Research School for Economic and Social History


24 November 2021
Radboud University, Academiezaal Aula, Comeniuslaan 2, Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Promotion Nynke van der Boomen

On 24 November 2021, Posthumus-participant Nynke van der Boomen will defend her thesis ‘Born close to death. Region, Roman Catholicism and infant mortality in the Netherlands, 1875-1899’ at Radboud University. Promotors are Professor Angelique Janssens and Professor Theo Engelen.

Her study centers around the large regional differences in infant mortality in the Netherlands during the final quarter of the nineteenth century. From the 1870s onwards, Dutch infant mortality rates started to decline rapidly, although certain regions began to lag behind. Infant mortality levels in the predominantly Roman Catholic provinces of Noord-Brabant and Limburg exceeded those in other parts of the Netherlands, leading up to a lively debate over the past 150 years on the relationship between Roman Catholicism and poor infant survival. This study focuses on the question whether Dutch infant mortality patterns between 1875 and 1899 were defined by Roman Catholicism and even looks beyond religion to explore the local and regional contexts that shaped infant survival in the past.

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