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Sources on the history of Rijnsburg Abbey 1140-1620

Compiled by Maria Hüffer

In 1133, Countess Petronella, widow of Count Floris II of Holland, founded a nunnery in Rijnsburg. The retreat flourished under the protection of successive counts of Holland and developed into the most prestigious nunnery for the nobility in the region, with estates that extended all over Holland and Zeeland. In 1574, the abbey’s buildings were destroyed after the abbess and the nuns had already fled. The Nobility of Holland subsequently took over the management of the Abbey’s goods and, until 1620, gave stipends to the former residents of the retreat, who had since settled in Leiden.

This two-volume documentary edition contains a list of abbesses, roll-books of important contracts concluded between 1140-1620, a register detailing fiefs of the abbey between 1383-1463, and excerpts from bills issued from 1375-1500. Most of these items come from the cloister’s own archive which is housed at the National Archive in The Hague. The first part contains a detailed introduction that focuses on issues such as the history of the abbey, the creation of the archive and its fate through the ages, and the different types of currency mentioned in the accounts.