AbstractsPolitical Science

Dutch Master fighting Communism, The Cultural Back Stage of Dutch Cold War Politics

by Gustaaf Jan Schaepman

Institution: Leiden University
Year: 2015
Keywords: Cultural Cold War, Dutch diplomacy
Record ID: 1251436
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/1887/32840


The Dutch government used cultural diplomacy to reinforce East-West relations on numerous occasions. High-ranking Dutch civil servants and diplomats used art, classical music and academic exchanges to influence public opinion on the other side of the Iron Curtain. This thesis will show that the Dutch Foreign Ministry (BZ) used these exhibitions, concerts and sporting events to influence public opinion in the East European Bloc. In an attempt to regenerate the Dutch art scene after World War II the Ministry of Education, Arts and Sciences stimulated the cultural scene in the Netherlands by forging ties with international renowned artists. The policy of OK&W to focus on regaining cultural prestige was contrary to the policy that was laid down by BZ.OK&W also used cultural diplomacy to achieve its objectives, however these goals meant that the Netherlands had to engage more and more with foreign publics. This approach was contrary to the policy of the Foreign Office that was focused on securing national security. The difference in these approaches created tensions between the two offices of government, which had dire consequences for the NIICB established in 1955. This thesis will illustrate the battle fought between the Ministries on the cultural backstage of Dutch Cold War politics by answering the following question: What factors played a role in the development of the Dutch cultural relations in the 1950s with Eastern Europe?