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Poldermodel is a Dutch term for an approach in which efforts are made to reach a broad national (or local) consensus on important issues.

It is said that the name and model derive from a feature of the Dutch landscape.

A polder is land behind a dike.

As far back as the Middle Ages, people who lived behind dikes had to cooperate with each other whenever there was a danger of flooding. After all, they were (then and now) living several feet below sea-level.

Such cooperation took place regardless of personal differences, lifestyle, or religious views.

The term poldermodel is part and parcel of Dutch culture. It is used in politics, business, and all kinds of situations in which people will have to work together in spite of their differences.

See also: gedogen, and Why is Amsterdam so tolerant?

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This post was last updated: Jan. 5, 2017