The internationalization of business is the subject of an extensive theoretical literature as well as a growing number of historical studies. Historians have paid relatively little attention to the development of multinationals in the service sector, and studies about international publishing are especially scarce. This article discusses the early internationalization of two Dutch publishing firms, Kluwer (nowWolters Kluwer) and Elsevier (now Reed Elsevier) and confronts these case histories with the evolutionary theory of internationalization. The Dutch cases underline the important role of experience, knowledge and learning as well as of the national context in which companies develop. They also show that these factors allow for very different trajectories of internationalization within the same branch of business and the same country.

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Keywords 20th century, Elsevier, Netherlands, Wolters Kluwer, internationalization, publishing
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Journal Enterprise and Society: the international journal of business and history
van Lente, D, & de Goey, F.M.M. (2008). Trajectories of internationalization: knowledge and national business styles in the making of two Dutch publishing multinationals, 1950-1990. Enterprise and Society: the international journal of business and history, 9(1), 165–202. doi:10.1093/es/khm078