Maids to the City: Migration Patterns of Female Domestic Servants from the Province of Zeeland, the Netherlands (1850-1950)

Hilde Bras*

*Bijbehorende auteur voor dit werk

OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

36 Citaten (Scopus)


his article deals with the migration patterns of female domestic servants from the province of Zeeland in the Netherlands during the second half of the 19th and first half of the 20th centuries. The main topics are rates of servant migration, major destinations, strategies behind migration, and determinants of migration across provincial boundaries. A multimethod approach is used, combining the analysis of a data set of life courses of servants with an investigation of qualitative material such as interviews, letters, autobiographies, and government reports. Migration rates of domestic servants peaked in the last decades of the 19th century. Major destinations of Zeeland servants shifted from local and regional jobs with farmers to positions outside the province, particularly in the growing Dutch cities of Rotterdam and The Hague. Family strategies of survival and possibly of risk diversification and upward mobility were behind this migration. However, qualitative sources show that the out-migration of Zeeland servants must also be understood in terms of individual strategies, such as the desire for higher wages, emancipation from the parental home, and participation in more exciting city life.
Originele taal-2English
Pagina's (van-tot)217-246
Aantal pagina's30
TijdschriftThe History of the Family. An International Quarterly
Nummer van het tijdschrift2
StatusPublished - 2003
Extern gepubliceerdJa

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