This article focuses on modernization of diet in the Netherlands between 1800 and about 1950, which covers the time span when the Dutch (and most of Europe) moved to a modern consumption pattern. The Dutch case-study is examined on the basis of contemporary accounts, with consumption and price figures: the treatment is mainly statistical, with additional qualitative data. This entails that the health and nutrition aspects are as important as the socio-cultural ones, and the article is concerned with the mass of the Dutch population, rather than just the elite. Attention is paid to high Dutch death rates and the dietary reasons for them, food production and prices, diet (potatoes), alcohol consumption and civilization offensives and (mal)nutrition. The main theme is change in consumption patterns as a facet of the process of modernization. In that sense, the Dutch were not especially unusual, but a good example of a general trend, naturally with their own idiosyncrasies.
Constructing and Assigning Identity in a Culture of Modernity
Contributors include: Niek van Sas, Andrew Mycock, Marnix Beyen, Ellinoor Bergvelt, Joep Leerssen, Joanne Parker, Anna Vaninskaya, Jenny Graham, Tom Verschaffel, Saartje Vanden Borre, Hugh Dunthorne and Michael Wintle.