Summary - TST 12


TST 12

Gijs Mom
Mobility for Pleasure; A Look at the Underside of Dutch Diffusion Curves (1920 – 1940)

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Key words: Dutch motorisation; Interbellum; pleasure side of mobility; European automobility; tourism; Americanization; bicycles; pillarization.

[ Abstract ]

This contribution tries to explain the motorisation of Dutch society until the Second World War. It argues that aggregate diffusion curves only provide a partial explanation and that the specificities of the Dutch motorisation process, set against a European background, should be explained on the basis of partial diffusion curves, related to subcultures of use and time periods. It also argues that to explain the post-war mass motorisation analysis of the preparatory Interbellum period is crucial. Thus, the initially weak motorisation, until the end of the Interbellum largely of an American character, but gradually turning to the German style, is explained by referring to the massive spread of bicycles and the ‘pillarized’ (religiously and ideologically segmented) character of Dutch society which emphasized collective leisure and tourism over individualized forms of mobility. In general, this contribution also adds to the general history of mobility in two respects: it argues that the pleasure side of mobility has been much more important than hitherto recognized, and the Dutch case provides evidence to suggest that the American ‘model’ of motorisation is only one (albeit a very important one) of several possible models.