Policy versus practice. Behind the scenes in Dutch development aid, 1949–1989

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The history of development aid has often been analyzed on the
level of international politics and ground breaking ideas on big
overriding issues. But the policies developed in the various Western
capitals do not in themselves provide a full picture of foreign aid. It
is important to examine the field more closely: what did actually
happen ‘on the ground’ as a result of intentions and agreements on
aid? Did the practice of aid projects influence aid effectiveness? The
present article looks at the history of aid provided by the
Netherlands, a country that for a long time liked to portray itself as
occupying a guiding role in the vanguard of international
development. It is based on archival study of project files, set in
countries that were at the core of the Dutch aid effort. They are
taken from the time span of four decades in which the aid effort
was developed and flourished, before the end of the Cold War
changed the scenery in 1989. The article aims to shed new light on
how policy aims were translated and provides an indication as to
why the desired results failed to come about.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
JournalInternational History Review
Issue number-
Early online date02 Nov 2016
Publication statusPublished - 02 Nov 2016


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