During the last month, three mid-level academic friends, all accomplished Humanities types, from Netherlands and Belgium told me their stories. They are all in permanent positions at three different universities not far from their home towns, and they all have very respectable, international CVs; each publishes in leading journals and with leading presses. They are dedicated teachers (two have won teaching awards), and true scholars: they publish original, quirky research. I am always happy to read their work, which is solid and penetrating. (I consider one an academic mentor, and I am sure that one of the others could land a position in a top research department Stateside if family commitments didn't get in the way.) I know hundreds of young scholars that wish they could be them. Yet all three have experienced humiliating practices leveled at them. I think what happened to them is not local bad luck, but a feature of a general, terrible trend. It's an unsexy problem because it does not involve ordinary academic exploitation (low salaries, scant job-prospects, etc), but it is emblematic for the corrosion of academic values in local universities. I am pretty sure that this is a trend in all places where 'research' is funded via 'grants', but I am open to correction.
The situation is getting so bad, that only if you are a 'do-not-rock-the-boat-above-average-work-habits-type' and too happy to do 'me-too-research-that-looks exciting,'* you should probably avoid a career as a scholar in the Low Countries. You will avoid my friends' fate only if (a) you are lucky enough to be a grant-making star, or (b) you get lucky that your local academic technocrats resist the incentives that are thrown at them and try to maintain the sense that each permanent member of a university ought, if they are willing and capable, to contribute to research.
Two of my friends 'lost' all their 'research-time' in cost-saving measures during financial reorganizations, which is when their quasi-civil-servant-contracts can be renogotiated in artificially engineered financial crises, by their local faculties. (In one case this involved a serious pay-cut, too.) In practice, this means that their teaching load was (at least) doubled, so that they now teach community-college-style teaching loads. I'll mention the third after a brief explanation.