Documentary edition on the history of Amsterdam’s business community and guilds

Compiled by J.G. van Dillen

This documentary edition is divided into three volumes: volume one deals with the period 1510-1612, volume two focuses on 1612-1632, and volume three examines 1633-1672. The materials come from the municipal record office in Amsterdam and the entire selection comprises 4645 documents.

Registers containing by-laws, legal protocols, and decrees issued by the town council were all consulted together with the archives of the mayors, guilds, and town treasurers. Van Dillon obtained as much information about the business community as possible from these original sources. However, due to the vast amount of material generated by the notaries public, it was only possible to include a few samples. While entire documents have often been printed in these volumes, on occasion summaries had to be made.

Almost all the different lines of business that existed at that time in Amsterdam are dealt with: breweries, soap works, the textile industry, diamond cutting, and so on. However, the term ‘business community’ should be interpreted in its broadest context: even people from the medical profession have been included. A lot of the information focuses on the guilds; how they were set up, the fees they charged, and other related issues. The book also provides a wealth of information on the taxes and excise duties and how the town’s industry was protected. Trade is also mentioned from time to time, albeit primarily domestic trade and the way in which it fitted in with the business community.

All the names and places mentioned in the original documents have been listed in an index. There is also a subject index. Van Dillen wrote an extensive introduction for Volumes I and II. Volume III appeared after his death.