Newly published: Behind the front door

15 December 2014

Public mental health care in Amsterdam in the twentieth century (by Gemma Blok)

In 1919, the Amsterdam Municipal Health Service (GG & GD), established a special unit for citizens originally labelled as 'the insane and the socially unfit’. In the course of the twentieth century, public nuisance problems in the city stimulated a range of new public health care initiatives. The medicalization of unwanted behaviour went hand in hand with the empowerment of vulnerable citizens.

In Achter de voordeur. Sociale psychiatrie vanuit de GGD Amsterdam in de twintigste eeuw, Gemma Blok analyses the involvement of the Municipal Health Service with troublesome psychiatric patients and addicts, known as ‘worrying care-avoiders’. Blok hightlights three key moments in the history of the public mental health care in Amsterdam: psychiatrist Arie Querido and his pioneering work in social psychiatry in the 1930s; the emergence of a youth psychiatry department in 1946 against the background of concerns about 'youthful psychopaths'; and the arrival of the first mobile methadone clinic in 1979. The book project has been financed by the GGD Amsterdam.

 

Gemma Blok is lecturer in Dutch History at the University of Amsterdam.

 

Gemma Blok, Achter de voordeur. Sociale psychiatrie vanuit de GGD Amsterdam in de twintigste eeuw (Amsterdam University Press 2014). ISBN: 978-90-8555-096-9, 124 pp.

Published by  ACUH