About Maritime careers

Seafarers are a fascinating class of workers. They form part of 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 maritime labour markets and the characteristics of the seagoing workforce, and the changes these underwent over time. We’re interested in question 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 internationalisation do we witness over time? What differences can we observe between careers of native and migrant sailors?

Haven met zeilschepen en zeelieden op de kade, Reinier Nooms, 1656 - Rijksmuseum
Haven met zeilschepen en zeelieden op de kade, Reinier Nooms, 1656 – Rijksmuseum Amsterdam
Time span and sources

Currently, most of our research covers the 18th century and is based on two major datasets: Prize Papers and Dutch East India Company’s personnel records but we will also discuss other sources and aim to extent our research into the 19th and 20th century.

While Jelle van Lottum frequently posts short updates of ongoing work on his Twitter feed (also displayed on this page), 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.