The Nationalization of Unemployment Insurance as a Process of Exclusion. Foreign Workers in Labor Union Unemployment Funds in the Netherlands (c. 1890-1940)

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, labour unions in The Netherlands, like in many other Western European countries, established mutual unemployment insurance funds for their membership. In some cases, these funds were not only accessible for Dutch workers, but also for permanent, temporary, and cross-border foreign workers, especially from Belgium, Germany, and Great Britain. The foreign workers could become a permanent member and/or transfer their membership of a fund in their native country to a Dutch fund without losing insurance rights. When as from the beginning of the twentieth century Dutch municipalities and as from 1914 the Dutch national state began to subsidize and regulate the labour funds, the foreign workers were gradually excluded from membership. In the paper, the consequences of these simultaneous processes of ‘nationalization’, inclusion and exclusion for the foreign workers, the union funds and the emerging Dutch social security system are explored.