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The Burgher and the WhoreProstitution in Early Modern Amsterdam$
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Lotte van de Pol

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199211401

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199211401.001.0001

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‘Birds of a Feather Flock Together’: Prostitutes, Clients, and Seafaring

‘Birds of a Feather Flock Together’: Prostitutes, Clients, and Seafaring

Chapter:
(p.141) 6 ‘Birds of a Feather Flock Together’: Prostitutes, Clients, and Seafaring
Source:
The Burgher and the Whore
Author(s):

Lotte van de Pol

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199211401.003.0007

This chapter sketches a profile of the Amsterdam prostitutes, and of their main clients, the sailors. Statistics and data from the judicial records enable to construct a collective biography of the arrested prostitutes; the majority (75 %) of whom were immigrants, from Dutch and German cities, single, and by trade textile workers or seamstresses. In comparison, Amsterdam brides were mostly native girls and if immigrants, maidservants from the countryside. Seafaring was extremely important for Dutch society, especially for the lower classes. Recruitment for the Dutch East India Company (VOC) among lower class men caused a large surplus of women, many of them poor immigrants with little prospect of marriage. VOC sailors not only were prominent clients of prostitutes, but they often came from the same backgrounds and regions.

Keywords:   women's work, immigration, surplus of women, clients of prostitutes, sailors, seafaring, Dutch East India Company VOC

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