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This article reconsiders the driving forces behind the active role of Dutch courts in the early development of European law by analysing the histories of the 1962 Bosch and 1963 Van Gend en Loos preliminary references. The legal context of these path‐breaking references and their crucial impact on the development of a constitutional doctrine in European law are evident. Yet for understanding the emergence of the cases, their political and economic contexts need to be added to the well‐known favourable constitutional settlement from which they arose. Adding contingency to the narrative of the Netherlands as the proverbial ‘good European’, this article reports how the pavement for the ‘road to Luxembourg’ was made up of materials as diverse as an open stance towards international law, a black market in electronic equipment, and a dispute on the definition of Harnstoffharz.