Radboud Group for Historical Demography and Family History

The Radboud Group for Historical Demography and Family History studies family, life course, health, migration and slavery in a historical, international and comparative perspective. We are dedicated to combining our teaching in the broad fields of economic, social and demographic history (ESDG) with specialized research with an international profile. Our research has two interconnected strands: historical demography and colonial social history.

Research projects

Picture of the Oudezijds Achterburgwal in Amsterdam at the end of the 19th century by George Hendrik Breitner

Lifting the burden of disease. The modernisation of health in the Netherlands: Amsterdam 1854-1940

As the current corona crisis shows, the history of infectious diseases in western societies is far from over. However, we had somehow forgotten about that heavy burden of infectious diseases in the past, how heavy it was, and what it looked and felt.

Slaves register

Legacies of Bondage

This project will involve the construction of a database of the Surinamese population that existed between 1830 and 1950. It will combine the individual records of both enslaved, bonded labourers from China, India and Indonesia and free citizens.


ESDG Seminar: Sex work and the making of (post) modern Amsterdam, 1875-1985

ESDG Seminar: Colonial family demography


The research group also aims to educate students about significant societal developments since 1500, while also fostering their passion for research in the field. By exposing students to historical sources and mixed methods, we encourage them to analyze quantitative data and build datasets. Our teaching evolves alongside societal changes, addressing topics like the corona pandemic and ethnic minority discrimination. Specializing in historical demography and colonial social history, we strive for academic excellence and societal relevance through impactful research and a non-Eurocentric approach.


LET-GESB964 Between Life and Death: The Extraordinary History of Ordinary People
LET-GESB965 Banished, deported, sold: Forced migrations in global history, 1600-present
LET-GESB966 Family Life under Imperial Rule. Everyday Histories of Colonialism, 1650-1950

Contact information


Erasmus building

Erasmusplein 1
6525HT Nijmegen
Contact person
Prof. J. Kok (Jan)