Science shops were established (it throughout the Netherlands in the earlY 1970s with the avowed aim of democratizing science and contributing to social change, During the past few years, science shops have met with significant challenges. For one thing, they have had to adapt to various changes directly associated with the Dutch political climate, the organization of higher education, national research policies, and so on. Moreover they have faced serious financial cutbacks. In their efforts to address these challenges, science shops have adopted various approaches,some of which have turned out to be more successful than others. Usually, the differences between the individual Dutch science shops are described and understood only in pragmatic terms, with respect to their internal organization and practices. This article, by contrast, argues that the different ways of coping with change should be understood as reflecting divergent, yet unarticulated, answers to the question of how science and technology can or should be democratized.