The European flexicurity concept and the Dutch and Danish flexicurity models: How have they managed the Great Recession?

Sonja Bekker*, Mikkel Mailand

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


In the mid-2000s, the flexicurity concept was developed into a key EU policy concept. It drew its inspiration from the Danish and Dutch practices to combine labor market flexibility and security. However, the crisis' focus on bringing down national deficits and debts left little room to advance the concept. Lately, more emphasis has been placed on the need to take into consideration the social aspect of economic policy-making. Current EU level documents see flexicurity as a guidance for structural reforms. However, the European flexicurity initiatives seem never to have had much impact in Denmark and the Netherlands. There are few accounts of the recent adjustment to the flexicurity models, be it at the EU or at national levels. Therefore, this article assesses the fate of flexicurity by scrutinizing its (adjusted) use as a political concept as well as a socio-economic model. Although the Danish flexicurity model resembles the European flexicurity concept to a large extent, recent reforms have, overall, weakened rather than strengthened the flexicurity model. The Dutch flexicurity model has a narrower focus on normalizing atypical work, while recent reforms support this narrow flexicurity model. Meanwhile, the EU level concept has been changing every year, encompassing a growing number of issues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)142-155
Number of pages14
JournalSocial Policy and Administration
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019


  • Denmark
  • EU level
  • flexicurity
  • Great Recession
  • the Netherlands

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