Re-Minding the Dutch Verward van Geest is commended because of its careful, balanced, detailed, meticulously researched, and comprehensive approach of the development of the psychiatric profession in the Netherlands. The authors relate Dutch developments to initiatives abroad, some of which were taken up by Dutch psychiatrists and developed further. The development of the extensive network of out-patient mental health facilities in particular, which makes the Dutch system stand apart from that of most others, receives a lot of attention.
Unfortunately, the history of psychiatry in the former Dutch colonial empire is not covered. The study is applauded for providing a wealth of material that could give a new impulse to discussions about the nature of mental health in the Netherlands, such as the following: How are supply and demand in mental health care related to each other? Do individuals with a lower socio-economic status have adequate access to care? How did the relationship between biological, social, and psychological approaches to mental illness and individual distress change over time?
This review is part of the discussion forum 'Verward van geest en ander ongerief' (H. Oosterhuis, M. Gijswijt-Hofstra).