SHIP. Study of health in port cities, 1850-1950

Start - End 
2017 - 2022 (ongoing)
Department of History
Research Focus 



SHIP is an ”Internationalisation in the Humanities project” aimed at a comparative history of health and disease in European port cities, 1850-1950. Port cities in the past acted as ‘gateways of disease’ in the same way that airports today function as hubs for the transmission of infectious diseases such as the Ebola and ZIKA viruses. SHIP studies the dynamics of mortality change in high level disease environments in port cities across 19th and early 20th century Europe by reconstructing their epidemiological fingerprints and the way these changed in an exceptional period in the history of European health, in which life expectancy at birth nearly doubled, infectious diseases sharply declined, and cancers and cardiovascular diseases greatly increased. The project focuses on port cities for which there are historical individual-level cause-of-death data available and entails currently the following cities: Antwerp, Amsterdam, Bergen, Copenhagen, Glasgow, Ipswich, Palma de Mallorca, Rostock, Stockholm, Trondheim and Venice.

The SHIP-network is directed by Prof.dr. Angelique Janssens  (Radboud Group for Historical Demography and Family History), financed by NWO (The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research) and co-financed by Cambridge University (The Cambridge Group for the History of Population & Social Structure, Dr. Alice Reid), Ghent University (History Department, Prof.dr. Isabelle Devos), University of Copenhagen (Saxo Institute, Prof.dr. Anne Løkke and Dr. Barbara Revuelta Eugercios), Autonomous University of Barcelona (Centre d’Estudis Demogràfes, Prof.dr. Anna Cabré and Dr. Joana Maria Pujadas-Mora) and Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf (Department of History, Philosophy and Ethics of Medicine, Heiner Fangerau).