New Database of Patron Saints

29 November 2010

On 2 December, the Meertens Institute launched its new Database of Patron Saints. This provides information about the veneration of saints in the Netherlands and Flanders. These saints are (or were) called upon to protect people, animals or crops, to heal the sick, or to prevent bad weather.

The saints included in the database and the places where – in about 1960 – they were called on for protection are linked to the following illnesses or problems: headache, convulsions, rheumatism, dandruff and bad weather, as well as diseases of horses, pigs, and cattle. Searching under "Purposes" [Doelen] calls up a list of the places where the saints are or were venerated, or at least the places indicated by informants at the time. If that location is also a place of pilgrimage, then there is a link to the Institute's Pilgrimage Database, with a description of the saints and the pilgrimage. It is also possible to search for the name of a saint or a placename.

Scans of the original 1959 folklore questionnaires from which the data has been generated are also available on the website and can be consulted to find more information. Work is going on to digitise the questionnaires. It is expected that in the course of 2011 it will be possible to consult all the questionnaires regarding the patron saints via the website.

The Database of Patron Saints is funded by the DANS programme Small Data Projects.