Wednesday, November 16 2011, 16:52

On the 15th of November 2011 the Dutch Centre for Parliamentary History presented its Yearbook of Parliamentary History 2011 in the former room of the Second Chamber in The Hague. The book was presented to Mrs. Gerdi Verbeet, president of the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament. The title of this edition of the Jaarboek is: 'Where vision is lacking, the people perish.' The former socialist Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mr J. den Uyl used this reference to Proverbs 11:14 in 1973 when he introduced his new cabinet. The phrase is still popular nowadays, and is often invoked in times when political leadership is found wanting.

In the Jaarboek Parlementaire Geschiedenis 2011 historians, (former) politicians, political scientists and other experts try to answer the question if classic political and ideological concepts, such as liberalism, social-democracy and Christian democracy can still offer perspective nowadays. The book also contains a chronicle of the past parliamentary year, an interview with the leader of the social-democratic Partij van de Arbeid (PvdA) Mr Job Cohen, obituaries of politicians and reviews of new books in the field of politics and political history.

Mrs. Verbeet argued in her speech that the ideal parliament should form a close representation of the composition of society as a whole. Thus, people with lower levels of education, but with much life experience, should be able to obtain a seat in the parliament. 'It will give them the feeling that parliament exists not only for them, but also consists of them.' Her words received much attention in the Dutch newspapers. Other speakers at the presentation were the president of the Foundation for Parliamentary History, Mr Thom de Graaf and Professor of Dutch and European Constitutional Law and former Minister of Justice, Ernst Hirsch Ballin.

The Jaarboek Parlementaire Geschiedenis, produced by the Center for Parliamentary History (CPG) in Nijmegen, appears every year on the third Tuesday in November (i.e. exactly two months after the official opening of the parliamentary year in the Netherlands). The first Yearbook was published in 1999. Topical subjects or events often form the binding theme of the various articles and contributions. In 2010, for example, the central theme was the 'establishment and perception of truth' within a parliamentary/political context. In 2009 'moments of crisis' formed the focal point of the Yearbook.

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