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the vault

2 contemporary dutch painters
Nice gallery of two Dutch artists: oilpainting, watercolor's and drawings. Worth a visit.

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Dutch landscapes and other
free work of the
Dutch painter, illustrator
Piet Eggen

photographs from the Netherlands
Gallery of the Netherlands.
Click the picture to visit this growing database of pictures of Dutch landscapes, townviews, mill's and rivers.
(Amateur) photographers daily provide this database of new photographs from all over the country. If you want to have your personal photo of any place in the Netherlands added to this database, just feel free to contact me


FAQ's: frequently asked questions
Submenu of the Intro-page


Illustr. Job Rabbelier. Click picture to browse his portfolio


About Dike-reeve’s, Bailiff’s and Sherrif’s
"Holland" or
"the Netherlands"
Dutch involvement in the slave-trade
About the word "Dutch"
About "Pennsylvania Dutch"
What's a polder?
Does the webmaster perform genealogical searches?
What's this about the Southern Netherlands, the Northern Netherlands, Spanish Netherlands, Austrian Netherlands, the Netherlands and Belgium?
East Frisia (Ostfriesland), German territory: have there been connections between this region and the Netherlands?

About Dike-reeve’s, Bailiff’s and Sherrif’s

Q: I have a question to ask anyone.
A 'dijkgraaf', in the dictionary, means a bailiff. But I have a friend that would like to know more about that. What role did he play in the community?
What were responsibilities of a dijkgraaf? Was there something more to a bailiff back then, as apposed to what I can see on Judge Mathis, these days?

A : A bailiff is not a 'dijkgraaf' (anymore). 'Dike-reeve' is what my dictionary gives now.(Actually the Dutch word 'dijkgraaf' literally means: dike-Count, but most dike-reeves were -and still are- not of noble descent). The dijkgraaf is the chairman of the dike-board/ polder-board.In other words the dijkgraaf was the boss of a group of people who formed a conservancy board for canals, dikes, polders etc. Mostly the dijkgraaf and his other board-members were the local notables of the region which had to be protected and controlled.
Since the Low Lands (what's in a name..) did need dikes they did need people to take care of them as well. In the beginning the building of the first dikes (about 900) was initialized by the Count/local ruler or by cooperating farmers.In other parts, or regions where the power of the Count wasn't strong, the monasteries took over the organization and worked for dike- building and drainage.Both Count / the local ruler and Abbot did appoint the leader of the polder-board/dike-board. (AND, in the early day's the Count often did appoint his bailiff as leader, the dike-reeve. The first organized polder-boards date from the eleventh century. From the 13th century various polder-boards were combined into a larger managerial body (hoogheemraadschap). This was always initiated by the local Counts.Bear in mind that, till the first windmills (needed for the drainage) came in about
1400, the drainage had to be done by digging waterway's (weteringen) to the big rivers where the water could be drained off during low tide sea. It will not surprise you that the function of dijkgraaf has been adopted as a family name: The DIJKGRAAF name thus is a frequently occurring name. There is a nice site from a Dijkgraaf-family, also giving a good explanation of the dijkgraaf-function to be found here:

As to 'baljuw' (often translated as 'bailiff'):
Officially the baljuw was an official, civil servant, appointed by the sovereign lord /Count / local ruler. Mostly he was charged with the administration of justice in a certain region.
A functionary with a similar job was called a 'schout' (head of the court and the police / public prosecutor) in Dutch. That's why we find 'sheriff' and 'bailiff' as the English translations of Dutch word 'schout'. It is, however, rather difficult and tricky to use these terms:
1. regionally the function of a schout could be different;
2. regionally there were other names used for the same function (for instance, the 'grietman' in the province of Friesland. This function however also included some meddling with water-control!);
3.In some polders the name of the 'dike-reeve' could be schout instead!

"Holland" or "the Netherlands"

Q: What actually is the name of your country? I hear so many people using the word 'Holland'. Not only English-speaking folks do but also Germans use to speak of 'Holland'

A : The official name of our country is:
"Koninkrijk der Nederlanden" [Kingdom of the Netherlands]
In German and French the name respectively is: Die Niederlanden and les Pays Bas, both meaning: the Low Countries.
Holland is the name of a part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Actually Noord- and Zuid-Holland nowadays are two of the 12 existing provinces of the Kingdom.
Originally Holland was the name of the coastal county which was first established in 863. Through the years, ages the county of Holland became more and more powerful and from the sixteenth century it became the leading role in the States General of the Netherlands. This economic and political superiority over the other regions, provinces of the Netherlands must automatically have led to the use of 'Holland' when referring to the Netherlands.

Dutch involvement in the slave-trade

Q: What was the role of the Dutch in the Atlantic slave-trade?

A : The Dutch involvement in the slave trade was small compared with that of the other European powers: England, France, Spain and Portugal – it accounted for five percent of the total Atlantic slave trade. When the Dutch were actively engaged in it, they were responsible for transporting some 600,000 slaves from West Africa to the America's.
It's not impossible that this awfull figure will have been considerably higher: the Dutch traders even transported slaves for the Portuguese, French, Spaniards and even English.
As slave-masters/owners, the Dutch had a very cruel reputation, especially in Surinam.

About the word "Dutch"

Q: The word 'Dutch' is confusing. It easily corrupts to 'Deutch' which means 'German'. Where actually does the word 'Dutch' com from and what does it mean ?

A : The word 'DUTCH' is derived from the old Dutch word 'DIETS', meaning:
'from the people', or 'vernacular tongue'.

Actually the word 'Diets', or 'Diedsch' was used in the early Middle Ages to distinguish the Germanic languages, spoken by the people, from the Romanic, Wallonic languages and dialects. The first known, written literature in the 'Diets' language is from the 12th century, found in the province of Limburg.

'DIETS' is the Flemish/Dutch naming;
'DUUTS'/'DUYTSCH' is the Holland/Dutch naming.

In the course of time however 'Duytsch' or 'Duuts' has become the Dutch word for the German language. We are now talking about 'Duits' when we're referring to the language of our neighbors.

As to the language, used in the Netherlands we'd better use the word 'Netherlandic' instead of Dutch.

What's a polder?

Q: What is a polder and what does it look like (schematically)?

A : A polder = land reclaimed from a body of water and protected by dikes.






Q:Does the webmaster of this site perform genealogical searches in the Netherlands or Belgium? Does he visit archives?

A : Straight answer: No! As a matter of fact I hate archives. Been there to find out more about my progenitors but needed the help of some elderly archive rats to find at least the place where to look. It took an army of more helpful persons to help me how to look.
All I (can) do is sometimes show you the way in the Netherlands, tell you where to look.
I even can occasionally translate (parts of) Dutch homepages if requested.
My main interests, however, are history, topography and language, onomatics. I can tell you a bit about that. For persons, searching their roots, I surf the (Dutch) web(pages) daily to find anything appropriate for them.

Q:What's this about the Northern- and Southern Netherlands, the Netherlands and Belgium? What the heck is the difference?

A :The easy, not too complicated answer (all scientifically correct answers will send you into the dark wood):
Once (say: around the year 1000) there was a patchwork quilt of loosely connected or neighboring counties, duchies, small kingdoms, baronies, bishoprics etc. etc. stretching from Burgundy up to Friesland.
It never was a nation united but linguistically, culturally and geographically there was talk of an obvious resemblance (That is: between most of the territories, which were of German nature. Part of the territory I'm talking about, the most southern part, was of Roman nature).
In name, almost all of the territories I'm now talking about, were part of the German Empire. In name only, though: the daily influence of the emperor was no match for the actual Duke, Bishop, Count or Baron.
Later in history (from the end of the 13th century up till far in the 16th century) these territories were united, comprising roughly present-day Netherlands, Belgium and northern parts of France (Hainaut and Artois). These united territories became known under the name 'the Netherlands', more precisely the Northern Netherlands (Holland, Zeeland, Gelre, Friesland, the northern part of Brabant,Nedersticht and Oversticht) and the Southern Netherlands (Flanders, the southern part of Brabant, Hainaut, Namur, Artois and Luxembourg)
At the end of the 15th century however, these united territories became part of the Hapsburgian Empire. Unlike previous emperors the Hapsburgian dynasty started to reduce the medieval privileges of dukes, counts and other vassals. These attempts created a situation in which the Hapsburg's were bound to collide with the rich and powerful and the more or less autonomous regions of the Netherlands. The fact that reformation started meanwhile made things even more complicated: the inhabitants the Netherlands didn't enjoy the cruel behavior of the Spanish emperor towards the non-catholics nor did they want to loose their priviliges, so they started to oppose to the emperor. It took them 80 years to get rid of the man and become free: in 1648
the state of 'the United Netherlands' was born. The Southern Netherlands remained in Spanish hands and were referred to as 'the Spanish Netherlands'.What we now call Belgium almost covers the area of the Southern Netherlands; what we now call the Netherlands, roughly covers the area of the United Netherlands. Roughly.
From 1713 -1794 the Spanish Netherlands came in the hands of the Austrian Hapsburgians Therefore this the name of the territory changed into 'the Austrian Netherlands'. Then Napoleon came and the Austrian Netherlands were immediately added to France (from the early history on the Kings of France always tried to conquer parts of Artois, Flanders, Namur and Hainaut).
By the time Napoleon tried to bide his time at st. Helena (1815) the 'United Kingdom of the Netherlands' had become a fact, and in 1814 the former Spanish Netherlands were added to the Kingdom of the Netherlands.This lasted till 1830.So, from 1814-1830 both present day Belgium and the Netherlands formed 'the United Kingdom of the Netherlands'.
Finally in 1830, the Belgians revolted against the non-catholic Dutch and freed themselves from the Dutch. In 1831 'the Kingdom of Belgium' was a fact.

Q: Pennsylvania Dutch (Deitsch): how Dutch?

A :The short answer is that the PA Duch are Germans or at least of German speaking origin.'Dutch' being a mistranslation of Deutsch, which is German for 'German'.
But, the issue is (made) far more complicated. Some people let 'PA Dutch' refer to a group of persons; some use it to denote the language/dialect that people speak.
Regarded as a group of persons these 'Dutch' are in fact German -speaking individuals which can come from Germany, the Polish-Russian area, Bohemia, Moravia, Austria, Luxembourg, Alsace or Switzerland. They now can be found in various parts of North America (Ohio, Indiana, Ontario), but especially in Pennsylvania with the Amish and Old Order Mennonites.
Regarded as a language, or -rather- dialect, it is far more complicated because different spellings complicate things further. Dutch, Deitsch, Diets, Plattdeutsch, Plautdietsch, Low German and variations are mixed to an undrinkable cocktail!
Forget about the conception 'Dutch': this only and simply refers to the Netherlandic language and has NOTHING to do with 'Deitsch, Plattdeutsch etc.
'PA Dutch' or 'PA Deitsch' can be regarded as a dialect of the High German language.
' is a Low German dialect spoken in the northern parts of Germany.
'Deitsch' is the name used by the Amish and other groups in North America, themselves to denote the language they speak. Unfortunately 'Deitsch' is also used to denote the various dialects spoken today in various German speaking parts (the Palatinate, Southern Austria, and Luxembourg, BUT 'Deitsch' is also a dialect-word of  'Deutsch','German in general', used by speakers in various parts of the German speaking area: 'Deitsch on frei wolln mer sei' (German and free is, what we want to be)

For a good overview, please visit the They have a good article about the 'PA German'.

A very good authority on the matter is:
The Center for Pennsylvania German Studies
Director: Professor C. Richard Beam
406 Spring Drive
Millersville, PA 17551-2021 .

Q: Were there connections between the Republic and German East Frisia?

A: Yes. Since the early history there have been strong ties between the Netherlands, and East Frisia. The Frisian-Saxon province of Groningen and German East Frisia had their regional language in common and there were regular trade contacts. At the beginning of Reformation Emden, East Frisia, became a freehaven for calvinist protestants who had fled the Netherlands at the beginning of the Eighty Year War. In 1571 the first Synod of the Calvinist church was held at Emden.
In 1806 Dutch troops occupied East Frisia and annexing territories like Oldenburg, Jever, Varel and Knyphausen. (Varel and Knyphausen being a possession of the Dutch 'Bentinck Family'.) These territories became part of the "Koninkrijk Holland" (under Napoleons brother Louis Napoleon) In 1810 the Kingdom of Holland as well as the occupied Eastfrisian territories and Oldenburg (called "Département de l'Ems oriental") became integral part of the French Republic. This lasted till 1813 when Napoleon left Germany after having lost the battle at Leipzig.
In this sense East Frisia or parts of it never actually have been part of the Netherlands, but more parts of France. But than again there were Dutch troops and garrisons in Emden and Leerort from 1609 up to 1744.