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Civics can also be described as 'rule of law and democracy'. The subject is about the historical development of the Dutch state, and its government.

The subject consists of five periods:

1) 1000-1795: The increasing freedom of cities and provinces in the Low Countries.


- City rights.

- The dukedom of Burgundy and the establishment of the States-General.

- The Dutch Revolt (1568-1648) and the house of Orange-Nassau. 

- The formation of the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands (1588-1795) and its government.

2) 1781-1813: The establishment of freedom rights and political rights in The Netherlands.


- The Enlightenment and Batavian Revolution.

- Van der Capellen tot den Pol: 'To the people of The Netherlands' (pamphlet).

- The Patriot movement.

- The Batavian Republic (1795-1806).

- Creation of a unified state.

- Kingdom of Holland and the French influence (1806-1813).

3) 1813-1848: The Kingdom of The Netherlands ruled by King William I and II .


- The constitutional monarchy and King William I (reign 1815-1840).

- King William II (reign 1840-1849).

- The formation of the parliamentary democracy by Thorbecke.

- The constitution of 1848.

4) 1848-1917: Political movements and parties which developed the rule of law and democracy.


- The rise of the conservative, liberal, confessional and socialist political movements.

- The rise of political parties.

- King William III (reign 1849-1890).

- Feminism.

- Voting right for everyone.

- The constitution of 1917.

5) 1919-present: Democracy in The Netherlands.


- World Wars and financial crisis.

- Queen Wilhelmina (reign 1890-1948).

- The German occupation (1940-1945).

- The creation of the welfare state (1950-1970).

- Queen Juliana (reign 1948-1980).

- Immigrants, social and cultural changes (1960-2001).

- Queen Beatrix (reign 1980-2013).

- The establishment under pressure and the rise of populism (from 2001).

- King Willem-Alexander (since 2013).



´Rule of law and democracy' is referred to as domain D and is part of the history graduation program.


It is tested on the school exams (SE).


The subject is not a part of the central graduation exam (CSE) in May.


Click on the picture above and read the Dutch constitution.

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