What was wrong with West Flemish people?


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March 13th, 2018




In the article “Grasduinen in de bevolkingsgeschiedenis: wat was er mis met de West-Vlamingen?” (“Browsing through population history: what was wrong with West Flemish people?”), Kristof Clerix discusses the Mouvement, a huge source of information on the 19th-century population of Belgium, which has become accessible in part through the LOKSTAT and HISSTER databases of the Quetelet Center. The Mouvement de la Population et de l’Etat Civil, or Mouvement for short, consists of an extensive series of registers full of tables with masses of statistics on the Belgian population in the period 1841-1976. The registers contain detailed figures on births, marriages, deaths, causes of death, etc. up to the level of municipalities.

Kristof Clerix talks to Isabelle Devos, Quetelet coordinator, who arrived at some remarkable insights thanks to the partial integration of the data from the Mouvement into the LOKSTAT and HISSTER databases. By linking the information from the Mouvement to the historical Geographic Information System developed by staff at the Quetelet Center and displaying this on a map, it became possible to uncover regional differences and put forward new hypotheses for interpreting, for example, mortality rates.

Would you also like to find out more about why there were so many deaths in the Westhoek? Then be sure to read the full article in Knack by Kristof Clerix or look up the scientific publications on this subject by Isabelle Devos.

Consult the LOKSTAT or HISSTER database page to start working with the data yourself.