Public offices, private demands

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Public offices, private demands

Capability in governance in the seventeenth-century Dutch Republic
International Conference

Rotterdam, 28-29 June 2007

In the seventeenth-century Dutch Republic the ruling elite consisted of urban magistrates, who lacked royal authority and were formally not distinct from those governed. There was no monarch, while noblemen, although highly esteemed, played a minor role in actual governance.

Dutch urban magistrates lacked the royal military monopoly by which obedience could be enforced. Their main instrument, the schutterij, was a citizen militia that often refused to counteract their fellow citizens.

Consequently, the magistrates’ personal capability to rule – whether real or propagated – was the single most important quality to justify their policy. The term bequamheit, or capability, was used frequently in debates on good governance.

By looking at capability this conference tries to reinterpret seventeenth-century Dutch political life.
Please register by sending name, affiliation, and address information to Conference fee €10,-. Payment at conference.


Public Library Rotterdam

Hoogstraat 110

3011 PV Rotterdam

Programme Thursday 28 June

Morning session

10.00-10.45 Prof. Dr. C. Condren (University of New South Wales), Beyond the Republic. Capability and the Ethics of Office

        1. Dr. Ir. F.J. Dijksterhuis (Universiteit Twente), Fit to measure. Assessing mathematical expertise in the Dutch Republic

        1. Coffee

11.45-12.30 Drs. M. van Driel (Gelders Archief), Karel van Egmond and capability

12.30-13.15 Dr. J. Waszink (Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen), Hugo Grotius, a scholar in government
13.15-14.30 Lunch

Afternoon session

        1. Drs. J.J.G. Hartman (Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam), Educating the rulers. De la Court's considerations on the capable politician

15.30-16.30 Drs. A. Weststeijn (European University Institute), Wise Merchants. Barlaeus and the Brothers De la Court on Commercial and Rhetorical Capability

16.30-17.30 Drs. P.C. Wilders (Universiteit van Amsterdam), ‘Capability’ by the standards of stadtholder William III

Programme Friday 29 June

Morning session
9.30-10.00 Reception
10.00-11.00 Prof. dr. Glenn Burgess (University of Hull), Office-holding, participation and England's 'Monarchical Republic'
11.00-12.00Dr. G. Vermeesch (Universiteit Leiden), Administrative reforms and the capability of urban civil servants in the Low Countries: a comparative look into the cases of Holland, Brabant and Flanders, 1300-1800

        1. Coffee

12.15-13.15 Dr. M.P.C. van der Heiden (Universiteit Leiden), Early modern concepts of public services in the Netherlands

        1. Lunch

Afternoon session
14.30-15.30 Drs. J.T. Nieuwstraten (Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam), Why the rich should rule. Marcus Zuerius Boxhorn’s (1612-1653) view on ‘capability’ and office-holding
15.30-16.30 Drs. M.H.P. Reinders (Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam), ‘Wat raat om de beste te krijgen?’ Capability and political participation in times of political reform
16.30-17.30 Mr. Drs. M.P. Hoenderboom (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) and Drs. A.D.N. Kerkhoff (Universiteit Leiden), Value systems underlying capability: the case of Lodewijk Huygens (1676)

In collaboration with the History Dept. (FHKW), History of Law (FRG), Public Administration (FSW) and History of Philosophy (FWB) Erasmus University Rotterdam

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