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This article intends to show that while the strong VET-labour market link has a long tradition in the Netherlands and likely maintains strong in the future, the dynamics that substantiate this link, especially in terms of institutional arrangement have seen a radical shift in the last decades. To explore the shifts we make use of Rageth and Renold (2020) model of three ideal types of linkages between education and employment system and the ideas concerning vocational and academic drift (Hippach-Schneider, 2014; Cedefop, 2017, 2020). This article is based on a literature review and case studies conducted in recent years on the Dutch system in the context of various (European) research projects. The article concludes that while the ownership for VET of the employment system decreased, the VET schools, due to the high level of autonomy and institutional capacities, were effectively able to install cooperation mechanism, joint delivery mechanisms in VET programmes and effective feedback mechanisms. The article shows that powerbalancing on VET content and supporting vocational drift does not necessarily require powerbalancing institutionally. In doing so, the article offers reflections to other countries’ VET systems on how to balance education and labour market systems in the determination of the VET content and the governance of the VET system.

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