Evidence from the Jewish cemetery of Oudekerk and in the local Sephardic records show people of African descent were part of the Portuguese Jewish community. Some were slaves, others as servants and some were free. All were Jews. But none were given the dignity they deserved.
In 1596, 100 Africans arrived in Middleburg, Zeeland – the first black people known to set foot in the Netherlands. The city fathers declared them free, but the ship captain who wanted to sell them as slaves objected. Within months, they were on their way to the Caribbean to be sold as slaves. Why is this story relevant today?
Quick: Name the biggest company the world’s ever seen. Apple? Amazon? Some bank or real estate developer? Nope. To guess correctly, you’d have to pick a company that went out of business in 1799.
In’t Aepjen still exists as a tavern to this day, though it is monkey- and flea-free, and as far as I know, its patrons are not in danger of being pressed into three years’ service with the merchant marines.
The thing about Mennonites is there is no such thing as THE Mennonite church. It’s really the Mennonite churches, with no central authority. Some of the churches are much more liberal and some more traditional. And some of it depends on where in the world they are located.
What we might see as free will is just an illusion, Spinoza says. If you read this post, it’s because it was always in your nature to do so. If not, well, that was in your nature, too.
I’d like to hear from other writers: How have you approached writing about characters or topics that were out of your league? How did you do research enabling you to write about them with authority? How did you write around things that remained above your pay grade? I want to know how we write about things we don’t understand logically, but get on different level.
The Netherlands was a place where great forces were battling to see their view of the world hold sway. The Dutch Reformed Church with its predicant preachers, strict and orthodox, wanted to have the final world over the standards — both legal and social — being set in the new nation. They were opposed by the Remonstrants, their more liberal-minded rivals who were required to meet in private homes instead of public churches. And perhaps most powerful of all was the merchant class, whose vast wealth kept the heart of Amsterdam beating throughout the Dutch Golden Age.