Ordinance exempting Jews between 16 and 60 years old from military service and obliging them to pay a monthly fine

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The captains and officers of the militia of this city petitioning the director general and council whether the Jewish nation resident in this city should mount the guard under their militia banners, which being considered and deliberated upon, first, the aversion and disaffection of this militia to be fellow soldiers of the aforesaid nation, and to mount guard in the same guardhouse, and considering that the aforesaid nation is not admitted and counted among the militia in the renown mercantile city of Amsterdam or (to our knowledge) in any other city of the Netherlands, whether in the trainbands or in the general militia guard, but that the aforesaid nation for their freedom in that regard contribute a reasonable sum; the director general and council see fit, in order to prevent further discord, that the aforesaid nation shall remain exempt from general expeditions and guard duties, according to the custom of the laudable government of the famous mercantile city of Amsterdam, on the condition that each male above the age of 16 and under 60 years old shall contribute sixty-five stivers every month for the aforesaid freedom of being relieved of general militia duties; and the militia council is hereby authorized and commanded to obey the same until further orders from us, and according to the tenor hereof, to collect the aforesaid contribution monthly, and upon refusal to institute proceedings.

Thus done at the session in Fort Amsterdam, dated 28 August 1655.[1]


See LO, 191-92 for another version of this ordinance. For an extensive note on the Jews of Amsterdam and New Netherland, see LO, 192-94.


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.