Page 209 - Dutch Asiatic Shipping Volume 1
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 bers, Amsterdam and Zeeland. The archives are conveniently arranged and highlyacces­
sible thanks to the extensive inventory compiled by M . A . P . Meilink-Roelofsz. A clear
and concise summary of the extent and character of the material is providedby M . P. H .
Roessingh in his guide to the sources of the history of Asia and Oceania in the Netherlands
up to 1796.
In the archives of both chambers are to be found sets of resolutions of the Heren
Zeventien, of minutes and reports of the advisory committees of the Zeventien and of the
letters from the central governing body to Asia, as well as sets of resolutions of the boards
of directors o f both chambers and the letters they sent to Asia. The most impressive set
however is that o f the Overgekomen Brieven en Papieren (Letters and papers received)
from Asia (abbreviated to Ο.Β.P. or O.B.). Every year a vast number of papers was
received from Batavia and other offices with direct links with the Republic, to be filed in
bundles by the chambers at home. In Amsterdam these documents were arranged by year
- the sets there occupy 2908 volumes! - , in Zeeland they are arranged under the headings
of the relevant offices. Contained in the bundles are the missives addressed to the Heren
Zeventien by the Hoge Regering in Batavia, copies o f the correspondence from Batavia
and the other trading posts in Asia, and many documents on trade and business overseas.
It will be obvious that this source is of the utmost importance for Asiatic history as well,
as has been emphasized already in much o f the literature.
Unfortunately, of the committees of the chambers and their comptoir en far less archive
material is extant. In 1683 the director Hudde counted no less than 76 books and booklets
in the various departments of the Amsterdam chamber - and that excluding the pay office.
These items included account books of goods purchased at home, invoice books of depar­
ting and returning ships, books recording under each article the quantity received from
Asia each year, books recording the purchase price of Asiatic goods as well as the eventual
selling price and the rendement or gross profit. Little remains o f all this. Among the n o
doubt most important documents still available are the Amsterdam chamber's ledgers
and journals of the eighteenth century. This means that regarding goods traffic between
Asia and Europe one has to rely largely on the resolutions o f the Heren Zeventien, the
reports of financial committees o f the Zeventien and in particular on information dispat­
ched from Asia. Documents relating to shipping and the equipment o f ships are in the
archives o f the department van de equipage, including a number - albeit a small one out
of the grand total o f voyages - o f ships' journals. The pay office is represented in th e
archives by a great many documents; the more or less complete set of muster- andpay-rolls
A typewritten inventory compiled by M. A . P . Meilink-Roelofsz is available in the A R A , a printed
version is in preparation. Roessingh's work, Sources, is part of the series 'Guides to the sources
for the history of the nations' and contains, apart from a survey of the VOC archives (74-85) a
sketch of other archives in the Netherlands relevant to the history of Asia. The history of the V O C
archives is related by Meilink-Roelofsz in Van geheim tot openbaar.
Practical hints for research in the A R A and the VOC archives are given in Itinerario (1980), 2, a
special issue about the new archives.
The Zeeland material is therefore less accessible. In the A R A an index to the O B P bundles of the
Amsterdam chamber is available.
Cf. S. Arasaratnam, 'The use of Dutch material for South-East Asian historical writing', in Journal
of Southeast Asian History, 3 (1962), 95-105.
'Notitie van de boecken die bij d'Oostindische Comp, ter Camer Amsterdam werden gehouden',
in ARA, coll.Hudde, 3.
For these documents concerning the bookkeeping see De Korte, Dejaarlijksefinanciële verantwoor-
ding, esp. 9-20.

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