The Dutch see Red: (in)formal science advisory bodies during the COVID-19 pandemic

Janne Aarts, Eva Gerth, David Ludwig, Harro Maat, Phil Macnaghten*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


We analyse the roles, dynamics and logic of science advice in structuring the Dutch response to the COVID-19 pandemic, from January 2020 to December 2020. We address how the Dutch government responded by paying attention to styles of governance and expert advice. We argue that the Dutch response was shaped by the interplay of corporatist, deliberative and neoliberal forms of governance, in particular, how early corporatist tendencies seemed to create consensus during the first phase of the pandemic but quickly led to criticism and tension, most visibly at the onset of the second wave, as corporatist and neoliberal responses conflicted with deliberative and pluralist political engagement. Situating different science advisory bodies in this dynamic, we highlight how science–policy interactions and conflicts that evolved with the dynamics of the pandemic can be understood within this triad and as reflective broadly of the endurance of the Dutch model of polder governance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number464
JournalHumanities and Social Sciences Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 24 Dec 2022


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