Egbert Alting’s journal 1533-1594

Published by W.J. Formsma and R. van Royen

This documentary edition contains a large selection of material from Egbert Alting’s journal, First Secretary to the town of Groningen in the latter half of the 16th century.

The journal (diarium) contains notes from the years 1553 to 1594, with a gap for the period 1566 to 1569 that has been lost. The contents can be divided up into three categories: information on legal issues, information on administrative issues, and information on a whole host of other issues, including family affairs. During the process of drawing up a list of selection criteria for the publication it was decided that only the most important entries from the first category should be included, while all the entries relating to the second and third categories have been incorporated.

The journal is an important source of information on Groningen’s history because it reveals the political relationships within the town council and how the relationship between the town of Groningen and the surrounding areas, which together made up the province of Groningen, deteriorated during this period and resulted in a separate administrative body being set up for the areas outside the town. Important points of contention included the authority of the Hoofdmannenkamer, or Court of Justice, to administer justice at the primary and secondary levels and the way in which the municipal staple right was implemented. This greatly influenced the choices made at the beginning of the Dutch Revolt: the town of Groningen for the Spanish, the surrounding countryside for the rebels. When the town was eventually seized from the Spanish by the States’ armies in 1594 the unity of the province of Groningen within the Republic was once again restored. The publication contains an explanatory list of terms and can be accessed via indexes containing personal names, place names, and subjects.