Seminar

RHI Seminar: Harm Zwarts (Wageningen University and Research) The 19th Century Origins of Agricultural Innovation in the Netherlands

Explaining the Late Establishment and Expansion of the Dutch Agricultural Innovation System

Organisator Rural and Environmental History
Datum

di 11 oktober 2016 12:15 tot 14:15

Locatie Leeuwenborch, building number 201
Hollandseweg 1
201
6706 KN Wageningen
0317-483639
Zaal/kamer C68

On October 11th, Harm Zwarts, PhD Candidate at Wageningen University and Research will present the draft of his paper:

The 19th Century Origins of Agricultural Innovation in the Netherlands

Explaining the Late Establishment and Expansion of the Dutch Agricultural Innovation System

Abstract

The history of the Dutch agricultural innovation system has received limited attention. It is unclear why the Netherlands was late in establishing and expanding an agricultural innovation system compared to other European states. While the German states started establishing agricultural colleges from the early 1810s onwards, the first Dutch agricultural college only opened its doors in 1876. The first agricultural experiment station was founded in Saxony in 1851, after which the first Dutch experiment station was not initiated until 1877 and more Dutch experiment stations only followed in the 1890s. This paper compares the historical origins of the Dutch agricultural innovation system with its equivalents in neighbouring countries and gives reason for its relatively late establishment and expansion. By extracting explanations for the troublesome start of the Dutch agricultural innovation system from nineteenth century agricultural periodicals, this paper gives insight into the mechanisms behind nineteenth century agricultural innovation systems in Europe. The late expansion of the Dutch agricultural innovation system is explained by 1) the liberal laissez-faire policy of the Dutch government; 2) the agricultural prosperity relative to agriculture elsewhere; 3) the focus of the Dutch ruling class on trade instead of agriculture; 4) the international orientation of the rural elite; 5) the failure of agricultural societies to represent agricultural interest at the highest political level. It is concluded that, apart from strong economic incentives for the government and rural elite to institutionalize agricultural education and experimenting, the expansion of agricultural innovation systems in nineteenth century Europe largely depended on the influence of agricultural societies and other interest groups.

More information about Harm Zwarts can be found here.