Democratic Socialists '70

The Democratic Socialists '70 (Dutch: Democratisch Socialisten '70, DS'70) was a social-democratic[9] political party in the Netherlands.

Democratic Socialists '70
Democratisch Socialisten '70
LeaderWillem Drees Jr.
Ruud Nijhof
ChairpersonJan van Stuijvenberg
Fred Polak
Mauk de Brauw
Henk Staneke
Zalman Hartog
Founded4 April 1970; 51 years ago (1970-04-04)
Dissolved15 January 1983; 38 years ago (1983-01-15)
Split fromLabour Party
Youth wingSociaal-Demokratisch Jongeren Aktief (SDJA)
ThinktankStichting Wetenschappelijk Instituut DS'70
Social conservatism[2][3]
Social democracy[4]
Social liberalism[5]
Political positionCentre[6] to centre-left[7][8]
Colours  Purple


DS'70 was founded on 4 April 1970 as the result of a split from the Labour Party (PvdA). In June 1970, Frans Goedhart and Wybrand Schuitemaker, two members of the House of Representatives, left the PvdA and became members of DS'70 because of the anti-American position the PvdA had taken in the Vietnam War. They had previously been frustrated by its cooperation with other left-wing parties such as the Pacifist Socialist Party and its left-wing fiscal policy. In its declaration of principles (Beginselverklaring), DS'70 argued that whilst the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) lacked the comprehension of the necessity of social and economic reforms, the PvdA had acquired "anarchist" and unrealistic pacifist aspirations.[10]

In the 1971 general election, the party won eight seats in parliament. After the elections, the party cooperated in the first Biesheuvel cabinet, together with the VVD, Anti Revolutionary Party (ARP), Christian Historical Union (CHU) and Catholic People's Party (KVP). The party supplied two ministers and two junior ministers, among them the party leader, Willem Drees jr, who became minister of Transport and Water Works. In 1972, the cabinet fell because of the opposition of DS'70 to the proposed budget. DS'70 ministers refused to accept budget cuts in their own departments. In the 1972 election, the party lost two seats, and it was confined to opposition to the PvdA-headed Den Uyl cabinet.

Shortly after its foundation, two factions developed within DS'70, namely the social-democratic faction led by Jan van Stuijvenberg and the anti-communist faction led by Frans Goedhart. In 1975 this division led to a conflict. The party leader Willem Drees Jr. was seen as conservatively social-democratic, lacking a willingness to reform and the ability to oppose the Den Uyl cabinet fiercely. However, Drees won the conflict, and a group of prominent members left the party. In the 1977 general election the party was left with only one seat which it lost at the 1981 general election. In 1983, the party was officially dissolved.


DS'70 saw itself as a social-democratic party. Its founders thought that the mainstream Dutch social-democratic party PvdA was becoming too radical in its economic and international policy and that the New Left was having too great an impact on the PvdA. DS'70 was a fiercely anti-communist party. It supported the American involvement in Vietnam, NATO cooperation and a strong defence policy.

The party was economically liberal, supporting a balanced budget. It also supported strong economic growth. One of its main issues was battling inflation, therefore the party wanted to restrict government spending and implement the principle of profit for many government services.

The DS'70 was critical towards immigration; the party wanted to restrict the migration of Dutch citizens from Surinam. However, DS'70 was progressive on other issues: The party did support a modern natural environmental policy with strong public transport and restrained automobile use. It thought that economic growth and sustainability were compatible.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the party became more socially conservative, emphasizing family values and civic society. However, the party still saw itself as a social-democratic party focusing on solidarity and community solutions.

Linked organisationsEdit

DS'70 lacked the links with other societal organisations that many Dutch parties had. The party magazine was called Political Bulletin of DS'70, and since 1978 Buitenhof (Outer Court, in contrast with the Inner Court, the nickname of the buildings of the Dutch parliament and government). Its youth organisation was the Social Democratic Youth Active.

Important figuresEdit

Willem Drees Jr. was party leader between 1971 and 1977. He was minister of Transport and Water Works and lijsttrekker (top candidate) in the 1971, 1972 and 1977 elections. Drees lost the last two elections and was criticized for his alleged solistic behaviour and lack of charisma. He was the son of former Prime Minister Willem Drees. His father left the PvdA during the 1970s, but he did not join his son's party. At the beginning of the 1980s, the famous Dutch chess player Max Euwe featured as a DS'70 lijstduwer in the elections for the House of Representatives.


The party was supported by former PvdA, VVD and Democrats 66 voters and undecided voters. The party was mainly supported by middle-class voters (e.g. civil servants). Unlike other left-wing parties, the DS'70 scored particularly well in more prosperous municipalities. In 1972 the party scored its best result in Rozendaal (10.5%), where the DS'70 was almost bigger than the PvdA. In municipalities such as Wassenaar, De Bilt and Naarden the party also performed above average.


  1. ^ Andeweg, R. and G. Irwin Politics and Governance in the Netherlands, Basingstoke (Palgrave) p.49
  2. ^ Vingerling en Schouten, pp. 274-275 e.v.
  3. ^ G. Voerman: Een geval van politieke schizofrenie. Het gespleten gedachtegoed van DS'70 in: Jaarboek Documentatiecentrum Nederlandse Politieke Partijen 1990, uitgegeven in 1991, pp. 100 e.v. Vgl. met name de uitspraken van vicevoorzitter J.H. Gootjes op p. 102 (noten 36, 37)
  4. ^ Vingerling en Schouten, p. 270 e.v.
  5. ^ Vingerling en Schouten, p. 275 e.v. Door DS'70 werd de synthese tussen "socialisme" en "liberalisme" omschreven met de term "sociale democratie." Hier moet echter worden opgemerkt dat er binnen DS'70 meer aandacht was voor de gemeenschap en het dienende karakter van het individu binnen het collectief dan gebruikelijk is binnen het sociaalliberalisme.
  6. ^ H. Vingerling en C.C. Schouten: Democratisch Socialisten '70. Nevenstroom in de sociaal-democratie" (proefschrift), 2003, p. 269, pp. 450-451. In het betoog van de auteurs in de voorafgaande twaalf bladzijden is dat DS'70 links van de VVD staat en rechts van de PvdA, maar dat de partij in de latere jaren steeds verder naar rechts opschoof.
  7. ^ Josep M. Colomer (24 July 2008). Comparative European Politics. Taylor & Francis. p. 221f. ISBN 978-0-203-94609-1. Retrieved 13 July 2013.
  8. ^ Score 4.0/10 in 2003 Chapel Hill expert survey, see Hooghe et al. (2003) Chapel Hill Survey
  9. ^ Peter Starke; Alexandra Kaasch; Franca Van Hooren (7 May 2013). The Welfare State as Crisis Manager: Explaining the Diversity of Policy Responses to Economic Crisis. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 193–. ISBN 978-1-137-31484-0.
  10. ^