Conducts research and collects data on the global history of labour, workers, and labour relations

Family formation and living strategies in the western parts of the Netherlands 1830-1940 (GBW)

Jan Kok carries out this study on family formation and living strategies in the western parts of The Netherlands. The research is focussed on Rotterdam, Amsterdam, rural Noord-Holland and Utrecht. The project is financed by the NWO fund for international joint projects (file number 245-53-001). The research is part of a comparative project, called 'Population and Society in Taiwan and the Netherlands', which compares family formations in different cultural and economical settings. It started in July 1998, and is a joint project from Academia Sinica (Taiwan), Stanford University (USA), the Radboud University Nijmegen and the International Institute of Social History.

The project is focussed on testing the Hajnal thesis about distinctive marriage patterns in the world. According to Hajnal, by being capable of regulating the size of the population in relation to the means of existence, the population of pre-industrial Western Europe differed from the rest of the world. This was done by delaying marriage and celibacy. As a result, population growth was under partial control. The project tries to test and refine the thesis in new ways. Research is done the same way in both the Netherlands and Taiwan. The comparative research is focussed on specific material conditions for marriage and family making, like intergenerational transference of possessions.

The HSN is building the necessary database for this research, based on 300 marriages in Akersloot between 1830-1890. All 300 persons, including offspring, are being searched in the population registers and marriage certificates, irrespective of the place one settled down in the Netherlands. Additionally, Jan Kok uses the HSN database for broader research questions, and to test de representativeness of the Akersloot database. Input of the data of the first generation started August 2000. In 2003, the data entry process was almost finished. Results were presented at the workshop Positive or Preventive? Reproduction in Taiwan and The Netherlands (15-17 December) at the Academia Sinica Taipei in Taiwan. Here, Jan Kok gave two lectures: 'Burden or opportunity? Illigitimate births in The Netherlands and Taiwan' (with Hill Gaters and Sping Wang) and 'Marital fertility and birth control in rural Netherlands and Taiwan, 19th and early 20th centuries' (with Wen-shan Yang and Ying-hui Hsieh).