Skip to main content

Sailors' families and the urban institutional framework in early modern Holland

van der Heijden, Manon, van den Heuvel, Danielle (2007) Sailors' families and the urban institutional framework in early modern Holland. The History of the Family, 12 (4). pp. 296-309. ISSN 1081-602X. E-ISSN 1873-5398. (doi:10.1016/j.hisfam.2007.12.005) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided. (Contact us about this Publication)
Official URL
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.hisfam.2007.12.005

Abstract

This article points to a largely neglected theme in the maritime history: the important role of sailors' families in urban seafaring communities during the Early Modern Period. At the end of the seventeenth century and during the first decades of the eighteenth century, about 20% of the crewmembers of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) were married. Accordingly, in the towns in Holland where the VOC was present, many women had to run a household by themselves for a long period of time. The sailors' families were often confronted by emotional and financial distress, which to some extent affected the financial expenses of VOC towns as well. Many of these families were however able to cope because they received material support from various urban institutions. The Company created a system that encouraged sailors to send their money home during voyages, while urban poor relief often temporarily complemented the family's budget. Contrary to other married women, wives of sailors could obtain the legal power to engage in financial transactions, or to have access to inheritances. Town councils, civil courts, church councils, charity institutions and the East India Company were all willing to help the seamen's families. Their motives were twofold: while urban communities benefited from financially stable families, and the VOC compensated for their low pay by offering their employees fringe benefits, the attitudes towards seamen's wives also indicate that the urban elites genuinely wanted to provide some assistance to these needy families.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1016/j.hisfam.2007.12.005
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D204 Modern History
D History General and Old World > DH Netherlands (The Low Countries)
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of History
Depositing User: Danielle van den Heuvel
Date Deposited: 13 Oct 2014 19:19 UTC
Last Modified: 29 May 2019 13:11 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/43375 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
van den Heuvel, Danielle: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4318-4984
  • Depositors only (login required):