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New Netherland, New York Genealogy
Obsolete Occupations of the Netherlands© Cor Snabel
Beachcomber (strandjutter)Combing the beach started out of pure poverty. Unemployment and low wages made people roam the beaches to find anything useful and driftwood was used for the stove or for building houses. Since the Middle Ages it was the law that the goods, which washed ashore were handed over to the local authority, the landowner or the Mayor. In 1529 Charles V enacted a law in which a person, who kept his findings to himself, was to be considered a thief. But these laws were useless; nobody could check the entire coastline and traditions about beachcombing were very hard to change.
If an abandoned ship washed ashore the authorities had to react very fast, because the beachcombers always wandered around the beaches especially during stormy weather, even at night. Plundering of those ships happened all the time; a ship’s cargo was a very rich catch for the poor inhabitants of the coastal areas. People even started to make big fires on the beach in order to mislead the ships. In 1767 the VOC-ship “Vrouwe Elisabeth Dorothea” stranded on the coast of Holland and an eyewitness stated, that a rapacious mob was involved in plundering the rich ship. As a result of that incident a wreck-master was appointed in 1769 in every village along the coast and he and his helpers had to watch the entire coastline, especially during storms and even at night. Nowadays the local Mayor is the wreck-master and policemen are his helpers, because beachcombing still exists.
>Choose from the following ancient occupations
Seat Caretaker |
Ship Shanghai |
Baker | Beachcomber | Beguine | Candlemaker | Dumpman | Executioner | Fanmaker | Fireman | Gravedigger | Innkeeper | Laundrywoman | Nightwatch | Peddlar | Porter | Seat Caretaker | Ship Shanghai | Soapmaker | Streetpaver | Tolltaker | Pharmacist
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