Pelerin lecture

13 December 2016

Pelerin lecture Medical History

Date | time: 13 December 2016 | 17.00 – 18.15 hrs.
Location: Library of Radiology, level 4 azM

Dr Willibrord Rutten: A blessing for Maastricht’s infants? The First World War and infant mortality in Maastricht

Infant mortality was extremely high in the southern part of the Netherlands until the early twentieth century. The industrial city Maastricht was record holder. Twenty percent of the newborns died before their first birthday. At the same time feeding the infants wrongly was a widespread problem. Young mothers ignored the advice to breastfeed their baby. The First World War marks a turning point: during the years 1914-1918 the infant mortality caused by gastrointestinal disorders declined drastically. How can this be explained? The standard of living was as bad as it was before. Belgium’ refugees flooded Maastricht since august 1914. The cost of living and unemployment rates increased, especially among the female labor force. However, there was also a flipside to this dramatic socio-economic state. The scarcity of cow milk forced young mothers to breastfeed their baby and because they were unemployed at home, they had more time to care for their infant.

Dr Willibrord Rutten is historian at the Social Historic Centre for Limburg, a study and documentation centre of the history of (Dutch) Limburg.

Free entrance, no registration required. The lecture will be in Dutch.

The Pelerin Lectures are organised by the Working group Medical History MUMC+. Information and questions: