Seafarers are a fascinating class of workers. They form a dynamic labour force, characterised over the past 400 years by varying levels of internationalisation.
On this website we showcase the results of our research into the functioning of Dutch maritime labour markets and the characteristics of the seagoing workforce, and the changes these underwent over time. We’re interested in questions such as: how did skill levels of seamen develop over the centuries? How international was the maritime sector? And what changes in the level of internationalization do we witness over time? What differences can we observe between careers of native and migrant sailors?
Time span and sources
Currently, most of our research covers the 18th and 20th centuries. For the 18th century, it is mainly based on the Dutch East India Company’s pay records and to a lesser extent on the Prize Papers. For the 20th century, we base our research on personnel records of various Dutch shipping companies. We aim to extend our research into the 19th in the near future.
While Jelle van Lottum frequently posts short updates of ongoing work on his Twitter feed, this website provides more background on our research projects and the historical sources used, to be supplemented in due time with discussion of our results and links to the research data.