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Keywords:

  • political arithmetic;
  • national accounts as a tool for planning and modelling;
  • Dutch School of National Accounting;
  • Dutch national accounts practice;
  • role of Europe and the international guidelines on national accounting

Since the start of modern national accounting in the 1930s, the Netherlands has played a dominant role in the development of the national accounts. This paper discusses the origins and development of the Dutch national accounts. This includes the surprisingly slow start of political arithmetic in the Netherlands, the views of van Cleeff and Tinbergen on planning and national accounting, the role of Derksen and Oomens as fathers of the Dutch national accounts, the Dutch School of National Accounting, the interaction with national statistics and the role of the international guidelines and the European Union. The paper also takes a look into the future. The major challenges are to bridge the gap with data users and to increase relevance by, e.g. extended accounts, long-term time series on government finance and modules on education, health care and social security.