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Leiden’s textile industry 1333-1795

Compiled by N.W. Posthumus

This six-volume documentary edition contains as complete a survey as possible of documents connected to Leiden’s textile industry from the beginning of the 14th century until the end of the 18th century. The textile industry was one of the most important industries in the Netherlands and Leiden’s textile industry stands out in particular. It flourished during the Middle Ages, dropped off in the 16th century, then picked up again only to fall into a spiralling decline during the 18th century.

The publication mainly contains documents from the Municipal Archive of Leiden. They deal with government regulations concerning the textile trade: how it was organised; production techniques and how the different types of textile were produced; competition with textile companies outside the city and the protection of Leiden’s industry; the conditions of employment (wages); the working conditions (working hours, accommodation); and the recurrent industrial unrest. All the items in the volume on the Middle Ages and the 16th century have been presented in chronological order, while those from the 17th century have been sorted according to the type of textile trade (camlet, fustian and others).

The author of this documentary edition, N.W. Posthumus, was a pioneer in the area of (quantitative) economic history and wrote a monumental study in Dutch on the history of Leiden’s woollen cloth manufacturing industry based on this documentary edition called: De geschiedenis van de Leidsche lakenindustrie, 3 vol. (The Hague 1908-1939)