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Policing the urban environment of late medieval Dordrecht

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Abstract

An important Dutch trading centre, Dordrecht experienced considerable
population growth and many environmental challenges during
the later Middle Ages. Surviving administrative, financial, and legal
records help us to establish the effectiveness of bylaws, and the extent
to which conflicts reached the courts. We can document official policies
regarding urban space, sanitation, and nuisances, while also determining
the responsibilities of residents in matters of public health. Magistrates
often reissued regulations concerning the construction of buildings, the
disposal of rubbish and offal, and the reduction of noise, while a variety
of officials monitored compliance, imposing on-the-spot fines when
necessary. Since Dordrecht’s wealth derived from trade, disturbances,
dirt, and the diseases, fires, and floods that suggested divine displeasure
could threaten its prosperity.
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Details

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPolicing the urban environment in premodern Europe
EditorsCarole Rawcliffe, Claire Weeda
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
PublisherAmsterdam University Press
Chapter5
Pages149-177
Number of pages29
ISBN (Print)978-94-6298-519-3
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2019