Book Review: ‘Reilen en zeilen van de admiraliteit van Rotterdam in de jaren 1630–1640’ by J. R. Bruijn

By N. A. M. Rodger, published August 2022


It is now more than 50 years ago that the young Leiden scholar Jaap Bruijn published his doctoral thesis on the Admiralty of Amsterdam ‘in the peaceful years’ (De Admiraliteit van Amsterdam in rustige jaren, 1713–1751). At a time when naval history was usually written by retired naval officers recounting their professional triumphs, Bruijn chose to study a period predominantly of peacetime service and gentle decline in Dutch maritime power. This allowed him to concentrate on one of the most distinctive features of the Dutch republic’s constitution, the five Admiralty Colleges, which distributed the administration of the Republic’s navy into provincial units, which nevertheless remained organs of the national government under the authority of the States-General. The Province of Holland was the wealthiest part of the Republic, and its two great rival seaports of Amsterdam and Rotterdam dominated the administration of a navy which, even after it had been overtaken in strength by the English, was still in the first half of the eighteenth century widely admired for its performance in war as well as for its administrative sophistication…

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Filed under: Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Administration | Strategy & Diplomacy

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