chapter  3
Pitched Battles: Dutch Improvised Music, Authorities and Strategies
ByLoes Rusch
Pages 19

The idea of “repressive tolerance” as a political strategy is found in New Babylon (1995), a study of cultural change in the 1960s’ Netherlands, in which American historian James Kennedy argues that the elites, by accommodating countercultural activism, smoothed the path for further cultural transformation in the Netherlands, consequently playing a leading role in these processes. In this view, the countercultural activism during the 1960s and beginning of the 1970s was hedged in by politicians of the catholic Katholieke Volkspartij (KVP)

and the protestant Anti-Revolutionaire Partij (ARP), liberal and confessional parties that dominated Dutch policy-making during the period. “The country,” Kennedy argues:

owed its tolerant and progressive climate, paradoxically, to an amorphous group of cautious leaders who were so concerned about maintaining a grip on developments that they permitted, even encouraged, patterns of behavior seldom countenanced elsewhere. Thus, the most important agent of cultural change was a class of people from whom great change was least expected.3