Dutch term – Buurtschap

A buurtschap is literally a neighborship. It is a part of a municipality or parish. Unlike a village or town, a buurtschap usually does not have a center or church but consists of a group of farms dotting the landscape.

Buurtschap is a word most commonly used in rural parts of the Netherlands. The closest English term would be hamlet.

In many places, the buurtschap had an economical and a social function. Often, taxes were collected at the buurtschap level, and each buurtschap would have one or more leaders who would act as contacts when news had to be spread, or when the neighborhood had to be organized. Many buurtschappen had their own common grounds where neighbors could collect sods or graze their sheep.


Sheep at the moors at Laren. Credits: Harry Pol, collection Nationaal Archief (CC-BY)

About Yvette Hoitink

Yvette Hoitink, CG® is a professional genealogist in the Netherlands. She holds the Certified Genealogist credential from the Board for Certification of Genealogists and has a post-graduate certificate in Family and Local History from the University of Dundee. She has been doing genealogy for over 30 years and helps people from across the world find their ancestors in the Netherlands. Read about Yvette's professional genealogy services.

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