The backbone of the HSN database

26 October 2018 - 15:37

The backbone or basis of the HSN database consists of life course data from a sample of about 85,000 persons, drawn from the birth certificates of the period 1812-1922. The life course data belonging to this ‘basic’ database is limited to two types of historical sources: the civil certificates and the population register (from 1850 onwards).

This part of the database was mainly funded by the Ministry of Education & Science and the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). Other data (such as height or income) or additional persons (siblings, children of existing research persons) or samples (immigrants) are usually realised by way of additional projects funded by way of specific applications made by researchers.

During the years 1991-1995 work on the database was financed by the Dutch Ministry of Education & Science. Its focus was on the data entry of the civil certificates, based on a sample from the birth certificates. The project started with a pilot project in the province of Utrecht. After the evaluation of the ‘Utrecht sample’ the project was continued with birth and other certificates from the provinces of Zuid-Holland and Zeeland.

During the years 1996-2003 the HSN received substantial funding from the NWO investment program ‘Medium’. (NWO files number. 200-01030 and 175-111.000.000). The first one made it possible to extend the database over the whole of the Netherlands, besides birth certificates mainly entering death certificates and personal cards (for deaths after 1940). The second one gave us the possibility to start with the input of marriage certificates and for a limited area as a kind of experiment the input of the first data of the population registers.

In 2003 the HSN receive a large grant from the NWO investment program ‘Large’. This Life Courses in Context project concentrated on the gathering and data entry of the life courses from the birth period 1863-1922. In 2010 a release with 37.000 life courses was made available for research.

Since 2010 the HSN focused on the certificates again. During 2013-2015 we finished the sample of the birth certificates whose sample frequency was unbalanced for the period 1903-1922. Second goal was the data entry of death certificates which were lagging behind on the birth certificates. Since 2016 the HSN  received a grant by way of CLARIAH, a Dutch Roadmap investment program for the humanities for curing the HSN database. We focus in this project on the improvement of the life course files that were unfinished till now. This will result in a new release of the life course dataset with an extra 5,000 life course data.

Click here for an overview of the HSN data files (1 September 2017).