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On the move in Amsterdam. Mobility of the Amsterdam poor 1900-1940 (VBA)

Willemstraat
The 'Jordaan' in Amsterdam at the end of the 19th century
The project 'Mobility of the Amsterdam poor 1900-1940' is carried out by Henk Wals, Jan Kok and Kees Mandemakers. Residential mobility of the urban poor is a neglected item in both migration and labour history. This project is aimed at analyzing mobility patterns of builders, dockers and casual workers in Amsterdam between 1900 and 1940, and to compare them with a random sample from the entire population. To what extent was the frequent change of address part of the 'living strategies' of the urban poor?

The project will be based on poor relief documents as well as on complete residential histories of about 2000 individual families, divided into three distinct groups. These groups are research persons from the HSN database, born between 1903 and 1922, dock labourers and carpenters. Mobility patterns (frequency, timing and clustering in specific quarters) are analyzed by occupation, household composition and migrant status. The poor relief files provide information on employment status and income as well as on the motives for changing address.

First results were presented in 2002, at the Fourth European Social Science History Conference, under the title: City nomads. Moving house as a coping strategy, Amsterdam 1890-1940 (pdf, 205Kb) and the 27th Social Science History Conference in St. Louis. In 2003, an article by Jan Kok, Kees Mandemakers and Henk Wals was published: '"Toen scharrelde ze met haar hele zoodje naar de derde-achterkamer". Verhuizen als bestaansstrategie, Amsterdam 1890-1940' in the journal Tijdschrift voor Sociale Geschiedenis 29, 333-360.

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