VOCation: Tracing 18th Century Maritime Careers in the Dutch East India Company


We apply innovative digital methods for data linkage and analysis to gain historical insight into a topic that is currently hotly debated in both the political and public arena: what is the economic contribution of migrant workers on a recipient economy? We present preliminary results from ongoing research into the eighteenth-century Dutch maritime sector. This was a key sector of the economy, characterised by a high level of migrant participation and well-known today for leaving rich sources. Our approach to uncover the link between migration and economic advancement centres on two aspects of what is generally referred to as job mobility: promotion and job switching. By identifying those individuals that during their careers experienced promotion and/or job switching we lay bare the extent to which human capital levels of migrants and native workers differed, and seek to explain what caused the differences.

Leiden, Netherlands
Adina Nerghes

Adina Nerghes is a communication scientist who makes use of digital methods to expose sentiments, opinions, and change in large text collections.