Brieven als buit / Letters as LootNaar de resource
(jaar van publicatie: 2013-heden)
Approximately 40,000 Dutch letters from the second half of the 17th to the early 19th centuries have been gathering dust for centuries in British archives. They were sent home by sailors and others from abroad but also vice versa by those staying behind who needed to keep in touch with their loved ones. The letters did not reach their destinations: they were taken as loot by privateers and confiscated by the High Court of Admiralty during the wars fought between The Netherlands and England. These confiscated letters of men, women and even children represent priceless material for historical linguists. They allow us to gain access to the as yet mainly unknown everyday Dutch of the past, the colloquial Dutch of people from the middle and lower classes.
The corpus on this website comprises about 1,000 letters and was compiled within the Brieven als Buit/ Letters as Loot programme. The research team also collected the metadata related to the letters. The National Archives (Kew, UK), the current location of the confiscated documents, offered the opportunity to photograph selected letters, all kept in the High Court of Admiralty (HCA) Archives. About 90% of the photographs in the present internet application originate from the Brieven als Buit/ Letters as Loot programme. The remaining 10% were provided by the preservation project Metamorfoze (Royal Library (KB) and National Archives, The Hague), by dr. Adri van Vliet (cf. Adri P. Van Vliet, ”Een vriendelijcke groetenisse”. Brieven van het thuisfront aan de vloot van De Ruyter (1664-1665). (Franeker: Van Wijnen. 2007) and by dr. Roelof van Gelder.