Database of land ownership in Belgium, 1834-1961

The POPPKAD database brings together data on property and opens up this information about land ownership for scientific research. The data infrastructure makes use of the land registry, which has kept an inventory of real estate in Belgium since 1834.

Information sheet

Title: Database of land ownership in Belgium

Author: Ghent University with the exception of specific sub-collections

Population/Subject: Statistics at the municipal and plot level

Region: Belgium

Period: 1834-1961

Number of units: 540 000 people; 110 000 plots

Number of variables: 350

Format: CSV, XLS, PDF

Accessibility: No restrictions on top of the general terms and conditions of use of the Quetelet Center, with the exception of specific sub-collections where permission from the author is required.

Context of the database

Between 1842 and 1879, Philip-Christian Popp published a cadastral Atlas of Belgium. Today this work constitutes a first-rate source for anyone looking for hard facts about property and land ownership in the 19th century. The POPPKAD project ensured access to this extensive work with a view to a better understanding of ownership relations in the past. Among the project’s achievements is the compilation of a number of key statistics on land ownership and housing in Belgium from 1834 to 1961. POPPKAD was funded by the Hercules Foundation and Ghent University.

What data can you find in this database?

The database contains statistics on land use, land ownership and housing at the national level (1834-1961). In addition, property data per owner were entered for different regions and places (such as the Aalter region for 1858-1862 and the Brussels Region for 1858-1865). For the benefit of micro-research, plot plans were converted into geographic information systems and linked to the registry data of various places, including the cities of Bruges (1862), Brussels (1865) and Ostend (1834). The data have largely been derived from the plot plans and the property registers that P.C. Popp published in the 19th century. Wherever possible, the collection was enriched with other sources.

POPPKAD comprises several databases, including lists of landowners in more than 1 000 municipalities in Belgium. The lists of names are searchable and can be consulted online in combination with Popp maps and property registers on the project site: www.poppkad.ugent.be.

How can you consult data from the database?

POPPKAD is a research infrastructure of the Quetelet Center of Ghent University. The data collections are intended for scientific research. Those who are interested in using the database can contact the staff at the center (eric.vanhaute@ugent.be or sven.vrielinck@ugent.be).

Publications based on POPPKAD

  • Philips, Robin. Regional patterns of industrialisation in the Low Countries. PhD Dissertation, University of Utrecht, 2020.
  • De Vijlder, Nicolas and Koen Schoors. “Land rights, local financial development and industrial activity: evidence from Flanders (nineteenth–early twentieth century)”.  Cliometrica, 14(2020), 3: 507-50.

  • Beeckaert, Esther and Eric Vanhaute. “Whose famine? Regional differences in vulnerability and resilience during the 1840s potato famine in Belgium”, In: An Economic History of Famine Resilience, edited by Jessica Dijkman and Bas van Leeuwen, 115–41. New York: Routledge, 2020.

  • De Graef, Pieter and Wouter Ronsijn. “From home food production to professional farming: the social and geographical continuum of urban agriculture: nineteenth-century Oudenaarde and Kortrijk, Belgium“, in: Jahrbuch für Geschichte des ländlichen Raumes/Rural History Yearbook, 2019: 95-121.

  • Degraeve, Matthijs. “Vakmanschap in tijden van massaproductie: de Brusselse bouwnijverheid in de negentiende en twinstigste eeuw”, Tijd-Schrift 9, no. 1 (2019): 7-27.

  • Houben, Claudia. Achter de poort van de historische hoeve: hoe reconstrueer je de geschiedenis van een hoeve? Focus Hageland. Leuven:  Centrum Agrarische Geschiedenis, 2019.

  • Liénart, Joffrey. Inventaire des archives du fonds Gustave Hagemans 1830-2004. Bruxelles, Musées royaux d’Art et d’Histoire, 2019.

  • Aenderkerk, Reinhilde. “Project Poppkad: ontsluiting van de Popp-Kaarten”, Brugse Stam 51, no. 5 (2019): 3-6.

  • De Graef, Pieter. “Urban development and local food production. Ability and inability of feeding growing cities by urban agriculture, nineteenth-century industrialising Belgium”, In: Wouter Ronsijn, Niccoló Mignemi, and Laurent Herment (red.), Stocks, season and sales: food supply, storage and markets in Europe and the New World 1600-2000. Ghent, 2019: 147-79.

  • Ronsijn, Wouter. “Alternance d’effets de ciseaux dans l’espace rural de la Flandre intérieure, XVIIIe – XIX siècle”, in Histoire rurale de l’Europe, XVIe-XXe siècle, edited by Laurent Herment (ed.), 203-229.  Paris: EHESS, 2019.

  • Lindenthal, Thies, Matthijs Korevaar and Piet Eichholtz. “500 Years of Urban Rents, Housing Quality and Affordability”. University of Cambridge, Department of Land economy, Working Paper Series, 2019-1, 1-71.

  • Vrielinck, Sven. Grootse plannen: de kadastrale atlas van België van P.C. Popp: genese en datering (1840-1880). Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2018.
  • Van Roosbroeck, Filip, and Adam Sundberg. “Culling the herds? Regional divergences in rinderpest mortality in Flanders and South Holland, 1769-1785”. TSEG/ Low Countries Journal of Social and Economic History 14, no. 3 (2018): 31–55. 
  • Vannieuwenhuyze, Bram, and Hans Welens-Vrijdaghs. “Tussen feit en fictie: twee mysterieuze ondergrondse gangen in Brussel”. Wegen en waterwegen in Brabant in het ancien régime, Eigen Schoon en de Brabander  101, no. 3 (2018): 355-84.
  • De Graef, Pieter. “A Green Revolution from below? A social approach to fertiliser use in eighteenth-century Flanders”. Continuity and Change 32, no. 3 (2017): 379–410. 
  • Ronsijn, Wouter. “ ‘Gaining ground’ in Flanders after the 1840s: access to land and coping mechanisms of (semi-)landless households in Flanders, ca. 1850-1900”, Rural History Conference, 1–35. Leuven, 2017.
  • De Graef, Pieter. “Food from country to city, waste from city to country: an environmental symbiosis? Fertiliser improvement in eighteenth-century Flanders”. Journal for the History of Environment and Society 2 (2017): 25–61. 
  • Alfani, Guido, and Wouter Ryckbosch. “Growing apart in early modern Europe? A comparison of inequality trends in Italy and the Low Countries, 1500-1800”, Explorations in Economic History 62 (2016): 143-53.
  • Vervust, Soetkin. “Deconstructing the Ferraris maps (1770-1778) : a study of the map production process and its implications for geometric accuracy”. PhD diss., Universiteit Gent, 2016.
  • Ryckbosch, Wouter. “Economic inequality and growth before the Industrial Revolution: the case of the Low Countries (fourteenth to nineteenth Centuries)”. European Review of Economic History 20, no. 1 (2016): 1–22. 
  • Ryssaert, Caroline. Rob Paulussen, Joep Orbons, Arckens Marleen, Frederike Verbruggen en Ben Van Genechten. Een archeologische evaluatie en waardering van Bornem-Hingene, pastoor Huveneersheuvel (Bornem). Brussel: Agentschap Onroerend erfgoed, 2016. 
  • Ronsijn, Wouter. “The household, the labour market or the commodity market? Enabling the division of labour within proto-industries: the case of the Flemish linen industry during a period of decline (first half of nineteenth century)”. Working Paper Datini – Ester advanced seminar. The market and its agents. Parto: Istituto Internatzionale di Storia Economica F. Datini, 2015.
  • De Reu, Pieter. “De Vlaamse bouw en het varken aarde: keuterboeren onder druk in een kantelende samenleving (midden 19de eeuw)”. Appeltjes van het Meetjesland 66 (2015): 113-157.
  • Demuynck, Guido. “Datering, consultatie en gebruik van de Oost-Vlaamse Popp-kaarten en -leggers”. Vlaamse Stam. Tijdschrift voor Familiegeschiedenis 51 (2015): 361–72.
  • De Reu, Pieter. “Van abstracte belastingarchieven tot een dynamische vermogensanalyse: het voorbeeld van de vastgoedmarkt in het Oost-Vlaamse Eke (1795-1830)”, Jaarboek Heemkring Scheldeveld 45 (2015): 389-427.