Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxxii
  2. Prologue: Well-being and Sustainability in a Long-Term Perspective

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Jan-Pieter Smits, Harry Lintsen
      Pages 25-44 Open Access
  3. Well-being and Sustainability Around 1850: A Search for a Frame of Reference

  4. Part I: The Great Transformation 1850–1910

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 145-145
    2. Harry Lintsen
      Pages 147-164 Open Access
    3. Harry Lintsen
      Pages 165-182 Open Access
    4. Harry Lintsen
      Pages 201-215 Open Access
  5. Part II: New Problems 1910–1970

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 237-237
    2. Frank Veraart
      Pages 239-258 Open Access
    3. Frank Veraart
      Pages 259-292 Open Access
    4. Frank Veraart, Rick Hölsgens, Ben Gales
      Pages 327-353 Open Access
    5. Frank Veraart, Harry Lintsen
      Pages 355-372 Open Access
  6. Part III: The Great Turnabout 1970–2010

  7. Epilogue: Well-being and Sustainability 1850–2050

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 481-481
    2. Harry Lintsen, Jan-Pieter Smits
      Pages 483-508 Open Access
    3. John Grin
      Pages 509-536 Open Access
    4. John Grin
      Pages 537-572 Open Access

About this book


This open access book examines more than two centuries of societal development using novel historical and statistical approaches. It applies the well-being monitor developed by Statistics Netherlands that has been endorsed by a significant part of the international, statistical community. 

It features The Netherlands as a case study, which is an especially interesting example; although it was one of the world’s richest countries around 1850, extreme poverty and inequality were significant problems of well-being at the time. Monitors of 1850, 1910, 1970 and 2015 depict the changes in three dimensions of well-being: the quality of life 'here and now', 'later' and 'elsewhere'. The analysis of two centuries shows the solutions to the extreme poverty problem and the appearance of new sustainability problems, especially in domestic and foreign ecological systems. 

The study also reveals the importance of natural capital: soil, air, water and subsoil resources, showing their relation with the social structure of the ‘here and now´. Treatment and trade of natural resources also impacted on the quality of life ‘later’ and ‘elsewhere.’ Further, the book illustrates the role of natural capital by dividing the capital into three types of raw materials and concomitant material flows: bio-raw materials, mineral and fossil subsoil resources. 

Additionally, the analysis of the institutional context identifies the key roles of social groups in well-being development. The book ends with an assessment of the solutions and barriers offered by the historical anchoring of the well-being and sustainability issues. This unique analysis of well-being and sustainability and its institutional analysis appeals to historians, statisticians and policy makers.


sustainability Holland Sustainability Netherlands Circularity Holland Circularity Netherlands GDP Sustainability Economic Growth sustainability society development netherlands society development europe sustainability europe ecological history ecological trade offs dutch sustainability well being netherlands well being europe natural capital sustainability natural resources well being sustainability future society sustainability future natural capital sustainability population

Authors and affiliations

  • Harry Lintsen
    • 1
  • Frank Veraart
    • 2
  • Jan-Pieter Smits
    • 3
  • John Grin
    • 4
  1. 1.Eindhoven University of TechnologyEindhovenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Eindhoven University of TechnologyEindhovenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Statistics NetherlandsThe HagueThe Netherlands
  4. 4.University of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2018
  • License CC BY
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages Religion and Philosophy
  • Print ISBN 978-3-319-76695-9
  • Online ISBN 978-3-319-76696-6
  • Buy this book on publisher's site