- During the Republic, the responsibility for the care of the “poor” (invalids, widows, orphans, and the elderly) rested with the churches. Public authorities intervened only when help or disci pline were required for those who could not be relegated to their place of origin (e.g., foreigners). As of the Middle Ages, almshouses, hospitals, and orphanages were commonplace; in the 17th century, houses of correction appeared; and at the end of the 18th century, workhouses were introduced. In the early 1800s, thousands of poor people from the cities, together with beggars and vagrants, were transported to wastelands in the provinces of Overijssel and Dren the for farming and colonization. All these initiatives had no lasting effect. Although the Poor Law of 1854 reinforced the role of the churches in poor relief, the state became more active by the end of the 19th century. State assistance for the poor was secured by law in 1963.
Historical Dictionary of the Netherlands. EdwART. 2012.
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