Johan van Oldenbarnevelt. Papers concerning his state policies and family life, 1570-1620

Compiled by S.P. Haak and A.J. Veenendaal

The main goal behind publishing Johan van Oldenbarnevelt’s (1547-1619) papers, in three volumes, was to collate all the important items that were relevant to the life and work of this Pensionary of Holland. The very broad subject area is reflected in the nature of the material that has been included. First of all, it focuses on private and official correspondence that was both written by him and addressed to him. It then moves on to examine state documents, in the broadest sense of the word, which were either drafted by Oldenbarnevelt in person or else commented upon by him. These include orders, briefs, memoirs and diplomatic communications. Finally, similar items that were addressed to him have also been considered for inclusion. However, his extensive correspondence with François van Aerssen has not been included in either the second or third volumes as there were plans at the time to publish this separately at a later date. However, these plans were never executed.

As a rule, great care has been taken to reproduce entire documents, with the exception of certain cases where a shortened version was the preferred option.

The original objective of creating a publication that would offer insights into the work of Oldenbarnevelt and help to gather details about his family has been realised in this three-volume work. In this sense, it can also be viewed as an interesting source of information on the history of the late 16th and early 17th century in the Netherlands.