Generational walks in Doorn and other educational projects


Huis Doorn

Life histories

Explanatory notes
Many pre-university pupils and students attending higher vocational education study generations. They write papers on this topic, often supplementing them nowadays with video reports. Social studies, history, economics and management, particularly, lend themselves to theses and graduation papers on generations.
Most students write papers on the life histories of members of generations. This practice is known as a ‘life history approach’, which is habitually used in historical sciences and sociology. Several chapters in Generations of Lucky Devils and Unlucky Dogs contain examples of this approach.
Because this book, Generations of Lucky Devils and Unlucky Dogs, will likely inspire many pupils to learn about generations during their studies some examples are provided here, the first being interviews with seniors of the Pre-War Generation and the Silent Generation. What was their childhood like and how did their formative years affect the rest of their lives? What impressions have they retained of the ‘Cultural Revolution’ of the late 1960s and early 1970s? How did they benefit from the economically favourable 1990s and how did they prepare themselves for their retirement years?

A second example is interviews with women concerning their experience with discrimination against women. Members of the Pre-War and Silent Generations suffered serious discrimination on the employment market. Take, for instance, women in public service who automatically lost their job upon getting married. One of the radical effects of the ‘Cultural Revolution’ is the strongly reduced discrimination against women, although it is still not entirely eradicated even in the year 2011.

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About the author


Prof. dr. Henk A. Becker was born in Greifswald, Germany, in 1933. In 1946 he emigrated to the Netherlands, where he obtained his sociology degree (cum laude) at Leiden University in 1958. From 1956 to 1964 he held a staff position within a government ministry. From 1964 to 1968 he was the head of the research department of the Sociological Institute at the Netherlands School of Economics, which today is Erasmus University Rotterdam. He took his doctoral degree there in 1968 with a thesis on management careers, which concerned an early version of a normative career analysis and of a computerized career simulation. The University of Utrecht appointed him professor of sociology as well as of methodology of social research in 1968.

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About EuropeGenerations.com


This section accompanies the publication Generations of Lucky Devils and Unlucky Dogs – Strategies for assertive growing up and active ageing up to 2030.

Silver-grey manpower is a gold mine to society. One by one, the baby boom cohorts will reach the age of 65 starting from 2010. They are large cohorts, relatively well educated and healthy with considerable pension and health care rights. In short, they are lucky devils. As a result of ageing, cohorts that were born in 1985 onwards and that enter the labour market as from approximately 2010 will be required to pay many additional taxes during the course of their entire working life spanning more than forty years. They are, in short, unlucky dogs. Redistribution of joys and burdens could trigger conflicts between generations. A better solution is to identify and deploy society’s hidden resources.
Taking this issue as a basis, the book in hand explores strategies that enable senior citizens and young people to give meaning to solidarity among generations, for a start in 2012 as the European Year for Active Ageing, but also as part of Europe 2020, the European Commission’s 2010-2020 strategy.
With these two strategies journalists and television producers will swing into action. In secondary and higher education as well as in universities more papers on life courses and patterns of generations will be written than ever before. Senior citizens’ unions but actually all social organizations will organize lectures. Educated laymen will wish to go deeply into this issue.

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