Pensionaries and Secretaries


The pensionary (pensionaris) was the city's chief legal officer, secretary of the Council of Forty (Veertigraad), and Delft's representative and spokesman at the meetings of Holland's cities. He received a salary, or pension. Boitet's Beschrijving lists sixteen men as pensionaris after 1518, and only six during Leeuwenhoek's adult life.

1654 - 1672  Arent van der Dussen

1672 - 1678  Gaspar van Kinschot

1679 - 1689  Anthony Adriaens Heijnsius

1689 - 1690  Johan Goes van Absmade

1691 - 1698  Adriaan Baart

1698 -          Hendrik Aemilius Johans van Hoornbeek

The position was permanent, so its influence was great. Kinschot, van Absmade, and Baart all died in office. Anthonij Heinsius (left) held the office during the 1680's before he moved on to become Grand Pensionary of all Holland, and thus the most powerful politician in the country.

add salary from Treasurer's accounts

City Secretaries

The city's secretary (stadssecretaris) had no doubt been a function from the beginning of the city's self-governance. The office was officially established in 1342 after Count Willem IV granted Delft a variety of rights over its own commercial affairs, including the weigh house, school, and fish market as well as a small staff. A month later, he added a city secretary, to be chosen by the city without any outside approval.

Boitet began listing the secretaries with Jacob Hendriks Duist van Voorhout in 1513, great grand-father of Leeuwenhoek's good friend Maria Duyst van Voorhout. He noted 22 more through 1713, including the two in office at the time of his writing in 1727. Some were under-secretaries. Others were pensionaris at the same time.

While Leeuwenhoek was involved with tasks at the Stadhuis and Waag, nine men were city secretary, two at a time. One of the positions was held by three successive generations of the Vockestaert family. Anthonij Heinsius became secretary at age 29, which is probably when he got to know Leeuwenhoek. Fifty years later, Leeuwenhoek was still writing letters to his old friend.

1654 - 1668   Hendrik Ewouts van Bleiswijk 1652 - 1688   Hendrik Hendriks Vockestaert
1668 - 1670   Adriaan Simons van Groenewegen 1688 - 1713   Hendrik Wouters Vockestaert
1670 - 1679   Anthonij Adriaens Heinsius 1713 -            Hendrik Hendriks Vockestaert
1679 - 1695   Bruno Arents van der Dussen  
1695 - 1710   Jacob Arents van der Dussen  
1710 -            Andries Adriaens van der Goes

detail of page 112 of the 1661 City treasurer's account books
(click to enlarge)

Mr. Arent van der Dussen, pensionary, received a salary (wedde) of 2,000 guilders annually
and an additional 300 guilders as a housing allowance.

Mr. Hendrick Vockestaert, city secretary, received 250 guilders annually,
as noted in the Uitgeefbouck (expenses book), fol. 11v, due in December 1661.
He received no housing allowance.