Article ID: CBB001024455

German Staatenkunde or French “Numbers and Equations”: Statistics and the Demise of the Dutch Statistical Society (2010)


Stamhuis, Ida H. (Author)

Journal Electronique d'Histoire des Probabilités et de la Statistique
Volume: 6, no. 2
Issue: 2

Publication Date: 2010
Edition Details: (Accessed on September 29, 2011). Part of a special issue, “150th Anniversary of the Société de Statistique de Paris”
Language: French

Simon Vissering (1818-1888), the founder of the Dutch Statistical Society, stressed two main geographical roots of statistics. The French emphasised `numbers and equations', the Germans Staatenkunde, i.e. systematic knowledge of nation states. In this paper I will first discuss two Dutch representatives of these different approaches of statistics: in addition to the lawyer Vissering, the mathematician Rehuel Lobatto (1797-1866). Then I go into the history of the Dutch statistical society, its composition and activities. I will demonstrate the dominance of the German approach and the almost complete absence of the French approach. Comparison with the English situation indicates that this can, to a limited extent, explain the fact that from 1891 there was no longer a Dutch statistical society. The dominance of the German Staatenkunde in the early years of statistics was an international phenomenon and it is not always recognized that it influenced statistical developments for a long time.


Description Discusses Simon Vissering, founder of the Dutch Statistical Society, and Rehuel Lobatto.

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Article Armatte, Michel; Desrosieres, Alain (2010) Paris Statistical Society Was Born 150 Years Ago. Journal Electronique d'Histoire des Probabilités et de la Statistique. unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Stamhuis, Ida H.
Dorsman, Leen
Zuidervaart, Huibert Jan
Delft, Dirk van
Doring, Frank
Maarseveen, J. G. S. J. van
Journal Electronique d'Histoire des Probabilités et de la Statistique
Studium: Tijdschrift voor Wetenschaps- en Universiteitgeschiedenis
Annals of Science: The History of Science and Technology
Philosophy of Science
British Journal for the History of Science
Aksant Academic Publishers
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Societies; institutions; academies
Probability and statistics
Scientific apparatus and instruments
Social sciences
Cross-national comparison
Lobatto, Rehuel
Luce, Robert Duncan
Time Periods
19th century
20th century
18th century
20th century, early
21st century
20th century, late
The Netherlands: Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg
Great Britain
Société de Statistique de Paris
Universiteit Utrecht
Congrès International de Statistique
Statistical Society of London
Société juridique de Moscou
Leiden Observatory

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