Ordinance regulating buildings in New Amsterdam

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Whereas we see and notice by experience the previous disorderliness and continued daily practice in the building and erecting of houses; in the extending of their lots far beyond the survey; in the construction of pigpens and privies along the highways and streets; in neglecting and omitting to build properly on granted lots; the honorable lord director general Petrus Stuyvesant and the honorable lord councilors, in order to present the same in the future, have decided to appoint three building surveyors, to wit: the honorable lord Lubbert van Dincklaegen, the quartermaster Paulus Leendersen, and the secretary Cornelis van Tienhoven, whom we hereby authorize and empower to disapprove of and, in the future, to hinder all improper and irregular constmctions, fences, palisades, posts, rails, etc.; therefore, we order and admonish each and every one of our subjects, who from now henceforth are inclined to build in or near the city of New Amsterdam and to palisade gardens or lots, that no one is to attempt to practise or to undertake the same without the prior consent, notification and approval of the aforesaid appointed building surveyors, under forfeiture of 25 Carolus guilders and the clearing of what has been built or erected. Likewise, we want to have each and every one, who has heretofore received any lots warned and notified to improve their lots properly within nine months from now with good and suitable domiciles according to the ordinance, or in default thereof, such unimproved lots shall devolve to the patroon or proprietor, or to whomsoever it pleases him.

Thus done in court session in Fort Amsterdam, the 25th of July 1647.[1]


Also in LO, 74-75. On 9 April 1658 and again on 26 April 1663 the council renewed this ordinance; see LO, 343 and 438-39.


Translation: Gehring, C., trans./ed., New Netherland Documents Series: Vol. 16, part 1, Laws and Writs of Appeal, 1647-1663 (Syracuse: 1991).A complete copy of this publication is available on theĀ New Netherland Institute website.