Samenwerkende Maritieme Fondsen (SMF), a body of six historical maritime foundations, have kindly awarded us a grant of just over € 100,000 to do new research into the life and careers of Dutch sailors. We will use this money to broaden our focus to the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, allowing us to tell new stories about sailors (on this blog, but also in a sailors of the Dutch merchant marine), make some more cool maps, and draw lines through history. Watch this blog and Jelle’s Twitter feed for updates on the project (2019-2023).
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?
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.