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100 Years Statistics Netherlands

The Dutch National Statistical Institute, the Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek (CBS) celebrates its 100th anniversary in 1999. On this occasion, several important publications on the history of the CBS and Dutch statistics in general were issued by the CBS. Furthermore, Dutch historical statistics were collected which now replace the older recurrently published CBS title ‘... jaar statistiek in tijdreeksen’. Additionally, population census data have been made available in two sets of CD-ROMs, with the first set—containing five CDs—comprising the population censuses from 1795 to 1971. The second set contains the results from the 1899 population census on two CD-ROMs.

One hundred years are not such a long time for a statistical bureau to exist, compared with other countries. But the late official institutionalization of a national statistics bureau does not mean that there was no official statistics in The Netherlands before that time. In the first half of the 19th century, statistics were collected and published by different bodies. The main statistical investigation, the population census—conducted every decade since 1830—was the responsibility of the Ministry of the Interior. In 1848, a statistical bureau was set up in that ministry. But while in other European countries specialized and statistical offices outside the ministries were founded (Italy 1861, German Empire 1872, Norway 1876), the Dutch took a different path. In 1878, the Minister of the Interior closed the statistical office. The Vereeniging voor de Statistiek (Statistics Society), which had been founded in 1862, tried to take over the functions of government statistics and to set up a Statistical Institute in 1884 on behalf of the Society. However, due to the lack of sufficient resources it could not take the place of a government statistical office. A step towards the reintroduction of a statistics bureau was made when the Central Commission for Statistics (CCS) was founded in 1892. But it took seven more years for the necessity of permanent statistics production and service to be felt by the government and for the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) to be set up in 1899 by Royal Decree.

This Royal Decree regulated the tasks of the CCS and the CBS. The CCS took over an advisory function for the CBS, while the CBS had the role to gather, process and disseminate all those statistics which the director considered important for ‘practical and scientific purposes’. This was a very broad formulation of the tasks of the institute. It had the advantage that it was very flexible and open to new scientific developments and did not prescribe in detail and by law which statistics had to be collected. Innovation and adaptability to new developments have remained specific to Dutch statistics until today. Nevertheless, new statistics could only be started with the consent of the CCS. In 1996 a new statistics law replaced the Royal Decree of 1899, maintaining the old division of labour between the CCS and the CBS.

The volume produced by Van Maarseveen, Gircour and Schreijnders (1999) gathers contributions on the history of the CBS, the development of social and economic statistics, the use of social and economic indicators, the Dutch contribution of international statistics. It is written in English for a wider audience.

A comprehensive and detailed—603 pages long—institutional history of the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) and the Central Commission for Statistics (CCS) has been written by Anne-Marie Kuijlaars (1999). This volume presents an extensive historical account of Dutch official statistics during the last one hundred years. It is written in Dutch, but an English summary (pages 515–25) highlights the main features.

Another volume edited by Van Maarseveen and Gircour (A Century of Statistics, 1999) collects contributions on nearly all aspects of official statistics in The Netherlands. It describes how statistics are gathered, processed, stored and published. Questions of statistical co-ordination, integration and use of classifications are discussed. The different census types (population, business, agricultural) are described. There is a further chapter with two articles on economic and quality-of-life resp. social indicators. Finally, mathematical methods and international relationships are presented.

Another volume, organized by Van der Bie and Pit Dehing (1999), brings together substantial articles on long-term economic, demographic and social developments in The Netherlands from 1800 to the 1990s. This book is, however, completely in Dutch. It shows the fruitfulness of continuous statistical monitoring of a society: it allows for a societal and economical description for two centuries. Long-term trends are dealt with regarding many important fields, such as general economic development, agricultural production and productivity, money banking, infrastructure, female employment, income inequality, strikes, the life cycle of collective labour agreements, poor relief and caritas, educational participation, drinking behaviour, the demographic transitions and household changes, and environmental damage and restoration.

Besides these institutional histories of Statistics Netherlands and accounts of Dutch official statistics, other basic works have been compiled on occasion of the celebration of 100 years CBS. The first one is a complete bibliography of over three thousand titles published by the CBS from 1899 to 1998. This bibliography was not printed; it was, instead, built as a data bank which is searchable via the Internet on the home page of the CBS.

Furthermore, historical statistics have been compiled. There is a printed edition by Van der Bie et al. (1999), containing time series from 1800 to 1999. This book is accompanied by a CD-ROM. The book was announced for December 1999 and was not yet available when this article was written.

The very important population census results have been published on two sets of CD-ROMs. They comprise all population censuses held from the first one in 1795 to the last one in 1971.

Van Maarseveen, J.G.S.J., M.B.G. Gircour, and R. Schreijnders (eds.): A Century Rounded Up: Reflections on the History of the Central Bureau of Statistics in the Netherlands. Voorburg: CBS / Amsterdam: Stichting beheer IISG, 1999. 207 pp. ISBN 90-6861-174-7. HFL 19.90.

Kuijlaars, Anne-Marie: Het huis der getallen. De institutionele geschiedenis van het Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek (CBS) en de Centrale Commissie voor de Statistiek (CCS), 1899–1996. Voorburg: CBS / Amsterdam: Stichting beheer IISG, 1999. 603 pp. ISBN 90-6861-166-6. HFL 65.00.

Van Maarseveen, J.G.S.J. and M.B.G. Gircour (eds.): A Century of Statistics: Counting, Accounting and Recounting in the Netherlands. Voorburg: CBS / Amsterdam: Stichting beheer IISG, 1999. 558 pp. ISBN 90-6861-168-2. HFL 89.90.

Van der Bie, Ronald and Pit Dehing (red.): National goed. Feiten en cijfers over onze samenleving–(ca.) 1800–1999. Voorburg and Heerlen: CBS / Amsterdam: Stichting beheer IISG, 1999. 272 pp. ISBN 90-6861-170-4. HFL 29.90.

Van Baarsel, G.J.M. and W.A.F.M. Commandeur (compilers): Honderd jaar cijfers in drieduizend publicaties. Bibliografie van de CBS-publicaties 1899–1998. This bibliography can be searched over the Internet:

Van der Bie, Ronald, Pit Dehing and J.P. Smits (red.): Tweehonderd jaar statistiek in tijdreeksen, 1800–1999. Voorburg and Heerlen: CBS / Amsterdam: Stichting beheer IISG, 1999. ISBN 90-6861-170-5+cd-rom. HFL 55.00.

Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek (compiled by J.K. Jonker, J.G.S.J. van Maarseveen and T. Vreugdenhil) and NIWI (P.K. Doorn):
Part 1. Data en publicatie Volkstelling 1899. 2 cd-roms. Voorburg/Heerlen: CBS, 1999. ISBN 90-6861-176-3. HFL 129.00.
Part 2. Publicaties Volkstellingen 1795–1971. 5 CD-ROMs. Voorburg/Heerlen: CBS, 1999. ISBN 90-6861-177-1. HFL 249.00.

Recent Social Reports in Europe

The publication of social or socio-statistical reports continues in several European countries. Recent social reports or updates of earlier titeles have appeared for Portugal, the Czech Republic and Finland.

In Portugal, the second edition of Portugal Social has been published; the first one appeared in 1992 (INE, Portugal Social 1985–1990. Lisbon: INE). This second report covers the time period from 1991 to 1995. The series is published quinquennially. The new edition presents far more material than the first edition. It is considerably larger and includes a large number of graphs, maps and tables with descriptive texts. The main topics covered are: population; families; education; employment; unemployment and non-employment; working conditions; disposable income and consumption; security and criminality; social protection; health; household amenities; environment; and culture and leisure time.

There also is a regional social report for the Alentejo with a reduced coverage, including demography, families, economic activity, level of living, health and social security, education and culture. This volume is concluded by an analysis of homogeneity and assymetry of districts in the Alentejo.

Instituto Nacional de Estatística (INE): Portugal Social 1991/1995. Lisboa: INE 1998. 198 pp. ISBN 972-673-247-6. In Portuguese.

Instituto Nacional de Estatística, Direcção Regional do Alentejo: Alentejo Social 1998. Évora: INE-DRA 1998. Série Cadernos Regionais. 114 pp. ISBN 972-673-256-5. In Portuguese.

In the Czech Republic, the Czech Statistical Office published a socio-statistical report for the Czech Republic in 1997. This report covers the years 1970–1995 and deals with such subjects as: population, marriage, family and households; housing; environment; health; education; social security; economic activity of the population; incomes and expenditures; and crime and safety of citizens. With the exception of the contents it is written in Czech only. This is the first publication of a comprehensive social report for the Czech Republic, covering all main living domains. The tables presented are accompanied by extensive descriptive, explanatory and documentary texts.

 eský statistický úYad (CSU): Fakta o Sociální Situaci v  eske Republice. [Facts on the Social Situation in the Czech Republic]. Praha: CSU, 1997. 372 pp. ISBN 80-85949-94-6. In Czech.

For Finland, a brand-new social trends publication from Statistics Finland was produced. This title presents ten-year time series (from 1987–1997) for several main economic and social subjects. Topics covered are: population, industry and output, construction, trade and commerce, foreign trade and direct investment, financial markets, transport, national economy, central government finances, prices, labour force, justice, education and research, culture, information technology and telecommunications, environment and energy. The subjects selected are a good mixture of economic and social domains. Data are also presented in comparison with other European countries. Data are visualized by many graphs; textual descriptions give additional information. This volume is accompanied by a diskette containing the statistics in machine-readable form.

Statistics Finland, International Business Statistics (1999): Trends. Ten-Year Review. Helsinki: Statistics Finland, IBS. 108 pp. ISBN 1456-291X. With diskette. In English. E-mail:, IBS-home page:

Historical Statistics

A new volume with comprehensive historical statistics for Hungary was published by the Hungarian Statistical Office in 1996. Unfortunately, this handbook was published in Hungarian only, thereby reducing its accessibility for a non-Hungarian readership. Time-series data for Hungary since the first Hungarian census in 1870 were collected. Besides census data, annual time-series data from statistical registration are presented as well. The data are presented for the Hungarian Empire until World War I and for modern Hungary afterwards. Partly, time series are available for the territory of the Hungarian Republic before World War I. Topics covered include: population, economy, living conditions of the population, and climate.

Központi Statisztikai Hivatal: Magyarország népessége és gazdasága. Múlt és jelen [Population and economy of Hungary. Past and present]. Budapest: KSH, 1996. 266 pp. In Hungarian. 1,500 FT+AFA.