The sintering behavior of symmetric laminates has been experimentally measured and modeled. Two cases are distinguished: (i) sintering of a viscous layer between viscous substrates and (ii) sintering of a viscous layer between elastic substrates. A simple model based on a persisting isotropic microstructure allowed computation of developing in-plane stresses. These in conjunction with a viscous Poisson's coefficient were taken to predict out-of-plane stresses and finally densification rate. This approach, however, proved unsuccessful to predict the large observed differences in densification rate between laminates constrained by either green or dense alumina substrates. The discrepancy was found to be due to widely different microstructures developing with different degrees of elastic constraint. Pore area and pore and particle orientation were determined to quantify these microstructural changes.