Capability in governance in the seventeenth-century Dutch Republic
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Conference fee €10,-. Payment at conference.
10.00-10.45 Prof. Dr. C. Condren (University of New South Wales), Beyond the Republic. Capability and the Ethics of Office
Dr. Ir. F.J. Dijksterhuis (Universiteit Twente), Fit to measure. Assessing mathematical expertise in the Dutch Republic
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
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
12.15-13.15 Dr. M.P.C. van der Heiden (Universiteit Leiden), Early modern concepts of public services in the Netherlands
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