Underworlds is a lively account of organized crime and the world of marginal groups in the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Netherlands. Rural banditry has often been associated with mountainous, poverty-stricken areas located at the peripheries of the European continent or on the borders between states. This book is about bands operating in the countryside of one of the most densely populated, economically developed, and pacified European states. It examines the nature of these criminal bands and the way they changed over time, probing the links between warfare, poverty, immigration, social exclusion, stigmatization, and involvement in rural organized crime. At the same time Underworlds presents an historical anthropology of marginal groups in the Dutch Republic. Investigating the enormous cultural diversity of organized crime and the prominent role of ethnic minorities (East Europeans, Jews and Gypsies), Egmond establishes the existence of a variety of 'underworlds' rather than of a single 'criminal organization'.
Drawing extensively on criminal archives, the author reconstructs the ways of life and activities of people whose existence has remained largely hidden behind the conventional accounts of Dutch society.
'This book is quite simply groundbreaking at every turn. It is a
'must' for any social and cultural historian of early modern
Dr R. Scribner, Clare College, Cambridge
'This is not just a book which will be of value to historians of
crime or historians of the Netherlands. It contains a wealth of
material on, and insight into, early modern marginal groups, the
poor in general, and perceptions of these groups. It is social
history at its most vivid.'
Social History Society Bulletin
'One of the central topics in the history of crime, as distinct
from the history of justice and punishment, is the question of the
extent and nature of professional, organized crime; the question of
whether there was a criminal 'underworld'. Florike Egmon's
painstaking reconstruction of Dutch criminal bands in the
seventeenth and eighteenth centuries sheds new light on this
issue.' International Review of Social History
Part I. :.
1. In Bad Company.
2. Confronting the Authorities.
Part II. Warfare and Banditry:.
3. Post-War Bands: Holland and Zealand, 1615-1720.
4. 'Foreign Soldiers': Military Bands in Brabant, 1690-1720.
Part III. Ethnicity:.
5. Gypsy Bands, 1695-1730.
6. Jewish Networks, 1690-1800.
Part IV. The Changing Structure of the Rural
7. Mixing Minorities, 1720-1800.
8. The Brabant Connection, 1730-1810.