, Amersfoort lag aan zee. Waterschapskroniek Vallei & Eem (Utrecht/Leusden 2007). Nobel, Arjan, Polderen in de polder? Consensus en conflict in een vroegmodern poldergebied, in: Bos et al. 2007, North, Douglass C., John Joseph Wallis, and Barry R. Weingast, Violence and social orders: A conceptual framework for interpreting recorded human history (Cambridge 2009). Ostrom, Elinor, Governing the commons: The evolution of institutions for collective action (Cambridge 1990) Pleij, Herman, Erasmus en het poldermodel (Amsterdam 2005). Pollmann, Judith, Eendracht maakt macht. Stedelijke cultuuridealen en politieke werkelijkheid in de Republiek, in: Bos et al. 2007, Raadschelders, J.C.N. en Toonen (red.), Waterschappen in Nederland. Een bestuurskundige verkenning van de institutionele ontwikkeling (Hilversum 1993). Prak, Maarten, Çorporate politics in the Low Countries: guilds as institutions, 14 th to 18 th centuries, in: Prak, Catharina Lis, Jan Lucassen, Hugo Soly (eds), Craft guilds in the early modern Low Countries: work, power, and representation (Aldershot 2006), , Polderland, Bijdragen en Mededelingen betreffende de Geschiedenis der Nederlanden 123 (2008) Putnam, Robert D., Making democracy work: civic traditions in modern Italy (Princeton 1993)., Bowling alone: The collapse and revival of American community (New York 2000). Ragin, Charles C., The comparative method: Moving beyond qualitative and quantitative strategies (Berkeley 1987). Soens, Tim, Het waterschap en de mythe van democratie in het Ancien Regime. Het voorbeeld van de Vlaamse kustvlakte in de Late Middeleeuwen, Jaarboek voor Ecologische Geschiedenis 2001, , Waterbeheer in een veranderende samenleving. Een ecologische, sociaal-economische en politiekinstitutionele studie van de wateringen in het Vlaamse kustgebied tijdens de overgang van de middeleeuwen naar de moderne tijden. Testregio: het Brugse Vrije. Proefschrift Universiteit Gent (2006a), Polders zonder poldermodel? Een onderzoek naar inspraak en overleg in de waterstaat van de laatmiddeleeuwse Vlaamse kustvlakte ( ), TSEG 3 (2006b) 3-36., De spade in de dijk? Waterbeheer en rurale samenleving in de Vlaamse kustvlakte ( ) (Gent 2009). Swallow, Brent et al., The challenges of inclusive cross-scale collective action in watersheds, Water International 31/3 (2006) TeBrake, William H., Hydraulic engineering in the Netherlands during the Middle Ages, in: P. Squatriti (ed.), Working with water in medieval Europe (Leiden 2000)

16 Thoen, Erik, Waterschappen en de maatschappelijke en ecologische transformatie van de kustvlakte in de Middeleeuwen en het Ancien Regime. Bedenkingen en onderzoeksmogelijkheden, in: E. Huys and M. Vandermaesen (eds), Miscellanea Archivistica. Studia 139 (Brussel 2001) , and Tim Soens (eds), Tussen politiek, economie en ecologie. Waterbeheer in het verleden. Themanummer Jaarboek voor Ecologische Geschiedenis 2001/6 (publ. 2003). Tielhof, Milja van, Op zoek naar het poldermodel in de waterstaatsgeschiedenis, Tijdschrift voor Geschiedenis 122 (2009) , and Petra J.E.M. van Dam, Waterstaat in stedenland. Het hoogheemraadschap van Rijnland voor 1857 (Utrecht 2006). Toussaint, Bert, The Dutch-Flemish role in reclamation projects in France, in: H.S. Danner et al. (eds), Polder pioneers. The influence of Dutch engineers on water management in Europe, (Utrecht 2005) Velde, Henk te, Het poldermodel. Een introductie, in: Bos et al. 2007, Ven, G.P. van de (ed.), Man-made Lowlands. History of water management and land reclamation in the Netherlands (Utrecht 2004). Williamson, Tom, Dutch engineers and the draining of the fens in Eastern England, in Danner, Helga S. et al. (eds), Polder pioneers. The influence of Dutch engineers on water management in Europe, (Utrecht 2005) Zanden, Jan Luiten van, Loonmatiging en het poldermodel in historisch perspectief, Tijdschrift voor Arbeidsvraagstukken 18 (2002a) Zanden, Jan Luiten van, Driewerf hoera voor het poldermodel, Economisch-Statistische Berichten 87 (2002b) Zeischka, Siger, Minerva in de polder. Waterstaat en techniek in het hoogheemraadschap van Rijnland ( ) (Hilversum 2007). Zwet, Han van, Lofwaerdighe dijckagies en miserabele polders. Een financiële analyse van landaanwinningsprojecten in Hollands Noorderkwartier, (Hilversum 2009). 16

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