Until very recent times, family policy was not an explicit issue in the Netherlands. The family was always a central theme, yet not a subject of open discussion. In earlier times the cosy Dutch family culture was already well-known to other countries. As Plemper (1996) points out, this strongly inverted family culture is connected with the national heritage of the rich burghers of the seventeenth century, the so-called "Golden Age". In this upper-class culture women were not expected to join the labour market, but to perform voluntary charity work.