The Netherlands’ Life Course Survey

NELLS 2008-2014

In autumn of 2008 the data-collection of the NELLS has started. The main goal of NELLS is to build a panel survey for the sociological research community. The survey focuses on three central sociological themes – social cohesion, norms and values, and inequality – and facilitates the study of these themes from a dynamic, life-course perspective. The survey has the following defining elements:

  1. It is a long-term panel study, initially containing four waves spaced two years apart.
  2. It combines prospective methods with retrospective methods.
  3. It has a mixed-mode design, using both face-to-face and internet methods.
  4. It is large-scale, containing about 5000 respondents in the first wave.
  5. It includes an over sample of ethnic minorities.
  6. It is a public use dataset.

In combining these elements, the NELLS aim to innovate the existing sociological data infrastructure. The NELLS-data will be disseminated immediately after the data collection of each wave has finished, and the applicants will have no privilege in the analysis of the data. NELLS will make the data, the questionnaires, and the codebooks available through its website: The services of DANS will be used to support the data dissemination. The language of all disseminated materials, including the variable labels and value labels of the data set, will be English.

Please click here for all publications based on Nells.

Contact information: dr. Jochem Tolsma & prof. dr. Gerbert Kraaykamp.