To increase understanding of the cross-border transfer of ideas through a case study of the 2007 German health reform, this article draws on Kingdon's approach of streams and follows two main objectives: first, to understand the extent to which the German health reform was actually influenced by the Dutch model and, second, in theoretical terms, to inform inductively on how ideas from abroad enter government agendas. The results show that the streams of problem recognition and policy proposals have not been predominantly influenced by the cross-border transfer of ideas from the Netherlands to Germany. The Dutch experience was taken into consideration only after a policy window opened by a shift in politics in the third, the political, stream: the change of government in 2005. In many respects, the way Germany learned from the Netherlands in this case sharply contrasts with an image of solving policy problems by either lesson drawing or transnational deliberation. Instead, the process was dominated by problem solving in the sphere of politics, that is, finding a way to prove the grand coalition was capable of acting.

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