Path: Table of Contents > Essay on Party Politics > Party 263
Dutch Liberal Party, 263
Variables and Codes for 1950-1962
For the concepts and variables below, use these links to Political Parties: A Cross-National Survey:
Governmental Status
Issue Orientation
Goal Orientation
Organizational Complexity
Organizational Power
Organizational Coherence
Membership Involvement
The "ac" code is for "adequacy-confidence"--a data quality measure ranging from 0 (low) to 9 (high)

Institutionalization Variables
, 1.01-1.06
1.01 year of origin and 1.02 name changes
1948, AC5
0, AC5
The People's Party for Freedom and Democracy, frequently called the Liberal Party, has some claim to a 19th century origin, but it is interpreted here to be a post-war creation. Although a number of "liberals" in parliament during the mid-1800s often socialized together and usually voted alike, there was no official party formed until 1884, when the Liberal Union was formed to counter the influence of clerical parties. This party, however, soon split into progressive and conservative wings. The more radical elements formed a separate party, the Liberal Democratic Union in 1901, and it was this "Liberal Party" which merged into the Dutch Labor Party in 1946. The more conservative elements had previously broken away from the Liberal Union in 1894 , leaving the Liberal Union largely to the moderates. In 1921, these conservative (or "independent") liberals and the moderates recombined into the Liberal State Party, which emerged after the war as the Party of Freedom, winning some seats in the 1946 election. In 1948, the Party of Freedom merged with the Liberal Democrats, who had recently bolted from the Labor Party, to form the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy. Some scholars consider this party to be a continuation of the Liberal State Party, which would fix its origin at 1921. Because the Party of Freedom and the Liberal Democrats had approximately the same number of seats before the merger, however, we count the result as a new party and fix its origin at 1948.
1.03 organizational discontinuity
0, AC5
Under our conception of the origin of the VVD, the party experienced no significant splits or mergers during our time period.
1.04 leadership competition
11, AC7
D.U.Stikker was leader of the Freedom Party and P.J.Oud was leader of the Liberal Democrats when they merged to form the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy in 1948. Stikker became the chairman of this new party and Oud the vice-chairman. But Stikker and Oud clashed over the Netherlands' policy toward Indonesia, for which Stikker shared responsibility as foreign minister. In a showdown parliamentary vote in 1951, the liberals voted to censure Stikker, and Oud subsequently became party chairman. From the information in our files, it appears that he remained party chairman throughout our time period.
1.05 legislative instability
Instability is .18, AC9
Legislative representation of the Liberal Party increased rather steadily from 8 percent in 1950 to 13 percent in 1962.
1.06 electoral instability
Instability is .13, AC9
In the elections of 1952, 1956, and 1959, the liberal vote ranged from 9 to 12 percent of the total.

Governmental Status Variables, 2.01-2.07
2.01 government discrimination
0, AC6
There is no evidence suggesting any acts of government discrimination either in favor of or against the VVD, and our consultant advises that there were none.
2.02 governmental leadership
0 out of 7 for 1950-56, AC9
0 out of 6 for 1957-62, AC9
The office of prime minister was filled by a member of the Labor Party from 1950 to 1959 and by a catholic from 1959 to 1963.
2.03 cabinet participation
3 out of 7 for 1950-56, AC9
4 out of 6 for 1957-62, AC9
The VVD participated in cabinet coalitions from 1950 to September, 1952, seating one member of the cabinet in these years. The party again joined in coalition in may, 1959, seating three liberals, and continued participation in coalition through 1962.
2.04 national participation
4, AC6
Based on a 1956 survey (sample size was 1234), the Liberal Party's average deviation of votes from the population distribution is 10.25. The Liberal Party draws support from virtually every region, but very little from the south or east. The party is strong in the north and west regions.
2.05 legislative strength
Strength is .09 for 1950-56, AC9, and .12 for 1957-62 , AC9
Legislative representation of the Liberal Party increased rather steadily from 8 percent in 1950 to 13 percent in 1962.
2.06 electoral strength
Strength is .09 for 1950-56, AC9, and .12 for 1957-62 , AC9
In the elections of 1952, 1956, and 1959, the liberal vote ranged from 9 to 12 percent of the total.

2.07 outside origin

4, AC9
The Liberal Party was established in 1948 as a result of a merger between two groups of liberals then seated in parliament.

Issue Orientation Variables, 5.01-5.15
5.01 ownership of means of production
3, AC7
The VVD opposes nationalization of industries and property, and has proposed the return of some nationalized areas to the private domain. The party is in favor of increasing the availability of property ownership and opposes large monopolies in order to enhance the economic climate for free enterprise and private ownership.
5.02 government role in economic planning
2, AC5
The VVD opposed government economic planning, with the exception of temporary wage and price controls. When the party entered the 1959 cabinet coalition, the government withdrew somewhat from the level of economic intervention reached under the socialist-catholic government. The party did not advocate complete abandonment of government activity in this area.
5.03 redistribution of wealth
1, AC8
The VVD opposes any major legislation aimed at large scale redistribution of wealth, but supports the graduated income tax currently in effect.
5.04 social welfare
1, AC7
While the Liberal Party prefers to leave social welfare in the hands of private resources, it does not oppose all government programs of social welfare. The party's position is that such government interference is necessary only when the private sector is unable to provide sufficient welfare coverage. When this is the case, the VVD favors government activity in covering these unprotected areas.
5.05 secularization of society
1, AC5
The history of the several liberal parties is filled with animosity towards church interference with the government. Although the liberals have supported the principle of state aid to private schools since 1917, they have been concerned with limiting the amounts.
5.06 support of the military
3, AC5
Since the VVD favors a strong military in cooperation with the NATO organization in defense of Western Europe, the party probably supports a policy of military strength and requests for funds by the armed forces.
5.07 alignment with east-west blocs
5, AC9
The VVD fully supports the Netherlands' membership in NATO and favors a strong military alliance to guard against the threat of communism.
5.08 anti-colonialism
2, AC7
The Liberal Party was distinctly anticonciliatory concerning the disposition of Dutch colonial possessions, and it even rebuked its own leader and foreign minister, Stikker, in 1951 for failing to assert Dutch sovereignty over her claims in the pacific, notably New Guinea. The issue of independence for New Guinea was complicated by Indonesia's claims to the territory, and thus a policy of self-determination was, in one light, a means to forestall New Guinea's loss to Indonesia. The liberals fought to retain Dutch control as long as possible but finally acquiesced in the 1962 agreement which transferred New Guinea to Indonesia.
5.09 supranational integration
3, AC7
The political, economic, and military unity of Europe is sought by most parties in the Netherlands, including the VVD. The Liberal Party supports the common market and favors the strengthening of the united nations.
5.10 national integration
1, AC6
There is some indication that the VVD would like to see some decentralization of government power.
5.11 electoral participation
5, AC5
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the extension of the franchise was a major issue in Dutch politics. At the beginning of this period , the liberals resisted pressures to extend the franchise (witness the implications of the 1878 elementary education act), while both the Catholics and orthodox protestants sought political mobilization through expanded suffrage. Later, this issue helped divide the liberals into progressive and conservative wings. Many scholars believe that the enactment of universal manhood suffrage in 1917 did indeed dilute the liberal's narrow electoral base and insure the minority status of subsequent liberal parties. But during our time period, the issue of extension of the franchise had been essentially settled, with liberals accepting the condition of universal suffrage.
5.12 protection of civil rights
No information.
5.13 interference with civil liberties
5, AC9
The VVD recognizes freedom of expression and has supported government policy in favor of such freedom. The party does not own its own media, and generally the VVD is even stronger than these parties in its support for free media.
5.14 / 5.15 us--soviet experts left-right ratings
US says 1, conservative
Soviets say 1, a liberal bourgeois party which reflects the interests of part of the upper monopolistic bourgeoisie, government officials, and the intelligentsia. The party advocates the " inviolability of the crown," a society founded on Christianity, freedom, and social justice, and it rejects socialistic means of production.

Goal Orientation Variables, 6.01-6.55
6.00 open competition in the electoral process
4, AC9
The VVD has participated enthusiastically in every election during our time period, and seems to rely exclusively upon open competition in the electoral system in order to place its representatives in positions of power.
6.10 restricting party competition
0, AC8
There is no information which would suggest that the VVD is oriented towards restricting competition as part of their strategy.
6.20 subverting the political system
0, AC8
There is no information suggesting that the Liberal Party is oriented towards subverting the political system. The Liberal Party owns a large share of the credit for creating the political system in the 1800's.
6.30 propagandizing ideas and program
6.31--0, AC4. While the VVD does not own or operate mass communications media, there exist liberal media which are supported by the party and probably run by VVD members or supporters.
6.32--0, AC5. No information would lead us to suspect the operation of party schools by the VVD.
6.33--2, AC4. The VVD has published platforms and resolutions in the past, and since this activity seems common among parties that openly compete, the VVD most probably performs this activity rather regularly.
6.34--2, AC4. The VVD probably performs this activity quite often.
6.50 providing for welfare of party members
* no information

Autonomy Variables, 7.01-7.05
7.01 sources of funds
1 (sector 04), AC6
Approximately 70 percent of the funds available to the VVD are derived from contributions, most of the remainder from membership dues. Since the VVD is strongly supported by business and a great number of its members are probably from the business sector, it is most probable that two-thirds of the party's funds comes from the business sector.
7.02 source of members
5, AC6
The VVD does not have a large membership and does not operate any ancillary organizations itself. Our consultant confirms our judgment that the party has no indirect members.
7.03 sources of leaders
1 (sector 04), AC6
It seems that the bulk of the party's leadership originates from a business background. This conclusion is sensible since the party represents the interests of businessmen.
7.04 relations with domestic parties
7 for 1st half, AC5
4 for 2nd half, AC5
The VVD participated in government parliamentary alliances through 1952, and again from 1959 to 1962. Since the party was not in any alliance during most of the 1st half, but in alliance most of the 2nd half, the first half is coded as if the party was independent and the second half as in the alliances.
7.05 relations with foreign organizations
4, AC6
The VVD is a member of the Liberal International, but is virtually independent since the organization does not dictate policy to its members.

Organizational Complexity Variables, 8.01-8.07
8.01 structural articulation
While evidence suggests the existence of national party organs, no information is available in our file concerning their selection procedures nor functional responsibilities.
8.02 intensiveness of organization
No information in our files.
8.03 extensiveness of organization
No information in our files.
8.04 frequency of local meetings
No information in our files.
8.05 frequency of national meetings
No information in our files.
8.06 maintaining records
9, AC5
The VVD expends some energies in supporting liberal media and in publishing propaganda and platforms. There is no mention of any party archive to serve as an institutionalized organization resource. Since the VVD collects membership dues and figures concerning membership size are available, the party probably maintains good membership lists.
8.07 pervasiveness of organization
10, AC8
The VVD has penetrated some socioeconomic sectors, such as business and agrarian, and the party can claim many adherents (especially in business), but the party does not have a great deal of control over these organizations since they are independent of the party.

Organizational Power Variables, 9.01-9.08
9.01 nationalization of structure
4, AC4
The VVD contains some national party organs, such as the executive committee, congress, and parliamentary group, and there is a mention of a party "machine" suggesting local organizations. It is mentioned that the executive committee and the parliamentary group split between Oud and Stikker and fought for control of the party, but after 1952 the two groups were united under the same chairman, Oud.
9.02 selecting the national leader
No information in our files.
9.03 selecting parliamentary candidates
7, AC4
The selection of parliamentary candidates seems to be the duty of the executive committee with the approval of the party congress, but our information file contains no explicit information on the process.
9.04 allocating funds
No information in our file.
9.05 formulating policy
6, AC3
Most policies seem to originate either in the executive committee or the parliamentary group.
9.06 controlling communications
0, AC5
The VVD does not have any direct or really effective control over any of the liberal media.
9.07 administering discipline
0, AC8
The party apparently has no means of administering discipline other than exclusion from candidacy.
9.08 leadership concentration
2, AC3
Oud seemed to dominate party policy making, especially after 1952. But there is no evidence stating that Oud was authoritatively binding as a spokesman, and other party leaders, especially Stikker before 1953, often spoke for the party.

Coherence Variables, 10.01-10.06
10.01 legislative cohesion
.90, AC5
Members of the VVD usually vote together as a block on most important bills. However this is not mandatory except when party doctrine dictates it as so. Therefore, in many minor bills, the party finds members with dissenting votes.
10.02 ideological factionalism
1, AC5
Discussion of party ideology is probably allowed, but there is little disagreement with the main principle, that "freedom" overrides socialism.
10.03 issue factionalism
5, AC8
The split in the party over the question of New Guinea created factions led by Oud and Stikker. Oud's faction probably contained a majority of the party, but Stikker's faction was considerable.
10.04 leadership factionalism
5, AC8
The Oud-Stikker fight for control over the party created two large factions. See 10.03.
10.05 strategic or tactical factionalism
0, AC3
There is no information suggesting any factions within the VVD concerning strategy or tactics, nor any basis for the creation of such factions .
10.06 party purges
0 for 1st half, AC5
0 for 2nd half, AC5
There is no mention of any involuntary departure from the VVD during our time period or otherwise.

Involvement Variables, 11.01-11.06
11.01 membership requirements
3, AC4
Members of the VVD are required to pay dues, and there exists a source of party membership size. Therefore it is probable that a member must register with the party.
11.02 membership participation
There is little mention of party activities, and it is impossible to discern the modal type of membership participation.
11.03 material incentives
1, AC5
Since many supporters of the VVD are civil servants and businessmen, material incentives in the form of government contracts, civil servant jobs, and patronage jobs are probably important as a motivating force to militants.
11.04 purposive incentives
1, AC5
Since the VVD favors freedom in business, European unity, and non-religious politics, purposive incentives are probably important to militants.
11.05 doctrinism
1, AC6
The program of principles published in 1948 is considered to be party doctrine and references to it are occasional.
11.06 personalism
1, AC3
Since the VVD was led by a charismatic leader, in Oud, and also by a very personable Stikker, it is likely that some militants were motivated by personalism.