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Collective organisation of knowledge in the early phase of the Dutch- Friesian dairy industry (c. 1880-1914)


  • Marijn Molema

    (Dutch-Flemish Research School for Economic and Social History)


During the last quarter of the nineteenth century, science and technology opened up new avenues for dairy farmers. Improved techniques for measuring the percentage of fat content in milk and new mechanical production processes had a considerable influence on the dairy production system. However, knowledge was essential to make the most of these opportunities. Historians have offered diverse explanations for the implementation of a knowledge infrastructure within pre-existing dairy networks. Some studies have emphasized the role of individual actors, while others focused on the influence of cooperative structures. This article contributes to the latter and adds a geographical dimension to the organizational history of dairy knowledge. Based on research in archives and newspapers, it investigates two knowledge institutions in the Dutch province of Friesland: a dairy consultancy and a dairy school, both founded in 1889. The conclusion is that the implementation of knowledge institutions was encouraged by the interplay between regional initiatives and national economic policies.

Suggested Citation

  • Marijn Molema, 2017. "Collective organisation of knowledge in the early phase of the Dutch- Friesian dairy industry (c. 1880-1914)," Historia Agraria. Revista de Agricultura e Historia Rural, Sociedad Española de Historia Agraria, issue 73, pages 91-118, december.
  • Handle: RePEc:seh:journl:y:2017:i:73:m:december:p:91-118

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bjørn Asheim, 2012. "The Changing Role of Learning Regions in the Globalizing Knowledge Economy: A Theoretical Re-examination," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(8), pages 993-1004, June.
    2. Henriksen, Ingrid & Lampe, Markus & Sharp, Paul, 2011. "The role of technology and institutions for growth: Danish creameries in the late nineteenth century," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 15(03), pages 475-493, December.
    3. Ingrid Henriksen & Eoin McLaughlin & Paul Sharp, 2015. "Contracts and cooperation: the relative failure of the Irish dairy industry in the late nineteenth century reconsidered," European Review of Economic History, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(4), pages 412-431.
    4. Markus Lampe & Paul Sharp, 2014. "Greasing the wheels of rural transformation? Margarine and the competition for the British butter market," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 67(3), pages 769-792, August.
    5. repec:cge:wacage:2016 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Thomas Depecker & Nathalie Joly, 2015. "Agronomists and accounting. The beginnings of capitalist rationalisation on the farm (1800-1850)," Historia Agraria. Revista de Agricultura e Historia Rural, Sociedad Española de Historia Agraria, issue 65, pages 75-94, april.
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    More about this item


    dairy chain; knowledge networks; agricultural history; the Netherlands;

    JEL classification:

    • N43 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N53 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N93 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • O43 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Institutions and Growth


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