Old Dutch law

ying Dutch legal history is traditionally called studying Old Dutch law. In this word no nationalism is implied, for dealing with it means studying a lot of varying regional and local legal systems. Apart from that, one has to see whether one is interested not only in the present Netherlands, but also in its sometime southern part, Belgium. Anyway, one can use the Dutch word oud-vaderlands recht for both Dutch and Belgian legal history.

To the legal history of the Netherlands and Belgium one has to add the colonial past of both countries: Indonesia, Suriname and the Dutch Antilles in the Caribbean, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Congo are among the countries involved.


The blason of the States of Utrecht with the motto of the Dutch Republic, Concordia res parvae crescunt – former Main Guardhouse, Janskerkhof, Utrecht

The study of Old Dutch law

It is possible to consult some major collections for the old printed sources of and concerning the old Dutch law, such as law books, statutes, ordinances, collections of ordinances and placards, collections of sentences or juridical advice, and legal commentaries. On the spot or nearby the libraries mentioned below is in most cases a collection of the relevant scientific literature on Dutch legal history.

  • The collection of E.M. Meijers (1880-1954) was housed for many years at the Legal History Institute of Leiden University in the old Count’s Prison, the “Gravensteen”, but now one can find it at Leiden University Library – catalogue : R. Feenstra, M. Duynstee and W. Schwab (eds.), Catalogue des imprimés de la collection Meijers de la Bibliothèque de l’Université de Leyde (Leiden-Zwolle 1980).
  • The collection of old imprints at the Hoge Raad, the Dutch supreme court in The Hague, contains a large number of books for Dutch legal history, see the catalogue – P.P. Schmidt, Catalogus Oude drukken in de bibliotheek van de Hoge Raad der Nederlanden (Zwolle 1988) – and Joost Pikkemaat, The Old Library of the Supreme Court of the Netherlands (Hilversum 2008).
  • At the Law Library of Utrecht University there is a substantial collection of old juridical books, amounting to some 3000 books – a succinct description of them is to be found at the website of Utrecht University Library.

Outside the Netherlands one should in particular consult the library of the Max-Planck-Institut für Rechtsgeschichte und Rechtstheorie, Frankfurt am Main, which houses a very large collection of old Dutch juridical books, see Douglas Osler, Catalogue of books printed in Spain, Portugal and the Southern and Northern Netherlands from the beginning of printing to 1800 in the library of the Max-Planck-Institut für Europäische Rechtsgeschichte (Frankfurt am Main 2000). Another rich German library is the Herzog-August-Bibliothek in Wolfenbüttel. One could also recommend some British libraries, starting perhaps with the British Library and its Dutch departmen. In Paris the Bibliothèque nationale de France and the Bibliothèque Cujas of the Faculté de Droit Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris I) provide a sensible starting point, as do in Italy the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana and the library of the Archiginnasio in Bologna.

Scholarly literature in Dutch libraries can be searched online in the Nederlandse Centrale Catalogus for university libraries and major research libraries, and for fourteen major public libraries at the Kennisplatform Pluscollecties. The overview of sources in the Overzicht van oud-nederlandsche rechtsbronnen by S.J. Fockema Andreae (2nd ed., Haarlem 1923; reprint Alphen aan den Rijn 1981) is now a century old and restricted to printed sources.

The study of Old Dutch law has been promoted and advanced in particular by some learned societies. The end of the eighteenth century saw the foundation of the society Pro iure patria excolendo in Groningen. In 1860 the Vereeniging tot beoefening van Overijsselsch regt en geschiedenis was founded, the Society for Overijssel’s law and history, shortened to VORG. For Gelre (Guelders) the Vereniging Gelre (founded in 1897) published a number of legal sources and studies.

On a more national level the Vereeniging tot Uitgaaf der Bronnen van het oud-vaderlandsche recht came into existence in 1879. Nowadays it is a stichting, a chartered foundation, often abbreviated as OVR. OVR published its own journal, the Verslagen en Mededeelingen, of which two series appeared. Since 1999 OVR has got a new journal, Pro Memorie. OVR supports the edition of sources for legal history in their Werken (Works), of which the fourth series is now appearing. Lately OVR has supported the publication of procesgidsen, a number of guides to legal procedures at several Dutch courts. Many older editions of Dutch municipal statutes published for OVR have been digitized for the Deutsches Rechtswörterbuch.

A special place was occupied by the former NCRD, the Dutch Center for Documentation in Legal History and Iconography in The Hague, housed in the Royal Library. Its combined image database and online bibliography was until December 2021 online and accessible for cardholders of the Royal Library and other subscribing libraries. The images are since 2012 available at The Memory of the Netherlands. Each of the departments of legal history in the Dutch and Belgian universities has its own specialties in subjects, periods and themes. The Tijdschrift voor Rechtsgeschiedenis, too, has been an important vehicle for articles on Old Dutch – and Belgian – law ever since its first appearance in 1918. In 2022 the Journal for Digital Legal History (Universiteit Gent) was launched.

Introductions to Dutch legal history

A number of more or less classic introductions exist. Traditionally universities put one or two of them on the reading program of students. The order here is purely alphabetical on author name.

  • A.S. de Blécourt [revised by H.F.W.D. Fischer and  J.A. Ankum], Kort begrip van het oud-vaderlands burgerlijk recht (8th ed., Groningen 1968).
  • P. Gerbenzon and N. Algra, Voortgangh des rechtes. De ontwikkeling van het Nederlandse recht tegen de achtergrond van de Westeuropese cultuur (6th ed., Alphen aan den Rijn 1987).
  • E.J.J. van der Heijden [revised by B.H.D. Hermesdorf], Aantekeningen bij de geschiedenis van het oude vaderlandse recht (8. ed., Nijmegen-Utrecht 1968).
  • B.H.D. Hermesdorf [published by P.J. Verdam], Rechtsspiegel. Een rechtshistorische terugblik in de Lage Landen van het Herfsttij (Nijmegen 1980) – fosuing on the late Middle Ages
  • J.Ph. de Monté ver Loren [revised by J.E. Spruit], Hoofdlijnen uit de ontwikkeling der rechterlijke organisatie in de Noordelijke Nederlanden tot de Bataafse omwenteling (6th ed., Deventer 1982; 7th ed., Deventer 2000).
  • J.H.A. Lokin and W.J. Zwalve, Inleiding tot de rechtsgeschiedenis (Groningen 1985).
  • Marco in ‘t Veld and Erik-Jan Broers, Recht tussen staat en samenleving. Historische inleiding tot het recht (Amsterdam 2024).

For an European perspective on Dutch legal history, too, some books can serve as an introduction:

  • G.C.J.J. van den Bergh, Geleerd recht: een geschiedenis van de Europese rechtswetenschap in vogelvlucht, C.J. Jansen (ed.) (5th ed., Deventer 2007) – on the role of the ius commune, the “learned law” first edition 1980.
  • W.J. Zwalve, J.H.A. Lokin and C.J. Jansen, Hoofdstukken uit de Europese codificatiegeschiedenis (5th ed., The Hague 2020)
  • W.J. Zwalve, Hoofdstukken uit de geschiedenis van het Europese privaatrecht, I: Inleiding en zakenrecht (3rd ed., The Hague 2007) – also as Grundzüge der europäischen Privatrechtsgeschichte: Einführung und Sachenrecht, A.J.B. Sirks (transl.) (Vienna 2012)

For the history of institutions you can use the following works:

  • I.H. Gosses, Handboek tot de staatkundige geschiedenis der Nederlanden I: De Middeleeuwen, R.R. Post (ed.) (first edition 1959; reprint The Hague 1979) – old but still serviceable for the medieval period
  • R.C. van Caenegem, De instellingen van de Middeleeuwen : geschiedenis van de westerse staatsinstellingen van de Ve tot de XVe eeuw (2nd ed., 2 vol., Ghent 1977) – a manual on medieval institutions with a focus on the Low Countries
  • J. Kuys, Kerkelijke organisatie in het middeleeuwse bisdom Utrecht (Nijmegen 2004) – a manual for the study of the ecclesiastical organisation in the medieval diocese Utrecht, with a range and importance beyond its subject, because it was the largest diocese in the Northern Netherlands and also a principality in the Holy Roman Empire
  • R. Fruin, Geschiedenis der staatsinstellingen in Nederland tot den val der Republiek, H.T. Colenbrander (ed.) (2nd ed., 1922; reprint The Hague 1980) – the classic work – first edition (1901), online, DBNL
  • C.W. van der Pot, Bestuurs- en rechtsinstellingen der Nederlandse Provinciën (Zwolle 1949) – focusing on the nineteenth and twentieth century, strong for regional authorities

For research concerning 19th century Dutch legal history the following books are useful:

  • G.W.F. Brüggemann and E.C. Coppens, Bibliografische inleiding in de Nederlandse rechtsgeschiedenis van de negentiende eeuw (Zutphen 1985).
  • H.A. Diederiks, S. Faber and A.H. Huussen jr. (eds.), Strafrecht en criminaliteit (Zutphen 1988; Cahiers voor lokale en regionale geschiedenis, 1) – a concise guide to the history of criminal law and justice from the Dutch Republic onwards
  • G.A.M. van Synghel (ed.), Bronnen voor de criminaliteit en strafrechtspleging vanaf 1811 tot heden (Broncommentaren, vol. 7; Den Haag 2009) – a guide to major record series concerning criminal law and justice and their use – you can view online PDF’s of the chapters (ING/Huygens Instituut); other volumes contain interesting chapters, too; there are two series of introductions to sources, the first published by the Stichting Archief Publicaties, I-XII, 4 vol., 1987-1990, the second by the Instituut voor Nederlandse Geschiedenis, 1-8, 8 vol., 1994-2010

As in other countries verdicts from the nineteenth century onwards can only be found online in their full extent at licensd law portals. At Uitspraken you can find some older verdicts from 1905 onwards. De Hoge Raad has created access to famous verdicts since 1900 in three series of indexes for so-called mijlpaalarresten.

For Belgian legal history some books stand out:

  • R.C. van Caenegem, Geschiedenis van het strafrecht in Vlaanderen van de XIe tot de XIVe eeuw (Brussels 1954) – the history of criminal law in medieval Flanders; online, Leuven
  • R.C. van Caenegem, Geschiedenis van het strafprocesrecht in Vlaanderen van de XIe tot de XIVe eeuw (Brussels 1956) – the history of medieval procedure in Flemish criminal courts; online, Leuven
  • R.C. van Caenegem, Geschiedkundige inleiding tot het recht, I: Privaatrecht (Ghent 1989), II: Publiekrecht (3rd edition, Ghent 1994) – translated into several languages
  • J. Gilissen, Introduction historique au droit (Brussels 1979) – with a very wide scope; online, Leuven – also in Dutch, Historische inleiding tot het recht (2nd ed., 1984; online, Leuven)
  • Ph. Godding, Le droit privé dans les Pays-Bas méridionaux du 12e au 18e siècle (Brussels 1987).
  • J. Monballyu, Six centuries of criminal law : history of criminal law in the Southern Netherlands and Belgium (1400-2000) (Leiden 2014) – first edition: Zes eeuwen strafrecht : de geschiedenis van het Belgische strafrecht (1400-2000) (Leuven 2006).
  • H. de Schepper, E. Aerts, M. Baelde et alii (eds.), De centrale overheidsinstellingen van de Habsburgse Nederlanden, 1482-1795 (2 vol., Brussels 1994) – an indispensable guide to the history of the main institutions of the Habsburgian Low Countries; also online at Heuristiek, Ghent University
  • Patricia Van den Eeckhout and Guy Vanthemsche (eds.) Bronnen voor de studie van het hedendaagse België,19e-21e eeuw [Sources for the study of modern Belgium, 19th-21st centuries)] (3rd ed., 2 vol., Brussels 2017) – the Royal Commission for History offers this guide also online, with due attention to collections in archives and libraries.

A fine annotated introduction in English to Dutch legal history is the chapter by Randall Lesaffer, ‘A short legal history of the Netherlands‘, in: Understanding Dutch law, H.S. Taekema (ed.) (The Hague 2004) 31-58. For the background of legal history in Belgium it is useful to read an article by Dirk Heirbaut, ‘Legal history in Belgium’Clio@Themis 1 (2009).

It is certainly useful to turn also to general histories of the Low Countries. Some books stand out:

  • Algemene geschiedenis der Nederlanden, D.P. Blok et alii (eds.) (15 vol., Haarlem 1977-1983) – a major reference work.
  • Jonathan Israel, The Dutch Republic. Its rise, greatness and fall 1477-1806 (Oxford 1995) – a masterwork for the Early Modern period, an instant classic.
  • E.H. Kossmann, The Low Countries 1780-1940 (Oxford 1976).
  • H. Lademacher, Geschichte der Niederlande (Darmstadt 1983).
  • De geschiedenis van Nederland (8 vol., Amsterdam 2004-2007) – eight separate volumes, with for example Marco Mostert for the early Middle Ages [In de marge van de beschaving, 2009], Wim Blockmans for the period 1100-1560 [Metropolen aan de zee, 2010], A.Th. van Deursen for the Dutch Republic (1555-1702) [De last van veel geluk, 2006) and for colonial history between 1600 and 1800 J.J.L Gommans and P.C. Emmer (Rijk aan de rand van de wereld, 2012), and for the period since 1800 H.W. van der Doel (Zo ver de wereld strekt, 2011).

For some subjects in Dutch history separate guides to archival sources have been published. They oiften touch upon legal and institutional history. Many of these guides are also accessible online at the Huygens Institute/ING, here a selection:

The regional high courts

For some Dutch regions I give here information about the main high courts during the Early Modern period


  • Ordelen van den Etstoel van Drenthe, 1518-1604, J.G.Ch. Joosting (ed.) (‘s-Gravenhage 1893).
  • J. Heringa, Drentse rechtsbronnen : willekeuren, supplement op de ordelen van de etstoel, goorspraken (Zutphen 1981).
  • Ordelen van de Etstoel van Drenthe 1399-1447, F. Keverling Buisman (ed.) (Zutphen 1987).
  • Ordelen van de Etstoel van Drenthe 1450-1504 (1518), F. Keverling Buisman (ed.) (Zutphen 1994).
  • F. Keverling Buisman, De etstoel en zijn ordelboeken in de vijftiende eeuw (Zutphen 1986).
  • H.G.G. Becker, De Etstoel van Drenthe : de civiele procedure in de periode van de Republiek der Zeven Verenigde Nederlanden (Hilversum 2005) – a guide to the Etstoel in the Early Modern period.

At the Drents Archief in Assen toegang 0085 is the archival collection for the Etstoel. In 1906 J.G.Ch. Joosting created the archival inventory for this collection.  24 etten were the judges of this provincial court. Their verdicts were called ordelen.


  • B.S. Hempenius-van Dijk, Hof van Friesland : de hoofdlijnen van het procederen in civiele zaken voor het Hof van Friesland zowel in eerste instantie als in appel (Hilversum 2004) – a guide to civil procedure.
  • J.H.A. Lokin, C.H.J. Jansen and F. Brandsma, Het Rooms-Friese recht : de civiele rechtspraktijk van het Hof van Friesland in de 17e en 18e eeuw (Hilversum-Leeuwarden 1999; online, WODC, The Hague; PDF, 4 MB) – the Roman-Frisian law practice showed differences with the Roman-Dutch law
  • O. Vries, De Heeren van den Raede : biografieën en groepsportret van de raadsheren van het Hof van Friesland, 1499-1811 (Hilversum-Leeuwarden 1999) – biographies of councillors.
  • J.L. Berns et alii (eds.), Archief Hof van Friesland : inventaris van het archief van de Raad, na 1515 het Hof van Friesland (1502) 1516-1811 (Hilversum-Leeuwarden 1999) – the revised finding aid for the archive held at the Frisian provincial archive Tresoar, with a cd-rom Dossiers Hof van Friesland 1700-1811online, Leeuwarden, Tresoar, toegang 14, Hof van Friesland.

Gelre (Guelders)

  • A.M.J.A. Berkvens, Soevereine Raad te Roermond, Justiz-Collegium te Geldern en Staats Hof van Gelre te Venlo : hoofdlijnen van het procederen in civiele zaken in Spaans en nadien Oostenrijks, Pruisisch en Staats (Opper-)Gelre in eerste aanleg en in hoger beroep, 1580-1795 (Hilversum 2011) – a guide in the series procesgidsen
  • Rechtspraak in Roermond. Van Soevereine Raad naar Rechtbank Limburg (1580-2012), A.M.J.A Berkvens et alii (eds.) (Hilversum 2013)
  • F. Keverling Buisman, Hof van Gelre en Zutphen. Hoofdlijnen van het procederen in civiele zaken (Hilversum 2022) – a guide to civil procedure

The inventory by A.J. Maris and H.L. Driessen, Het archief van het Hof van Gelre en Zutphen (1543-1795), het Hof van Justitie (1795-1802), en het Departementaal Gerechtshof (1802-1811) (3 vol., Arnhem 1973-1978) concerns the archival collection 0142 at the Gelders Archief in Arnhem. As an appendix to the digitized version a list of barristers at the Hof van Gelre and Zutphen is given, created by F. Keverling Buisman, Album advocatorum Curiae Ducatus Gelriae et Comitatis Zutphaniae. Register van bij het Hof van Gelre en Zutphen toegelaten advocaten, 1610-1811 (2010).

There is a digital index for 18,000 case files of the Hof van Gelre and Zutphen and some other courts (procesdossiers). For the Roermond court the inventory by G.H.A. Venner, Inventaris van het archief van het Hof van Gelder te Roermond 1580-1794 (Maastricht 2009) can be searched online at the Regionaal Historisch Centrum Limburg in Maastricht (toegang 01.004), as is his inventory Inventaris van het archief van het Hof van Gelder te Venlo 1717-1795 (Maastricht 1997; toegang 01.013)


  • Hof van Holland, Nationaal Archief, The Hague, finding aid no. – the new inventory by M.Ch. le Bailly and her colleagues (2008) succeeds in opening this rich archive much more than before, note in particular the rich bibliography under the heading Verwant materiaal-Publicaties – many items in this archival collection have ben digitized, sometimes from earlier microfilms

Late medieval verdicts from the period 1428-1447 are accessible in the edition of the Memorialen van het Hof (den Raad) van Holland, Zeeland en West-Friesland, van den secretaris Jan Rosa, E.M. Meijers et alii (eds.) (7 vol., Haarlem-Leiden 1929-1996).

In particular the following titles are important:

  • M.Ch. le Bailly, Recht voor de Raad. Rechtspraak voor het Hof van Holland, Zeeland en West-Friesland in het midden van de vijftiende eeuw (Hilversum 2001).
  • M.Ch. le Bailly, Procesgids Hof van Holland, Zeeland en West-Friesland (Hilversum 2008).
  • S. ter Braake, Met recht en rekenschap : de ambtenaren bij het Hof van Holland en de Haagse Rekenkamer in de Habsburgse tijd (1483-1558) (thesis Leiden University, 2007; Hilversum 2007) – on officials working at the Hof van Holland
  • W. Heersink e.a., Register Notariorum : de notarissen van het Hof van Holland 1525-1811 (The Hague 1999) – on notaries at the Hof van Holland.
  • R. Huybrecht, S. Scheffers and J. Scheffers-Hofman, Album advocatorum : de advocaten van het Hof van Holland, 1560-1811 (The Hague 1996) – a repertory of barristers admitted to the Hof van Holland.
  • W.G.P.E. Wedekind, Bijdrage tot de kennis van de ontwikkeling van de procesgang in civiele zaken voor het Hof van Holland in de eerste helft van de zestiende eeuw (Assen 1971) – a study on procedure in civil law suits during the sixteenth century.
  • M.Ch. le Baiily en C.O. Verhas, Hoge Raad van Holland, Zeeland en West-Friesland (1582-1795). De hoofdlijnen van het procederen in civiele zaken voor de Hoge Raad zowel in eerste instantie als in hoger beroep (Hilversum 2006).

The Nationaal Archief in The Hague offers at its website a number of indexes for some record series within the archives of the Hof van Holland, for civil and criminal sentences, decrees, memorials, requests, remissions and pardons. The study by M.Ch. le Bailly, Een Haagse affaire : de verloren eer van Sophia van Noortwijck (1673-1710) (Amsterdam 2013) offers an example of a marriage trial before the Hof van Holland.


  • Dataschurk, Erfgoed ‘s Hertogenbosch – a guide for criminal records in the municipal archives of Bois-le-Duc, see also the page for Rechterlijke archieven
  • Archieven, Brabants Historisch Informatiecentrum (BHIC), Bois-le-Duc – the main regional archive in Noord-Brabant, with for example records of the Staatse Raad van Brabant (1586), notarial records, the juge de paix, and among the scanned records lots of schepenprotocollen, aldermen registers; the BHIC has microfiches of the main record series of the earlier Raad van Brabant in Brussels held at the Belgian national archives
  • Raad van Brabant, BHIC – a concise guide to the sources concerning this court between 1591 and 1811
  • Paul De Win, De kanseliers, raadsleden en secretarissen van de Raad van Brabant (1430-1506). Een prosopografische studie (Brussels 2021).
  • Philippe Godding, Le conseil de Brabant sous le règne de Philippe le Bon (1420-1467) (Brussels 1999).

Concerning legal procedure at the Staatse Raad van Brabant – founded in 1391, with its seat in The Hague – you can consult the guides by E.J.M.F.C. Broers & B.C.M. Jacobs, Procesgids Staatse Raad van Brabant (Hilversum 2000) and idem, De concept-procesordonnantie van 1662 van de Raad van Brabant in Den Haag en de Albertine ordonnantie van 1604 voor de Raad van Brabant te Brussel (Amsterdam 2003). For Noord-Brabant guides exist for its institutional history during the Republic, J.G.M. Sanders, W.A. den Ham and J. Vriens (eds.), Noord-Brabant tijdens de Republiek der Verenigde Nederlanden, 1572-1795: een institutionele handleiding (Hilversum 1996), and for the nineteenth century W.G.M. van der Heijden and J.G.M. Sanders (eds.), Noord-Brabant in de negentiende eeuw : een institutionele handleiding (‘s-Hertogenbosch 1993). At the BHIC in Bois-le-Duc you can use microfiches of verdicts in registers of the Raad van Brabant in Brussels where the originals are also kept, now online at the portal of the Belgian State Archives (full access after free registration).


  • E.D. Eijken (+), Compendium van het Overijssels recht vóór 1811, P. Brood and J. Mooijweer (eds.) (Kampen 2007) – even in its unfinished state this massive guide to law and justice in Overijssel during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period is helpful
  • P. Brood, Klaring van Overijssel: de hoofdlijnen van het procederen in civiele zaken (Hilversum 2010) – a guide to legal procedure at the supreme court of Overijssel

The archival collection of the Hoge Bank en Klaring is kept at the Historisch centrum Overijssel in Zwolle, toegang (finding aid) no. 0029, a digital version of the inventory by A.J. Mensema, Inventaris van het archief van de Hoge Bank en Klaring van Overijssel, 1530 – 1798 (Zwolle 2011). Some registers in the archival collection for the medieval bishops of Utrecht (Het Utrechts Archief, finding aid no. 218-1, Bisschoppen van Utrecht) contain verdicts of this court; the diversoria (inv.nos. 6 to 11) have been digitized.


Caroline Pelser gives at her website Huizen aan het Janskerkhof [Houses at St. John’s Square] a useful guide to finding aids, printed case accounts and verdicts, and printed ordinances for the municipal and provincial court at Utrecht (Het Utrechts Archief, finding aid 239-1). The registers with verdicts in criminal cases (inv.no. 99) and those for civil cases (inv.no. 188) have been digitized, as is an index to criminal cases. On my old website I offered a guide to the history of Utrecht with also attention to legal sources. Until March 31, 2021 there was SABINE, an online bibliography for the history of the city and province Utrecht. Many books can be found at Utrecht University Library and Het Utrechts Archief.

For legal procedure one can use the long-awaited but rather concise guide by J.M. Milo and E.G.D. van Dongen, Procesgids Hof van Utrecht. Hoofdlijnen van het procederen in civiele zaken (Hilversum 2018). For ecclesiastical and insttitutional history there is the important guide by Jan Kuys, Kerkelijke organisatie in het middeleeuwse bisdom Utrecht (Nijmegen 2004).

The Great Council of Malines

The Great Council of Malines (Grand Conseil de Mailines/Grote Raad van Mechelen), founded in 1477 as Parlement de Malines, was not the only supreme court dealing with legal cases in the Netherlands, but it was certainly one of the most important courts. Since the sixties modern finding aids have been made to disclose the rich archival records, and many subjects have been touched upon in studies. Registers with verdicts held at the Algemeen Rijksarchief/Archivel de l’État in Brussels were filmed on microfiches consultable in Leiden and Amsterdam. Here follows a selection of finding aids and studies:

  • W. Godenne and L.Th. Maes, Iconografie van de leden van de Grote Raad van Mechelen (Brussels 1951) -the iconography of councillors in Malines
  • Inventaris en beschrijving van de processtukken (dossiers) behorende tot de beroepen uit Holland, berustende in het archief van de Grote Raad van Mechelen, J.C. Andries et alii (eds.) (10 vol., Amsterdam 1964-1974) – cases from Holland
  • Chronologische lijsten van de geëxtendeerde sententiën berustende in het archief van de Grote Raad van Mechelen, J.Th. de Smidt, E.I. Strubbe and J. van Rompaey (eds.) (6 vol., Brussels 1966-1988) – a repertory of verdicts for the period 1465-1580
  • Inventaris en beschrijving van de Noord Nederlandse processtukken (dossiers) (…) Grote Raad van Mechelen, A.H. Huussen et alii (eds.) (3 vol., Brussels 1968-1972)
  • J. van Rompaey, De Grote Raad van de hertogen van Boergondië en het Parlement van Mechelen (Brussels 1973)
  • J.M.I. Koster-van Dijk, Gooilanders voor de Grote Raad (1470-1572) (Amsterdam 1979)
  • Miscellanea consilii magni, R. van Answaarden, C.M. Cappon (eds.) (2 vol., Amsterdam 1980-1984) – two volumes with essays
  • A.J.M. Kerckhoffs-de Heij, De Grote Raad en zijn functionarissen 1477-1531 (Amsterdam 1980) – a biographical repertory
  • Leidenaars voor de Grote Raad (1470-1580), Leidse werkgroep van (amateur-) rechtshistorici (eds.) (Leiden 1981)
  • R. van Answaarden, Les Portugais devant le Grand Conseil des Pays-Bas (1460-1580) (Paris 1991)
  • A.A. Wijffels, Qui millies allegatur : les allégations du droit savant dans les dossiers du Grand Conseil de Malines (causes septentrionales, ca. 1460-1580) (diss. Amsterdam; 2 vol., s.l., 1985)
  • P.C.M. Schölvink, Die van Delff ende die van Delflant voor de Grote Raad, 1471-1577 (Delft 1986)
  • C.H. van Rhee, Litigation and legislation : civil procedure at first instance in the Great Council for the Netherlands in Malines (1522-1559) (diss. Leiden; Brussesl 1997)
  • Haarlemmers voor de Grote Raad van Mechelen, J.Th. de Smidt and Werkgroep Historische Vereniging Haarlem (Haarlem 1999)
  • Hoge rechtspraak in de oude Nederlanden, H. de Schepper and R. Vermeir (eds.) (Brussels 2006) – a volume with articles
  • J. Lorgnier (ed.), Malines, apports d’une source foraine à l’histoire de la France et des français : Justice aux Parlament et Grand Conseil, 1465-1531 (2 vol., Hellemes 2000) – online: vol. 1, vol. 2, CHJ/CNRS, Lille – the first volume is a research guide
  • Inventaris van het archief van de Grote Raad voor de Nederlanden te Mechelen : procesbundels beroepen uit Holland 1460-1740, M. Oosterbosch (ed.) (Brussels 2006)

The Reichskammergericht deserves attention too, starting with P.L. Nève, Het Rijkskamergerecht en de Nederlanden. Competentie, territoir, archieven (Assen 1972), the monograph and edition series Quellen und Forschungen zur Höchsten Gerichtsbarkeit im Alten Reich, and studies such as by R.M. Sprenger, Viglius van Aytta und seine Notizen über Beratungen am Reichskammergericht (1535-1537) (Nijmegen 1988). Since December 2022 the Datenbank Höchstgerichtsbarkeit (Würzburg/Graz) offers search opportunities for some 43,000 cases between 1495 and 1806.

From Flanders in particular appeal cases were heard by the Parlement de Paris, see Les arrêts et jugés du Parlement de Paris sur appels flamands, R.C. van Caenegem and S. Dauchy (eds.) (3 vol., Brussels 1966-2002), and studies by S. Dauchy, De processen in beroep uit Vlaanderen bij het Parlement van Parijs (1320-1521) : een rechtshistorisch onderzoek naar de wording van staat en souvereiniteit in de Bourgondisch-Habsburgse periode (Brussels 1995), and Les appels flamands au Parlement de Paris: regestes des dossiers de procès (…) (Brussels 1998).


Sources for legal history can be found in many Dutch and Belgian archives. On my page for digital archives you can find more information about them. The special largely independent legal position of Dutch and Flemish water control boards, the waterschappen and hoogheemraadschappen, is also visible in their archival collections. A number of them still hold their own archival collections, here some examples:

I have prepared a preliminary survey of digitized archival collections in Dutch archives pertaining to legal history (March 2020, PDF). Even with its omissions, oversights and lacunae it might be useful.

Legal dictionaries

A number of dictionaries help you to interpret old legal terms:

  • F.L. Kersteman, Practisyns woordenboekje, of Verzameling van meest alle de woorden in de rechtskunde gebruikelyk (Dordrecht 1785; reprints Groningen-Hilversum 1988, Groningen-Den Haag 1996, Den Haag 2005) – a concise eighteenth-century dictionary which still can help; online, Delpher [copy bound with J. Schoolhouder and M. van der Helm, Oeffenschoole der Notarissen (Dordrecht 1785); the dictionary starts at scan 585]
  • Nederlandsch placaat- en rechtskundig woordenboek (5 vol., Amsterdam 1791-1797) – online at Delpher, vol. 1, vol. 2-3 and vol. 4-5
  • K.F. Stallaert, Glossarium van verouderde rechtstermen, kunstwoorden en andere uitdrukkingen uit Vlaamsche, Brabantsche en Limburgsche oorkonden (3 vol., Leiden 1890-1977; reprint Handzame 1977; online, vol. 1 (A-Huwen), DBNL); vol. 1 and 2, Universitätsbibliothek Münster – especially for Flanders, Brabant and Limbourg
  • R. Reinsma, Glossarium van XVe en XVIe-eeuwse rechtstermen ontleend aan sententiën en dossiers van de Grote Raad van Mechelen (Amsterdam 1967) – focusing on records of the Great Council of Malines
  • M. van Hattum and H. Rooseboom, Glossarium van oude Nederlandse rechtstermen (Amsterdam 1977)
  • N. Wijdeveld, M. van Hattum and R. van Answaarden, Glossarium van oude Franse rechtstermen (Amsterdam 1983)

The main historic dictionaries for the Dutch and Frisian language can be searched at the subdomain Historische woordenboeken of the Instituut voor de Nederlandse Taal, Leiden.


First the departments of legal history at Belgian and Dutch universities:



Logo OVR

The Society for Old Dutch Law had its own portal for Dutch legal history, but due to technical problems this site had to be taken down. Some links presented here stem from this site. First a number of interesting websites concerning general subjects:


Legal history journals

A number of journals for Dutch – and Belgian – history has been completely of partially digitized:

The Koninklijk Nederlands Historische Genootschap (Royal Futch Historical Society) has created an overview in Excel with some 180 current regional and local history journals, many of them offer digitized versions of older issues.


  • Digitale Bibliografie Nederlandse Geschiedenis (DBNG), Royal Library, The Hague and Huygens Institute, Amsterdam – the online bibliography for Dutch history includes publications on legal history; no longer updated since 2015, abolished on June 30, 2021
  • Historie in Titels (HinT) – a licensed resource, not anymore updated since 2005, originally created at the Universiteit van Amsterdam (UvA) – interface Dutch, English and German
  • Sabine: Stichts Algemeen Bibliografische Netwerk, Universiteitsbibliotheek Utrecht – an online bibliography for the history of the town and province Utrecht – alas this service was decommissioned by its five sponsoring institutions on March 31, 2021
  • Bibliografie voor de Geschiedenis van de Universiteit Utrecht (BiGUU), Utrecht University Library – an online bibliography for the history of Utrecht University, see also the website for professors at the university
  • Bibliografie van Groningen, Universiteitsbibliotheek Groningen – a similar online bibliography for the city and province Groningen
  • Bestanden Brabant Collectie, Tilburg University – an online bibliography, image databases and links to other resources for the history of Brabant; now also available as the BC Finder at the portal of the Brabant Collectie
  • Digitale Bibliografie Limburgse Geschiedenis, Sociaal-Historisch Centrum voor Limburg and Stadsbibliotheek Maastricht – a bibliography for the history of the province Limgurg
  • Short Title Catalogue Netherlands (STCN), Royal Library, The Hague – a bibliographical tool for searching books printed in the Netherlands between 1500 and 1800; also searchable at the CERL portal
  • Biografisch Portaal van Nederland – a portal to several biographical dictionaries, including for example Dutch artists; there is a useful links collection; see also the bio-bibliographies of Dutch humanists (only in Dutch)
  • Institute for Dutch History, The Hague – with a growing number of digitized versions of editions published by the institute
  • Nationaal Archief, The Hague – the Dutch National Archives have many online indexes, a lot of digitized materials and useful research guides
  • Doorzoek koloniale archieven [Search colonial archives], Gerhard de Kok and Natuonaal Archief – searching in HTR transcribed records of the Dutch East India Company, the West India Company and other colonial institutions
  • Archieven – online searching (in Dutch, English or German) in the inventories of the majority of Dutch archives; the Stadsarchief Amsterdam is not included here
  • Thematis Erfgoed Portaal – until 2013 a portal for searching archival records and cultural heritage in thirty Dutch municipal and regional archives
  • The Memory of The Netherlands, Delpher- a portal to many digital collections of Dutch cultural and historic institutions
  • Eurodocs: History of the Netherlands – a very useful annotated list of online historical sources and relevant websites
  • Dutch constitutions – a website with all constitutions since 1798; some constitutions have been translated, for example at the Università di Torino and the archived Modern Constitutions project (Universität Kassel) (with facsimiles) – see for Dutch constitutions also the web version of Constituties en staatsregelingen Bataafse Tijd 1796-1806 and sources for the constitution of 1815
  • The Roman-Dutch Legal Tradition – an online exhibition of books concerning the seventeenth-century law of the province of Holland on the website of The Robbins Collection, Boalt School of Law, University of California at Berkeley


Recently the Centre d’Histoire du Droit et de la Justice at Louvan-la-Neuve launced the portal Digithemis where you can find a wide variety of resources concerning Belgium’s legal history, among them the Répertoire bibliographique sur l’histoire du droit et de la justice and also statistical resources.

Some Belgian digital libraries:

  • Belgica, Royal Library, Brussels – a digital collection with books and images, maps and medals; interface in Dutch and French
  • Flandrica: Erfgoedbibliotheken online – six Flemish public libraries have partnered in this digital library with both books and manuscripts from Flanders’ cultural heritage
  • Gedigitaliseerde oude drukken, Erfgoedbibliotheek, Universiteit Antwerpen – some 1,900 works
  • DONum BICfB – a portal to digitized books of Francophone universities in Belgium
  • Lovaniensia, Special Collections, KU Leuven and Réserve patrimoine, UC Louvain – digitized Early Modern editions of works by famous professors and alumni of Leuven
  • Rechtsreeks / Ligne de Droit, Bibliotheken KU Leuven – a collection with digitized legal books, in particular some classic works, and journals on law from the twentieth century, also journals with verdicts (arrestenarrêts) – for the Cour de Cassation from 1790 onwards – , partially in open access – note also the useful overveiw of abbreviations for legal journals and verdicts, and the editions of ordinances published by the commission for old Belgian law
  • Theses from the old university of Leuven, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven / JSTOR Collections – some 3,100 printed Early Modern and later dissertations
  • ePatrimoine, DIAL.num, Université Catholique de Louvain – a portal to three collections, among them Imprim@Lex for Early Modern legal works, 470 from Belgium and 265 from the Dutch Republic
  • Galeries, Université de Liége – a modest name for a digital library with the Fonds précieux juridiques (XVIe-XIXe s.) with also law books for Liège and the Southern Netherlands, and digitized placards publiés dans la Principauté de Liège (ordinances)

Some Dutch digital libraries, starting with general collections:

  • Delpher, Royal Library, The Hague – with some 11,000 books from the project Early Dutch Books Online (1780-1800), and also journals and newspapers, including official gazettes as the Staatscourant and the Staatsblad, including those for the Dutch Indies
  • Boeken en handschriften, Bijzondere Collecties, Universiteit van Amsterdam – both books and manuscripts, see also the general image gallery and the overview of image databases and digital collections
  • Beeldbank, Bibliotheek Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam – a simple name for a portal with digitized books, manuscripts, portrait paintings, Bible illustrations, maps and journals
  • Leesmuseum, Bibliotheek Arnhem – in its digital library this public library has digitized also a number of legal works
  • Digitale collecties, Athenaeumbibliotheek, Deventer – a wide variety of works in this historical library
  • Digital Collections, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen – here in particular the 127 Papyri Groninganae
  • Digitale Collectie, Tresoar, Leeuwarden – with for example some manuscripts concerning Old Frisian law and some court files of famous trials; out of service since March 2020 – at the new platform Collecties Tresoar are currently a fnumber of books, including the catalogue of manuscripts by Jacob van Sluis (2007), the cartographic collection, the medieval legal manuscripts of the Richthofen collection and many thousand images available
  • Digital Special Collections, Leiden University Library – a growing variety of digitized books, manuscripts and archival collections
  • Colonial Collection, Royal Tropical Institute – this digital collection contains some 1300 books and many scientific journals, many of them touch upon law and justice; since 2013 the collection is managed at Leiden
  • Project Digitalisering Erfgoed, Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen – simple but effective access to digitized books with six alphabetical lists; there is now also a portal for the digital Bijzondere Collecties [Special Collections] with both manuscripts and books
  • Digitized Objects Special Collections, Bijzondere Collecties, Utrecht University Library
  • Dutch Pamphlets Online – Brill – a licensed resource with pamphlets from two collections, the Knuttel collection and the Van Alphen collection at the Dutch Royal Library; at least 400 pamphlets deal with law (search for subject “Law”); free searching is possible
  • Early European Books – Chadwyck/ProQuest – within The Netherlands one had free access to digitized books from the Royal Library; here, too, pamphlets are present – some 14,500 books are available in open access in the collection Early European Books within the Internet Archive
  • Dutch Caribbean Digital Platform, University of Curaçao – an open access portal with various digital collections; interface Dutch, English, Papiamento and Spanish
  • Scheldt River Collection, Peace Palace Library, The Hague – a digital collection with nearly 300 publications about conflicts concerning the Schelde / Escaut as a frontier between the Netherlands and Belgium before and after 1839

The Dutch Royal Library created in 2015 overview of Dutch digital projects (PDF) where you can find not only books, but also maps, journals, newspapers, images and graphic materials. Digitaal Erfgoed Nederland [Digital Heritage Netherlands] had for many years an online database for searching Dutch digital projects.

Academic theses can be found online at the following websites:

  • NARCIS – the main Dutch online theses repository
  • Scripties Online – a portal to digital recent M.A. theses written at Dutch universities
  • HBO Kennisbank – B.A. and M.A. theses written at Dutch Higher Education institutions
  • Bictel – Ph.D. theses written in French at Belgian universities
  • E-thesis – digital versions of recent master theses defended at Belgian universities (in Dutch), with also subjects concerning legal history
  • Vlaamse Scriptiebank – M.A. theses written in Flemish defended at Belgian universities

For your convenience is here a list of digitzed legal journals:

  • Delpher: Tijdschriften, Royal Library, The Hague – among the eighty digitized Dutch journals some are concerned with Dutch law, in particular the Advocatenblad (1918-1935), in the second set the Rechtsgeleerd magazijn (1882-1938) and the Weekblad van het regt (only years 1841-1943); important are also the various official gazettes (Staatscourant and Staatsblad) and additional issues, also those for the Dutch Indies
  • Weekblad van het regt (1839-1943) – a digitized version at the University Maastricht of this important legal journal, with information on many cases and verdicts
  • Annuaire statistique de la Belgique (et du Congo Belge) (1870-1995), National Archives, Belgium – two other juridical journals, the Revue Belge de la police administrative et judiciaire and La Belgique judiciaire, have been digitized here, too
  • Rechtskundig Weekblad – the issues 1 (1931) to 56 (1995-1996) of this Flemish legal journal have been digitized by the KU Leuven
  • Handelingen van het Genootschap voor Geschiedenis – an important historical journal, the issues from 1939 to 2014 can be viewed in open access

And finally some more specific sites for aspects of Dutch legal history:

Plakkaatboeken: Early Modern editions of ordinances

Some of the plakaatboeken, collections of ordinances from the Early Modern period, and some of their modern counterparts, are available online:

  • Digitale Plakkaatzoeker – a tool for searching ordinances for the Overkwartier of Gelre, a part of Limburg, 1665-1795, see also A.M.J.A. Berkvens, Plakkatenlijst Overkwartier 1665-1794 (2 vol., Nijmegen 1990-1992), continued in Gelderse plakkatenlijst : 1740-1815, J. Drost (ed.) (Zutphen 1982) and A.M.J.A. Berkvens, Plakkaten, ordonnanties en circulaires voor Pruisisch Gelre (1713-1798) (Maastricht 2012)
  • The Dutch in the Caribbean World, c. 1670-c. 1870, Huygens Instituut – a portal around a digital version of the ordinances in the West Indisch Plakaatboek, J.A. Schiltkamp, J.Th. de Smidt and T. van der Lee (eds.) (5 vol. in 3 parts, Amsterdam 1973-1979) – with a guide to relevant archives
  • Plakaatboek Guyana 1670-1816, Huygens Instituut – ordinances for Berbice, Demerary and Essequibo
  • Plakkaatboek Kust van Guinea. Traktaten, Instructies, Reglementen en andere documenten betrekking hebbende op de Kust van Guinea, 1597/1611 – 1872, A. van Dantzig†, J.A. Schiltkamp† and J.Th. de Smidt†, with T. van der Lee and H.J. van Dapperen (eds.) (3 vol., Leiden 2024; also restricted viewable online) – ordinances, treatises and other documents concerning the West Indian Company and its activities in West Africa
  • Jacobus Anne van der Chijs (ed.), Nederlandsch-Indisch Plakaatboek 1602-1811, (17 vol., Batavia, 1885-1901), and also available online completely and better searchable at Sejarah Nusantara
  • Kaapse Plakkaatboek, M.K. Jeffreys and S.D. Naudé (eds.) (6 vol., Cape Town, 1944-1951) – for South Africa and the former Cape provinces
  • Ceylonees plakkaatboek: plakkaten en andere wetten uitgevaardigd door het Nederlandse bestuur op Ceylon, 1638-1796, Lodewijk Hovy (ed.) (2 vol., Hilversum, 1991) – for Ceylon (Sri Lanka)
  • Klein plakkaatboek van Nederland : verzameling van ordonnantiën en plakkaten betreffende regeeringsvorm, kerk en rechtspraak, (14e eeuw tot 1749), A.S. de Blécourt and N. Japikse (eds.) (Groningen 1919; online, Delpher) – a selection of ordinances concerning government, church and the judiciary
  • Holland bestuurd. Teksten over het bestuur van het graafschap Holland in het tijdvak 1299-1567, J.A.M.Y. Bos-Rops, J.G. Smit and E.T. van der Vlist (eds.) (Den Haag 2007; online, Huijgens Instituut) – with for example the instruction for the High Court of Holland from 1531
  • Overijsselse plakkatenlijst : lijst der rechtsvoorschriften vastgesteld voor de provincie Overijssel gedurende het tijdvak 1528-1810, S.J. Fockema Andreae and W. Downer (eds.) (Utrecht 1961)
  • Groninger plakkaatboek 1594-1848: lijst van uit- en inwendige rechtsvoorschriften, de provincie Groningen rakende (…), S.J. Fockema Andreae and F.J.L. Berkenvelder (eds.) (Groningen 1961)
  • J. de Bruijn, Plakkaten van stad en lande. Overzicht van Groningse rechtsvoorschriften in de periode 1594-1795 (Groningen 1983)
  • Drentsch Plakkaatboek, J.G.Ch. Joosting (ed.) (Leiden 1912) – continued in Drentse plakkatenlijst, 1593-1840, P. Brood (ed.) (Bussum 1975)
  • Kerkelyk plakaat-boek, behelzende plakaaten, ordonnantien, ende resolutien, over de kerkelyke zaken, Nikolaas Wiltens et alii (eds.) (5 vol., ‘-s-Gravenhage 1722-1807) – ordinances and decisions concerning the churches in the Dutch Republic, also available online (Hathi Trust Digital Library)

The blog Bona Politia gave an overview of digitized placaetboeken, a preliminary list. Some 110 volumes have been used for the project Entangled Histories: Ordinances of the Low Countries at the Dutch Royal Library in which scanning of these resources has led to the creation of datasets with machine readable texts. The Huygens Instituut will digitize in the project REPUBLIC all Early Modern resolutions of the States General; a prototype for the period 1703-1796 is already available. Here a succinct overview of some digitized works:

  • Nederlandtsche placcaet-boeck: vvaerinne alle voornaemste placcaten, ordonnantien, accorden, ende andere acten (…) sedert […) 1581 (2 vol., Amsterdam: Janssen, 1644) – vol. 1, vol. 2 (UB Ghent)
  • Hollandts placcaet-boeck (…) (Amsterdam: Janssen, 1645) – online, Hathi Trust Digital Library – with also monetary ordinances in the Nederlantsche munt-boeck: Vervatende de voornaemste placcaten ende ordonnantien (…) (Amsterdam 1645)
  • Groot placaet-boek (…) Staten Generael ende (…) Staten van Holland en West-Vrieslandt (…), Cornelis Cau et alii (eds.) (9 vol., ‘s-Gravenhage-Amsterdam 1658-1795) – vol. 1, vol. 2, vol. 3, vol. 4, vol. 5, vol. 6, vol. 7, vol. 8, vol. 9 (UB Utrecht) – with the Repertorium of generaal register over de negen deelen van het Groot Placaatboek, Joannes van der Linden (ed.) (Amsterdam 1797) – online, UB Utrecht
  • Groot placaat en charter-boek van Vriesland (…), Georg Frederik thoe Schwartzenberg en Hohenlansberg (ed.) (6 vol., Leeuwarden: Coulon (1-4) and Post (5-6), 1768-1795) – volumes 1-4 online, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Munich; vol. 5 and vol. 6 (Delpher/Google) – with an alphabetical register by J. van Leeuwen (Workum 1857; online, Hathi Trust Digital Library)
  • Groot Geldersch Placaet-boeck (…), Willem van Loon and Henricus Cannegieter (eds.) (3 vol., Nijmegen-Arnhem: Van Goor, 1701-1740) – vol. 1, vol. 2, vol. 3 (UB Nijmegen) – with the Register der stucken, begrepen in alle deelen des Groot Gelderschen Placaet-boecks (Arnhem: Van Goor, 1740), online, Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek Sachsen-Anhalt, Halle
  • Groot Placaatboek vervattende alle de Placaten, Ordonantien en Edicten, der Edele Mogende Heeren Staten ‘s Lands van Utrecht (…) tot het jaar 1728, Johan van de Water (ed.) (3 vol., Utrecht: Van Poolsum 1729) – vol.1, vol. 2, vol. 3 (UB Utrecht) – with the register Generale inhoud van alle de placaten (…) Groot Utrechtsch Placaetboek (Utrecht: Van Poolsum, 1733) – online, UB Utrecht
  • Mr. Johan van de Water’s Groot plakaatboek ‘s lands van Utrecht aangevuld en vervolgd tot het jaar 1810, C.W. Moorrees and P.J. Vermeulen (eds.) (2 vol., Utrecht 1856-1860) – online, Hathi Trust Digital Library
  • Ordonnantien Statuten, Edicten ende Placcaten, ghepubliceert in de landen van hervvaerts-ouer byzonder in Vlaendren (…) (Ghent: Van der Steene, 1559) – online, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek
  • Tweeden Placaet-Bouck inhoudende diversche Ordonnancien, Edicten, ende Placaete vande Coninclicke Ma. ende haere deurluchtighe Hooc-Heden, Graven van Vlaendren (Ghent: Van den Steene, 1629) – online, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek
  • Eersten [-zesden] placcaert-boek van Vlaenderen : behelzende alle de placcaerten, reglementen, edicten, ordonnantien, decreten, declaratien en tractaeten / geëmaneerd voor de provincie van Vlaenderen (…) (6 vol. in 12 parts; Ghent: Vanden Steene, 1639-Ghent: De Goedsin 1786) – title and imprint varies; online, Hathi Trust Digital Library
  • Placcaeten Ordonnantien Land-Chartres Blyde-Incomsten Privilegien, ende Instructien By de Princen van dese Neder-landen, aen de Inghestenen van Brabandt, Vlaenderen, ende andere Provincien, t’sedert t’Iaer M.CC.XX. (…), Antonius Anselmo, Jean-Baptiste Christyn and Jozef Michiel Wouters (eds.) (10 vol., Antwerpen: Aertssens, 1648-1770) – online, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek

For ordinances in Flemish local or rual jurisdiction a new guide and repertory has been created by Klaas van Gelder, ‘Politie’ in de heerlijkheid : Gids en repertorium van heerlijke politiereglementen in het graafschap Vlaanderen, 13e-18e eeuw (Brussels: Algemeen Rijksarchief, 2023). The Huygens Instituut / Institute for Dutch History has digitized a large number of its publications in searchable online versions.

For Belgium:

Several websites deal with Dutch and Belgian palaeography, the study of old handwriting, which you might need when deciphering and reading handwritten sources. You can find more resources and tutorials at my palaeography page:

  • Transcriberen van Middelnederlandse teksten, Hans Kienhorst and Mikel Kors, Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen – a tutorial focusing on literary manuscripts with texts in Middle Dutch
  • Iter Dig-italicum, een digitale reis door Leuvense handschriften, Universiteitsbibliotheek, Leuven – a tutorial with a wide choice of medieval and Early Modern manuscripts and records; there is a concise bibliography and a guide to more websites
  • Wat Staet Daer? – an online tutorial for Early Modern history originally created by three archives in Noord-Brabant, but now with other provinces as well and Flemish archives, too