Across the North Sea - The impact of the Dutch Republic on international labour migration, c. 1550-1850
Amsterdam: Aksant, 2007. ISBN 978-90-5260-278-3, 253 pp.
Daily life in the early modern North Sea region was largely subject to international forces. International developments like wars, trade and changing religion trickled through all layers of society, and almost everyone enjoyed or suffered from the consequences. People, however, also came in direct contact with the outer world: they moved to another country, and did so in great numbers. The centre of attention for most international migrants from the North Sea region was the Dutch Republic. From 1550 to 1800 this small confederation of provinces attracted hundreds of thousands of foreigners to work in its industries, in its households and on board of its ships.
This book is about the impact of the Dutch Republic on the geographical mobility of the people in the surrounding countries. Jelle van Lottum deals with the underlying demographic framework of the migrations, with the changes that occurred in the receiving labour market, and will make a comparison with the other labour-attracting core on the other side of the Channel, England. He arrives at the fascinating conclusion that the early modern migrations in North Western Europe shared many similarities to the better studied migrations of the industrial era.