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Bread for the Poor: Poor Relief and the Mitigation of the Food Crises of the 1590s and the 1690s in Berkel, Holland

  • Jessica DijkmanEmail author
Chapter

Abstract

This contribution discusses a historical example of what in the field of disaster studies is referred to as a community-based system for hazard mitigation: it examines the role of formal poor relief in the village of Berkel (Holland) during the food crises of the years 1595–1598 and 1698–1700. A detailed examination of the activities of the two main relief institutions in the village during these crises shows that the poor relief system in Berkel performed surprisingly well, despite its fragmented character: not only did it not break down, but in both periods under examination it contributed materially to the mitigation of the impact of the crisis. The main factor explaining this success was the solid financial basis of the larger of the two relief institutions, which not only allowed it to respond to raised demand with relative ease, but also to act as ‘relief provider of last resort’.

Keywords

Food crises Early modern Holland Berkel Rural poor relief 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Utrecht UniversityUtrechtNetherlands

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