Jaargang 2021 nr. 1


Themanummer Stad en mobiliteit

Ingrid Schepers

Vertrekken, blijven of beiden? De invloed van het Belgische transportbeleid op de arbeidsmobiliteit van de plattelandsbevolking tijdens de negentiende eeuw

Thomas Verbruggen

Mobiele vrouwen en hun netwerk. Het informele en formele netwerk van buitenlandse dienstmeiden in Antwerpen, 1850-1910

Frank Schipper

Het voetgangerswalhalla? Voetgangers in Delft van 1970 tot nu

Werk in Uitvoering

Ayfer Erkul

Stedelijke strijd tegen een ‘sociale plaag’. De lokale politie van Brussel en de controle van ‘marginale’ migranten aan het einde van de lange negentiende eeuw

Marjolein Schepers

Just Passing Through? Onderzoek in uitvoering naar passanten en infrastructuren voor transitmigranten in de Lage Landen, 1780-1870


Hilde Greefs en Ariadne Schmidt

Interview met stadshistoricus Peter Stabel


Ingrid Schepers, To leave, to stay or both? The impact of the Belgian transport policy on the labour mobility of rural households during the nineteenth century 

This article focuses on the Belgian railway network to scrutinise the growth in labour mobility during the nineteenth century. It seeks to understand how the connectivity of the transport network influenced the labour markets of the rural economy, specifically regarding the textile crisis of the 1840s and the agrarian crisis of the 1880s. The research is based on national statistics and contemporary sociological studies. It is argued that the ability to grow your own food was a key variable in the residential choices of rural households as well as in the employment strategies of the industrial elite. This severely restricted rural outmigration. Finally, the article tests the validity of this argument by visualising both the Belgian urbanisation process and the railway network. 

Thomas Verbruggen, Mobile women and their network. Informal and Formal Networks of Foreign Domestic Servants in Antwerp (1850-1910) 

Migration researchers from various disciplines have long emphasised the importance of studying migrants’ networks to enable a proper understanding of the evolution of migration patterns. In historical research, however, few attempts have so far been made carefully to study shifts or differences in the roles of both informal and formal networks within migration circuits. The increasing number of foreign domestic servants moving to the Belgian port city of Antwerp between 1850 and 1910 provides an excellent case study for addressing this issue. By comparing evolutions in the use of informal and formal networks between different groups of female servants, significant differences between migration circuits with and without long migration traditions are revealed, as well as the impact of the formalisation of the labour market on the migratory movements of these women. 

Frank Schipper, The pedestrian’s paradise? Pedestrians in Delft from 1970 until today 

What factors were responsible for the change in the position of the pedestrian in the city? This article explores that question in the medium-sized city of Delft as a revealing case study. In residential areas, a coalition of young officials and residents introduced speed bumps from around 1970, making the pedestrian the norm in residential areas. The city centre became car-calm with the use of pollers, especially from the 1990s, to keep it attractive to visitors. Most recently, the motorised central traffic corridor of the campus transformed into a park with footpaths in a design by a former student, reflecting the sustainability policies of the Board. After a difficult twentieth century, it seems that the twenty-first century will turn out to be a lot friendlier for the pedestrian. 

Ayfer Erkul, Urban struggle against a ‘social plague’. The local police in Brussels and the control of ‘marginal’ migrants at the end of the long nineteenth century 

This project aims to investigate police practices of migration control in the city of Brussels during a period of profound urban change, intense mobility and increased efforts of social control. The central question is how the Brussels municipal police implemented the legal framework on mobility regulation that was enacted in the closing decades of the long nineteenth century and how this shaped their day-to-day relations with the urban population in general, and mobile groups in particular. This study will provide new insights into how the state, in its efforts to maintain social stability through its lowest level in the street in a time of profound urban transformation, interfered in the lives of people, and marginal migrants in particular. 

Marjolein Schepers, Just Passing Through? New research into urban infrastructures for transient migrants in the Low Countries, 1780-1870 

This project analyses the interplay between passanten (an early modern term for people passing through cities, a sort of transient migrants) and urban space from a spatial-material approach. It centres on the questions how and why urban infrastructures for passants changed in the Low Countries in the period from 1780 to 1870, a period characterised amongst others by transport revolutions from human and animal to steam power. The interplay between infrastructures of accommodation, transport and the administrative framework is analysed through case studies of three cities which functioned as nodes in their transport networks, namely Leiden (water), Luik-Liège (paved roads) and Mechelen-Malines (railways).