Construction of a Census of Companies for the Netherlands in 1896


  • Robin C.M. Philips International Institute of Social History



Census, nineteenth century


To overcome the lack of a representative dataset on the manufacturing sector in the Netherlands before the first census of companies in 1930, we construct an alternative census of companies for 1896. Based on a large collection of local-preserved municipal reports, we estimate the number of establishments, employees, and steam engines, standardised for all Dutch municipalities and all manufacturing sectors. In contrast to other source material around this time period, this newly created dataset gives researchers for the first time a view on the structure and competitiveness of the Dutch manufacturing sector at the timing of its Industrial Revolution on such a geographical and sectoral detailed level. Following our illustration of the textiles manufacturing sector, we find that in 1896 modern factories and steam engines were limited to smaller centres in the eastern and southern part of the country, while the majority of the country still depended on smaller, non-mechanized handicraft establishments.


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Author Biography

Robin C.M. Philips, International Institute of Social History

Robin Philips (1992) is a PhD researcher at the International Institute of Social History in Amsterdam. After obtaining a MA in History and a MSc in Economics at the University of Ghent, he is writing his PhD manuscript on regional industrialization in the Netherlands and Belgium, under supervision of prof. dr. Jan-Luiten van Zanden (Utrecht University) and dr. Bas van Leeuwen (International Institute of Social History).




How to Cite

Philips, R. C. (2019). Construction of a Census of Companies for the Netherlands in 1896. TSEG - The Low Countries Journal of Social and Economic History, 16(1).



Research Article