City Finances

If the Dutch Republic was the world's wealthiest nation, per capita, and Delft was one of its richest cities, just how rich were the people who lived in Delft? While we have no income tax records, we do have estate records that help answer that question for individuals. The book Achter de Gevels van Delft has looks at a sample of 300 estates after 1700. In Leeuwenhoek's case, we have his daughter's estate inventory. For the City's government, we have much more complete and detailed records available.

  • How big was the annual budget?
  • Where did the money come from?
  • What did they spend it on?

The right hand menu has some of the data that can be gleaned from the City treasurer's account books. The graph below (hover over the data points for detail) shows some features of the City's bugdet.

Treasurer's record books

The City's treasurer had his own room in the Stadhuis, to the right of the main entrance, with space for his clerks. His records were stored separately from the rest, in a special storage room above the burgemeesters' room. The records were kept in three series, now with gaps. They give a sense of the bureaucracy and Leeuwenhoek's minor role in the governance of Delft.

1674 Pieter Abrahams Hogenhoeck, treasurer 1679 Jacob vander Burgh,
1673 Bartholemous van Mast, treasurer

Maanboek voor de thesaurier

  • record of revenues
  • 129 annual volumes beginning in 1482
  • organized by revenue category
  • within each category, payments noted when made
  • archive inventory and number: OAD 676


Register van uitgaven door de thesaurier

  • record of expenses
  • 123 annual volumes beginning in 1579
  • organized by expense category
  • within each category, payments noted when made
  • archive: OAD 679

Rekeningen van de thesaurier van Delft

  • summary of revenues and expenses
  • 203 annual volumes beginning in 1554
  • organized by same categories, revenues first
  • payments noted when due, usually the end of the period
  • archive: OAD 678
  • These folio-sized books have between three- and four-hundred numbered folio sheets, half the number of pages, using our modern front-and-back numbering system.
  • The ongoing registers (Maanbouck and Uitgeeffbouck) were written in multiple hands, often in a hurry, recording transactions when they happened.
  • The account book (Reekening) was written in a uniform hand after the year was over by someone who clearly took some pride is his calligraphy. He is mentioned, along with his stipend, in the final section of every account book.
  • Though the account book shows the due date, the record of revenues (maanbouck) shows income past its due date, sometimes well into the following year. The record of expenses (uitgeeffbouck) also shows payments past the due date. For example, when Leeuwenhoek began as camerbewaarder, the due date for his salary in the account book was January 24. The actual payment dates the the record of expenses were quarterly throughout the year.