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Financing Poor Relief through Charitable Collections in Dutch Towns, c. 1600-1800

Financing Poor Relief through Charitable Collections in Dutch Towns, c. 1600-1800

Daniëlle Teeuwen
Copyright Date: 2016
Pages: 240
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt197053j
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    Financing Poor Relief through Charitable Collections in Dutch Towns, c. 1600-1800
    Book Description:

    In the Dutch Republic, charitable collections were regularly organized by both religious and secular authorities. This book examines the policies of church boards and town councils in organizing these charitable appeals, as well as the general population's giving behavior. Using archival sources from the towns of Delft, Utrecht, Zwolle, and 's-Hertogenbosch, Daniëlle Teeuwen shows how these authorities deployed organizational and rhetorical tactics-including creating awareness, establishing trust, and exerting pressure-to successfully promote fundraising campaigns. Not only did many relief institutions manage to collect large annual sums, but contributions came from across the socioeconomic spectrum.

    eISBN: 978-90-485-2611-6
    Subjects: History
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Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter (pp. 1-6)
  2. Table of Contents (pp. 7-8)
  3. 1 Introduction (pp. 9-22)

    With the development of European welfare states from the late nineteenth century onwards, and especially with their rapid expansion in the period after World War II, charity seemed to become a phenomenon of the past. In this period, tax-financed welfare programmes set up by national governments brought substantial advancements for European citizens such as income security, a more equal distribution of wealth, and universal access to education and health care, thereby marginalizing the activities of religious charities, urban relief institutions and voluntary associations. However, from the 1980s onwards, changes in economic, social and political circumstances, such as slackening economic growth,...

  4. 2 Organizing poor relief (pp. 23-40)

    In the second half of the seventeenth century, the inhabitants of’s-Hertogen-bosch were at least three times per week at their homes requested to donate to charitable causes. The Nine Blocks, which were district-based organizations, went door-to-door weekly, and collectors for a relief institution supporting poor people detained in the gatehouse made their rounds through town even twice per week. On a less regular basis the Civic Orphanage held public collections in the streets as well, and in the late eighteenth century its Catholic counterpart was allowed to visit the homes of church members to ask for financial contributions. Thus, a...

  5. 3 Financing outdoor poor relief (pp. 41-72)

    In the 1730s, the Zwolle City Poor Chamber experienced large difficulties in keeping its budget afloat. The urban authorities then decided upon an extensive investigation into the relief institution’s finances, which was carried out in 1735. After inspecting the account books on both income and expenditure, as well as interrogating poor people supported by this charity, they concluded that the members of the City Poor Chamber had distributed alms ‘with very great prudence and even less extensively than the bad situation of several indigent came to require’.¹ Thus, mismanagement as a cause of the financial troubles could be crossed off...

  6. 4 Organizing collections (pp. 73-98)

    On 25 June 1766, a fire which began in a butcher’s shop, quickly spread through the small town of Hilversum, destroying over 200 houses as well as a school building, the vicarage, the Dutch Reformed church and its tower, and many other public buildings. The total damage was calculated at 332,341 guilders, which was far more than the inhabitants of Hilversum would be able to raise amongst themselves.¹ For this reason, the delegated representatives (Gecommitteerde Raden) of Holland’s South Quarter allowed Hilversum’s municipality to organize collections in this part of the country. Next, as it was ultimately up to the...

  7. 5 The rhetoric of giving (pp. 99-122)

    On 17 April 1606, the Utrecht town council publicly announced a collection that would be held to assist poor inhabitants, and then especially impoverished newcomers. The decree stated that on the next day, which was Good Friday, members of the municipality and civic militias would go door-to-door to collect donations, and that everyone was ‘earnestly admonished’ to give, and then especially ‘those who God almighty has richly provided with temporary goods and means’. Next, the announcement went on to stress that there was no need to worry that donations would benefit any ‘idlers, vagrants and lazy beggars’, as these people...

  8. 6 Donating to collections (pp. 123-148)

    During a collection organized by the Delft town council in April 1683 for persecuted Protestants who had fled their home countries and had sought refuge in Delft, the approximately 24,000 town inhabitants donated a sum of 4,440 guilders.¹ On this occasion, members of the municipality themselves, accompanied by district wardens, went door-to-door carrying open collection plates, which resulted in a large sum. During the Christmas collection for the Chamber of Charity in that same year, in which case open plates were also used to stimulate generous giving, about 6,750 guilders were collected on one single day. The collections held during...

  9. 7 Conclusion (pp. 149-160)

    The early modern Dutch welfare system has often been described as relatively generous and efficient. Not only foreigners visiting the Dutch Republic, but also present-day historians have asserted that the Dutch, together with their English neighbours, stood out in early modern Europe in terms of solidarity with the poor and needy in society. Different from the English case, in the Northern Netherlands an extensive national legal and regulatory framework on social care was absent, as were obligatory poor rates for the financing of charitable activities. In Dutch towns social care was organized at a local level and largely financed from...

  10. Notes (pp. 161-194)
  11. A Financial administration of poor relief institutions (pp. 195-199)
  12. B Income of poor relief institutions (pp. 200-204)
  13. C Income of poor relief institutions corrected for inflation (pp. 205-209)
  14. D Sermons and religious writings (pp. 210-212)
  15. Bibliography (pp. 213-226)
  16. Index (pp. 227-230)
  17. Back Matter (pp. 231-234)