Netherlands : An ‘Echternach’ Procession in Different Directions: Oscillating Steps Towards Reform

Donald F. Westerheijden, Harry F. de Boer, Jürgen Enders

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The annual procession in the Luxemburg town of Echternach is famous for its laborious manner of reaching its end: two steps forward, one step back. In this paper, we will maintain that the policy of the Dutch government over the period of c.1982–2007 resembles an Echternach procession in reverse: every time it took two steps back from control over higher education, it took one step ahead again. It was not a random oscillation between the two extremes NPM and NG, but the trend certainly was not linear either. We address policy developments in Dutch higher education and research in the last two and a half decades in order to explore shifts in governance of universities. Our aim is to elaborate upon the consequences of such shifts on doctoral training and on research funding for universities, for which extensive treatment of the general reforms in higher education and research are necessary. Based on the two concepts of NPM and NG, and as a result of the Echternach-like movements from one policy paper to the next regulation or the following instrument mix, concrete societal sub-systems or policy fields can now be understood as mixtures of the two In turning to the governance of university systems, we make use of already existing typologies of basic dimensions of the modes of coordination of this societal sub-sector. In the following, and in more detail than the two main ideal types that structure this book, we distinguish five modes of co-ordination: state regulation, stakeholder guidance, academic self-governance, managerial self-governance, and competition.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUniversity Governance
EditorsC. Paradeise, E. Reale, I. Bleiklie, E. Ferlie
Place of PublicationBerlin, Germany
Number of pages300
ISBN (Print)9781402086373
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Publication series

NameHigher Education Dynamics


  • IR-83199
  • METIS-250525


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