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Today in Labour History

1 August 1730
The Bookkeeper, Philip van Dijk, c 1725

Creative Bookkeeping

Bookkeepers and other white collar workers of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) were doing extremely well. Apart from regular salaries and bonuses, there were various sorts of extra benefits in money or in kind. According to a specification dated August 1, 1730, bookkeepers in the VOC copy office in Amsterdam received large portions of pepper, nutmeg, mace, cloves and cinnamon. The bookkeeper of the shipyard enjoyed free rent and was entitled to free beer and fuel.

Karel Davids, in 'White Collar Workers of the VOC in Amsterdam' (in: Working on Labor, 2012, 191-214) estimates the annual income of VOC's chief bookkeeper in 1742 at 14.000 guilders (equivalent of 151.393 euro in 2012).

More info: Working on Labor, IISH Publication