Dutch term – Huwelijkse voorwaarden

Huwelijkse voorwaarden (literally: marriage terms) is the Dutch term for prenuptial agreement. Historically, like today, most people did not have huwelijkse voorwaarden. Prenuptial agreements were often made by people who were well-to-do or who had children from a previous marriage to provide for. A prenuptial agreement identifies the spouses, … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Heksenwaag

The Heksenwaag was the place where witches were weighed. Witches were known to be lighter than normal, in order to fly on a broom. People accused of witchcraft could go to a heksenwaag to be weighed and receive a certificate declaring them to be of normal weight, which they could then show to their accusers. … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Kolonie

Kolonie is the Dutch word for colony. As a result of the commercial activities of companies like the Dutch East India Company and West India Company, the Dutch had colonies and trade posts all over the world, including: New Netherland in North America, which covered large parts of the current states of New York and New Jersey, where the Dutch … [Read more...]

Dutch Term – Archief

October is archive month, so this week's Dutch term is archief (archive). The word archief has two meanings: The repository that holds records A group of records created by a person or organization as a result of their activities. For example, the Nationaal Archief holds the archief (records) of the West India Company. … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Verzuiling

Verzuiling, literally: "pillarization," is the segregation of a society by religion or socio-economic background. By the late 1800s, the Dutch society become increasingly segragated. As a child of Roman Catholic parents, you would not just worship in the Catholic church, but you would also attend a Catholic school, sing in a Roman choir, and … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Doodgeboren

Doodgeboren, literally "born dead," is the Dutch word for stillborn. Since the introduction of the civil registration, stillborn children who were born after 24 weeks of pregnancy only received a death record. As of 19 September 2016, parents can now also request that a birth record is drawn up. … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Signalement

Signalement is the physical description. You can often find signalementen in military records, prison records, or in police bulletins. It is rare to find a physical description for ancestors before say 1800. See a list of Dutch terms in physical descriptions for more information. … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Polder

A polder is a section of land that was claimed from the sea or marsh. This was traditionally done by building a dike around it the land and draining the water using mills. A polder will typically have many drainage canals crisscrossing the landscape. … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Haven

A haven is a harbor. The Netherlands had and has some of the largest harbors in the world. They provided work for a range of occupations, both for people working at sea like fishermen and skippers, and for people working in the harbor like merchants, innkeepers and carriers. The harbors of Rotterdam and Amsterdam were also major ports of … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Legitieme portie

The legitieme portie (legitimate portion) is the part of the inheritance that children are legally entitled to. Under Dutch law, at least since the 1800s, children cannot be disowned by their parents completely, even if the parent makes up a will. Their legitimate portion is half of what they would have inherited if there was no will. This is … [Read more...]