The Quetelet Center for Quantitative Historical Research is an interfaculty and interdisciplinary service centre that offers advice and expertise on the use of historical data that can be studied statistically or in map form.

Researchers from all disciplines and the general public can come to us with questions about the use of quantitative and quantifiable sources on Belgium's past.

In the spotlight

GIS-Brussels, LOKSTAT, POPPKAD & HISTER / BLOG POST / SEPTEMBER 2020

In 1866, a severe cholera epidemic raged across Belgium. The city of Brussels was  hardest hit, with 3,469 deaths from the disease. During the epidemic, various kinds of statistical data were collected by the city council. The Quetelet Center has linked this information with some of its databases, and so succeeded in reconstructing the course of the epidemic in the capital and determining who its main victims were.

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HISSTER / BLOG POST / JUNE 2020

The excess mortality due to Covid-19 In Belgium made April 2020 the deadliest April month since World War II. In the past, common flu epidemics also caused increased mortality rates. Patrick Deboosere, demographer at the VUB’s Interface Demography, shows how these epidemics were dealt with in Belgium and uses figures from the HISSTER database.

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HISSTER & STREAM / PUBLICATION & VIDEO / MAY 2020

The coronavirus is currently spreading across the world. Yet, it is not the first epidemic to sweep the globe. The Black Death and the Spanish Flu are well known, but what other disease outbreaks have shaped Belgian history? Isabelle Devos (Ghent University, History Department) brushes up your knowledge in 2500 words and a short video.

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HISSTER /BLOG POST / APRIL 2020

In an article in the newspaper De Standaard on 20 April, the journalist Marc Reynebeau states that the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918-19 cost the lives of almost 300,000 Belgians and discusses why in the past there was so little attention paid to the epidemic in Belgium. Based on a study of the literature and the HISSTER database of the Quetelet Center, Isabelle Devos (History Department, Ghent University) questions these numbers and points to the need for historical criticism when using figures.

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