In 1857, a Statistical Society was founded in the Netherlands. Within this society, statistics was considered a systematic, quantitative, and qualitative description of society. In the course of time, the society attracted a wide and diverse membership, although the number of physicians on its rolls was low. The society itself was dynamic, discussing statistical and economic topics at its annual meetings, working to compile a 'General Statistics of the Netherlands', and publishing a yearbook. Although the lack of well-organised, official, state-generated statistics played a role in the foundation and continued existence of the Statistical Society, this does not seem reason enough to explain why the society changed its name and stopped being engaged in statistical matters when a central official statistics organisation was finally created in the Netherlands in 1892. Explaining this transformation is important, as the abolition of that aspect of the society was crucial to the development of statistics in the Netherlands. In this paper, I sketch the foundation, history, and the demise of the Dutch Statistical Society and compare some of its characteristics with the English Royal Statistical Society. Through this examination, I try to answer the question why this 19th-century statistical society abandoned statistics.
|Journal||Centaurus: International Magazine of the History of Mathematics, Science, and Technology|
|Publication status||Published - 2007|