The Rise of the Modern Pattern of Disease? Causes of Death, Degenerative Diseases and Social Inequalities in Amsterdam, 1854-1926

Friday 12 May 2023, 2:30 pm
PhD student
O. Lammertink MA
prof. dr. A.A.P.O. Janssens, prof. dr. J. Kok
Faculty of Arts

Nowadays, much attention in the Netherlands is devoted to the increasing gap between rich and poor that causes health inequalities. People with a low level of education, a low income or a lower-class occupation tend to die at a younger age and generally from different causes than those who completed a higher level of education. This socio-economic inequality in health seems to be characteristic of the modern pattern of disease. In this modern pattern of disease, degenerative disease is also the dominant cause of death. According to the theory of epidemiological transition, the dominant cause of death in the Netherlands shifted from infectious disease to degenerative disease from 1870-1880 onwards. 
This study attempted to examine the epidemiological transition and emergence of the modern pattern of disease for the Netherlands by using a case study that was based on the population of Amsterdam aged twenty years and older. This study used a unique source: the Amsterdam Cause of Death Register. The Bureau of Statistics not only recorded the cause of death of all Amsterdam residents who died between 1854 and 1926, but also documented other socio-economic data, such as gender and last known residential address. These data have provided us with the opportunity to improve the analysis of the epidemiological transition and the emergence of the modern pattern of disease. 

Owen Lammertink was born in Westervoort on 20 September 1990. After obtaining his Bachelor’s degree in Language and Culture Studies at Radboud University, which included research into the Provo movement and student protests in the Netherlands during the 1960s, he continued his academic career by taking a Master’s degree in Current History at the same university. It was here that he obtained his Master’s degree with cum laude distinction in 2013 with the thesis ‘Vulnerable Women or Strong Mothers? A Study into the Vulnerability of Unmarried Mothers in Amsterdam in the Second Half of the Nineteenth Century’. This thesis won Holland Historical Journal’s Thesis Prize in 2013. In 2014, Lammertink completed his first-degree teaching qualification for the History and Political Science course at the Radboud Teachers Academy, which he also obtained with cum laude distinction. He subsequently began working in secondary education. In 2018, Lammertink began his PhD at Radboud University’s Department of Economic, Social and Demographic History.