A soldaat is a soldier, the lowest rank in the army.
Before the French occupation, the Netherlands only had a professional army. Soldiers were recruited from all over Europe, bringing many Scots, Swiss and other soldiers to the country. Conscription for men between the ages of 20 and 45 was introduced in 1810. It was suspended in 1997, though never officially abolished.
Family lore has always hinted that my ancestor may have been a soldier from Switzerland. He just appeared from thin air in all the documents and married a local girl in 1789. He passed away in 1802, and I found a record from his oldest son’s marriage in 1820 that stated:
“That his grandparents of paternal side have been in Switzerland for several years where these lived and died.”
All part of the fun and the hunt.