Prof. dr. F. (Frederik) van Heek
Honorary supervisor Prof. Dr. R.A. de Moor - 1972 –Faculteit Sociale Wetenschappen
Frederik van Heek (Enschede, 1907–Zwolle, 1987) was a Dutch sociologist and Professor of Sociology at Leiden University. After five years of Hoogere Handelsschool and one year of Hoogere Textielschool, Van Heek, descendant of a famous textile family, studied economics at the University of Amsterdam from 1925 to 1931.
In 1935, he received his doctorate here in political geography and ethnology from H.N. ter Veen for the thesis "Western Engineering and Social Life in China."
Van Heek continued to work at the University of Amsterdam, where he became a private lecturer in economic geography of the Netherlands and the Dutch East Indies in 1937. In 1948, he was appointed Professor of Sociology at the University of Leiden. In 1972, he was granted emeritus status here.
Van Heek was an outspoken opponent of social inequality. In 1945, he published a study entitled: Stijging en daling op de maatschappelijke ladder. Een onderzoek naar de verticale sociale mobiliteit (Rise and fall on the social ladder. A study of vertical social mobility). According to Van Heek, in a modern and highly industrialized society, it should not be origin or environment, but education, knowledge, and skills that determine the social position of individuals. His research also showed that social mobility in the Netherlands was still low at that time.
On that subject he wrote publications such as Stijging en daling op de maatschappelijke ladder: een onderzoek naar verticale sociale mobiliteit; Het geboorte-niveau der Nederlandse Roman-katholieken: een demografisch-sociologische studie van een emancipeerde minderheidsgroep (The birth rate of Dutch Roman Catholics: a demographic-sociological study of an emancipated minority group); and Sociale stijging en daling in Nederland (Social rise and fall in the Netherlands).
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