Organizing Space: Dutch Space Science Between Astronomy, Industry, and the Government

  • David BanekeEmail author
Part of the Palgrave Studies in the History of Science and Technology book series (PSHST)


This paper analyzes how scientists, private companies and the government in the Netherlands cooperated in the creation of the new field of space research. It examines especially the role of Philips Electronics and Fokker Aircraft, and the consequences of their different structure and corporate identities for their involvement in space projects. It also highlights the importance of management knowledge in addition to scientific and technological skill. Finally, I provide insights into the backgrounds of the new innovation policy of the 1980s and 1990s. The policy was supposed to stimulate new ways of cooperation between science and industry, but at the same time, it meant the end of some older forms of academic-industrial collaboration.


Space science Systems management Astronomy Philips Fokker Industrial research Research management The Netherlands 



This chapter is based on research that was supported by a Guggenheim Fellowship at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC and an NWO grant at the VU University of Amsterdam. I thank David DeVorkin, Frans van Lunteren, Harm Habing, and the editors of this volume for their helpful comments and suggestions.


  1. Baggen, P., J. Faber, and E. Homburg. 2003. Opkomst van een kennismaatschappij. In Techniek in Nederland in de twintigste eeuw VII: Techniek en modernisering: balans van de twintigste eeuw, ed. J.W. Schot, H.W. Lintsen, A. Rip, and A.A. Albert de la Bruhèze, 141–173. Zutphen: Walburg Pers.Google Scholar
  2. Baneke, David. 2010. Teach and travel: Leiden Observatory and the renaissance of Dutch astronomy in the interwar years. Journal for the History of Astronomy xli: 167–198.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Baneke, David. 2014. Space for ambitions: The Dutch space program in changing European and transatlantic contexts. Minerva 52: 119–140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Blanken, I.J. 2002. Een industriële wereldfederatie: Geschiedenis van Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V., vol. V. Zaltbommel: Europese Bibliotheek.Google Scholar
  5. Boersma, Kees. 2002. Inventing structures for industrial research: A history of the Philips NatLab 1914–1946. Amsterdam: Aksant.Google Scholar
  6. Casimir, H.B.G. 1958. Voorzieningen ten behoeve van de research binnen de faculteiten der wis- en natuurkunde der Nederlandse universiteiten. The Hague: Staatsdrukkerij- en Uitgeverijbedrijf.Google Scholar
  7. Collins, H., R. Evans, and M. Gorman. 2007. Trading zones and interactional expertise. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 38: 657–666.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Dalum, Bent, Björn Johnson, and Bengt-Åke Lundvall. 1992. Public policy in the learning society. In National systems of innovation: Towards a theory of innovation and interactive learning, ed. Bengt-Åke Lundvall. London/New York: Pinter.Google Scholar
  9. de Boer, Harry, and Jeroen Huisman. 1999. The new public management in Dutch universities. In Towards a new model of governance for universities? ed. D. Braun and F.X. Merrien, 100–118. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.Google Scholar
  10. de Jager, Kees. 2009. ANS, de eerste Nederlandse satelliet. Zenit, p. 465.Google Scholar
  11. de Kort, Niek. 2003. Ruimteonderzoek: de horizon voorbij. Amsterdam: Natuur & Techniek.Google Scholar
  12. de Vries, Marc. 2005. 80 years of research at the Philips Natuurkundig Laboratorium 1914–1994. Amsterdam: Pallas Publications.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Deterink, A.A.M., et al. 1997. Onderzoek naar de oorzaak van het faillissement van Fokker. Deventer: Kluwer.Google Scholar
  14. Dierikx, Marc. 2004. Uit de lucht gegrepen: Fokker als Nederlandse droom, 1945–1996. Amsterdam: Boom.Google Scholar
  15. Edgerton, David. 2004. The ‘linear model’ did not exist: Reflections on the history and historiography of science and research in industry in the twentieth century. In The science—industry nexus: History, policy, implications, ed. Karl Grandin and Nina Wormbs. New York: Watson.Google Scholar
  16. Edqvist, Olle. 2003. Layered science and science policies. Minerva 41: 207–221.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Elbers, Astrid. 2012. The establishment of the new field of radio astronomy in the post-war Netherlands: A search for allies and funding. Centaurus 54: 265–285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Etzkowitz, Henry. 2003. Innovation in innovation: The Triple Helix of university-industry-government relations. Social Science Information 42: 293–337.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Etzkowitz, Henry, and Loet Leydesdorff. 2000. The dynamics of innovation: From national systems and ‘Mode 2’ to a Triple Helix of university-industry-government relations. Research Policy 29: 109–123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Flipse, A. 2012. ‘Geen weelde, maar een offer’. De band tussen Vrije Universiteit en achterban, 1880–1950. In Universiteit, Publiek en Politiek, ed. L.J. Dorsman and P.J. Knegtmans, 67–82. Hilversum: Verloren.Google Scholar
  21. Galison, Peter, and Bruce Hevly (eds.). 1992. Big science: The growth of large-scale research. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Gibbons, Michael, Camille Limoges, Helga Nowotny, Simon Schwartzman, Peter Scott, and Martin Trow. 1994. The new production of knowledge: The dynamics of science and research in contemporary societies. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  23. GROC. Papers of the Geophysics and Space Research Committee. Amsterdam: Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences.Google Scholar
  24. Heijmans, H.G. 1994. Wetenschap tussen universiteit en industrie: de experimentele natuurkunde in Utrecht onder W.H. Julius en L.S. Ornstein 1896–1940. Rotterdam: Erasmus Publishing.Google Scholar
  25. Hoeneveld, F., and J. van Dongen. 2013. Out of a clear blue sky? FOM, the bomb and the boost in Dutch physics funding after World War II. Centaurus 55: 264–293.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hollestelle, Marijn. 2011. Paul Ehrenfest: Worstelingen met de Moderne Wetenschap, 1912–1933. Leiden: Leiden University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Johnson, Stephen. 2002. The secret of Apollo: Systems management in the American and European space programs. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Kersten, Albert. 1996. Een organisatie van en voor onderzoekers: ZWO 1947–1988. Assen: Van Gorcum.Google Scholar
  29. Krige, John. 2006a. American hegemony and the postwar reconstruction of science in Europe. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  30. Krige, John. 2006b. Technology, foreign policy, and international cooperation in space. In Critical issues in the history of spaceflight, ed. Steven J. Dick and Roger D. Launius, 239–260. Washington, DC: NASA.Google Scholar
  31. Krige, John. 2010. Building the arsenal of knowledge. Centaurus 52(4): 280–296.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Krige, John, and Arturo Russo. 2000. A history of the European Space Agency 1958–1987, vol. I: The story of ESRO and ELDO 1958–1973. Noordwijk: ESA.Google Scholar
  33. Langford, Cooper H., and Martha Whitney Langford. 2000. The evolution of rules for access to megascience research environments viewed from Canadian experience. Research Policy 29: 169–179.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Lundin, Per, Niklas Stenlås, and Johan Gribbe. 2010. Science for welfare and warfare: Technology and state initiative in Cold War Sweden. Sagamore Beach: Science History Publications.Google Scholar
  35. Muller, Ed (ed.). 1997. 50 jaar Nederlands Instituut voor Vliegtuigontwikkeling en Ruimtevaart. Katwijk aan Zee: Satellite Services.Google Scholar
  36. NA. National Archives, The Hague.Google Scholar
  37. Nowotny, Helga, Peter Scott, and Michael Gibbons. 2003. Introduction: ‘Mode 2’ revisited: The new production of knowledge. Minerva 41: 179–194.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. PCA. Philips Company Archives, Eindhoven.Google Scholar
  39. Pestre, Dominique. 2003. Regimes of knowledge production in society: Towards a more political and social reading. Minerva 41: 245–261.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Scranton, Philip. 2006. Technology, science and American innovation. Business History 48: 311–331.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Smith, Robert W. 1989. The space telescope: A study of NASA, science, technology, and politics. Cambridge/New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  42. Spaa, J.H. 1975. Enige konklusies uit het ANS-projekt vanuit het Philips standpunt. Philips Company Archives, file 821:921.94 no. 4.Google Scholar
  43. Sullivan, Woodruff T. 2000. Kapteyns influence on the style and content of twentieth century Dutch astronomy. In The legacy of J.C. Kapteyn: Studies on Kapteyn and the development of modern astronomy, ed. P.C. van der Kruit and K. van Berkel, 229–264. Dordrecht: Kluwer.Google Scholar
  44. Sullivan, Woodruff T. 2009. Cosmic noise: A history of early radio astronomy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  45. Tucker, Wallace, and Karen Tucker. 1986. The cosmic inquirers: Modern telescopes and their makers. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. van Berkel, Klaas. 2011. De stem van de wetenschap: geschiedenis van de Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen, vol. 2. Amsterdam: Uitgeverij Bert Bakker.Google Scholar
  47. van de Hulst, Henk. 1992. Seizing opportunities: Some comments on the Dutch national space science programme of the sixties and seventies. In Science beyond the atmosphere: The history of space research in Europe, ed. Arturo Russo, 125–138. Noordwijk: ESA.Google Scholar
  48. van Helvoort, Ton. 2005. De KNAW tussen wetenschap en politiek: de positive van de scheikunde in de Akademie in naoorlogs Nederland. Amsterdam: KNAW.Google Scholar
  49. van Otterloo, P. 1973. Management aspecten van het ANS project. Philips Company Archives, file 821:921.94 no. 4.Google Scholar
  50. Waldrop, Mitchell. 1983. Infrared astronomy satellite. Science 220(4604): 1365–1368.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Utrecht UniversityUtrechtNetherlands

Personalised recommendations