In the first decade of the new millennium, the Dutch government undertook various initiatives to interfere with history education. Obviously, politicians and the larger public expect historians to accommodate them with a clear and recognizable picture of national history. But that is easier said than done. Moreover, it is questionable whether this is even desirable. To reach an agreement for all citizens in a country on what history should be taught in primary and secondary schools is impossible, because of the ideological and political views of every content selection. Denying these differences would undermine history as a critical discipline and its potential function for democracy. No less difficult is reaching an agreement about the objectives of history teaching. Some scholars assume that the recent disputes about history education in the Netherlands are closely linked to the public concern about national identity. In their view policy makers consider the fostering of national cohesion and the promotion of a shared sense of being Dutch important objectives of history teaching, hence the content constructed focus on national history. That is partly true. There are at least two other, underestimated reasons: the alienation between historical scholarship and history education, and the vulnerable position of history as a school subject. In this contribution I explore to what extent this alienation is one of the underlying causes of the controversies in the Netherlands. I start with a short outline of the Dutch historical context of history education. Next I will discuss the main controversies since the late 1990s, focusing on the debates about the construction, contents and implementation of the canon.