Review: ‘Golden years’ by Annegreet van Bergen
Golden Years tells the story of the post-war growth that has transformed our daily lives beyond imagination. The weekly basin became a daily shower, the pay bag became a digital bank account and the scanty bread a healthy sandwich. Many old professions disappeared, many more new ones made their appearance. Who had heard of a dental hygienist, game designer or web administrator before? Golden years shows that we now live completely differently from our parents and grandparents. But it also shows that we have become richer than we ever thought possible.
- Book details
- Golden years
- The origin of Golden years
- Structure and style
- A fascinating portrait of the post-war Netherlands
- About the author
- Title: Golden years
- Author: Annegreet van Bergen
- Date of Birth: January 29, 1954
- First edition: August 2014
- Publisher: Atlas Contact
- Number of pages: 350
- ISBN: 978 90 450 2354 0
“Between 1948 and now, per capita income has quadrupled. That is more than double the growth in the renowned Golden Age and unique in economic history. Because this is a price-adjusted growth rate and an income that is more. is what we can spend as we see fit. ” (p. 17).
The above quote indicates exactly where it is in Golden years revolves around. We have become richer than we ever thought possible. Mechanization and automation have led to an increase in labor productivity and are the basis of our increased prosperity. Due to this increased prosperity, we have gotten better and better in many areas in the Netherlands.
The origin of Golden years
Annegreet van Bergen investigated how our lives have changed due to economic growth. Golden years was written in memory of her grandmother, who died in 1959 at the age of sixty. Van Bergen hereby mirrors the life of her grandmother to hers and on this basis the main subjects for this book have been chosen.
Golden years was made possible in part thanks to the Fund for Special Journalistic Projects. It is a mix of consulted literature, information from the author’s own articles, and personal memories and anecdotes. Many (historical) facts are based on statistical data from, among other things, the digital database Statline from Statistics Netherlands.
Structure and style
Golden years is divided into seven main subjects: ‘necessities of life’, ‘training and education’, ‘communication and information’, ‘mobility’, ‘health’, ‘comfort and quality’ and ‘work and leisure’. The first six main topics describe what we have been spending our money on over the past 60 years and how this has affected our daily lives. ‘Work and leisure’ tells how this money was made and how free time affects our work and life.
Annegreet van Bergen bets Golden years all developments of the past sixty years at a glance. She shows that our lives have become completely different from those of our parents and grandparents. And that much of what we now take for granted was not at all sixty years ago. The author’s economic background is clearly evident. She uses figures to compare situations from the fifties and sixties with the present day. The hard figures are interspersed with historical facts, photos and personal memories.
The text is divided into subject chapters and headings, each of which is worked out chronologically. This makes the book clear and easy to read. The historical facts are further emphasized by the added black and white photos. These photos mainly come from the Maria Austria Institute (MAI), which manages the archives of well-known Amsterdam photographers. Unfortunately, it is not always clear where and when the photos were taken. It would also have been interesting to read something about the choice of the MAI for supplying the photos.
When writing Golden years is also drawn from personal memories. These are memories of the author himself, acquaintances of the author or of well-known writers, such as Maarten ‘t Hart. “These personal stories resonate throughout this book, not just because they are Golden years enrich, but also because these eyewitness accounts must be recorded. Because who else knows in fifty years that you used to have to call the neighbors? Or that two households used one vacuum cleaner together? Or that families with many adolescent girls always had a massacre? ”(P. 18).
A fascinating portrait of the post-war Netherlands
Golden years is a fascinating portrait of the developments in the post-war Netherlands. It is also a celebration of recognition for people who are sixty or older. For the younger generation, the book is an interesting way to learn more about the daily life of our (grand) parents. And to reflect more often on the wealth and everyday conveniences that have now become so common.
The title and phrase Golden years seems to imply that everything used to be better. It turns out to be up to the reader to determine this, because each time has its advantages and disadvantages. In the past there was less convenience and wealth, but it was more pleasant. There was more social cohesion, mutual warmth and security. Much has improved over the past sixty years, especially in the material, technical and medical fields. The question is whether we have gotten much better in terms of social cohesion, psychological health, nature, the environment and ethics. There put the in there Golden years described topics you think about.
About the author
Annegreet van Bergen (1954) is an economist, journalist and writer. She wrote for over thirty years about economics, work and society for a.o. de Volkskrant and Elsevier. In 2000 she published the bestseller The lessons of burnout and in 2010 the impressive My mother wanted to die. For her bestseller Golden years she was nominated in 2015 for the NS Public Prize and the Libris History Prize. Since 2006, Van Bergen lives in Zutphen and writes a column every Tuesday de Stentor, edition Zutphen / Lochem.