QUOTISATIE OF 1749
In the days of the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands (18th century) the seven provinces had autonomy on many items, one of them being collecting taxes. Almost all taxes were rented out every year to the highest bidder who then had to see for himself how to collect the taxes. This tenant may very well be compared to the publican who is mentioned in the Bible and for obvious reasons the tenant shared his impopularity as well. A lot of taxes were related to primary means of living and - already in those days - popular items like tobacco and alcohol beverages. For that reason taxes were felt most by poor people.
In 1748 the province of Friesland decided to set up another tax-system and on June 1st of that year they introduced a method of tax payment known as the “quotisatie”. It was based on income rather than taxing products. Professor Ypey from Franeker came up with the idea to add the number of persons of a family as another criterion to the quotisatie-system. This suggestion was approved by the province of Friesland and professor Ypey was asked to work out a tax-quota for each county of the province which should add up to the total amount of tax required by the province. For the municipality of Ferwerderadeel this quota was determined to 24,184 caroliguilders* which amount had to be divided over the towns and people of the municipality. In order to ascertain the individual share per family each head of a family had to appear before a tax-commission in the town where he or she resided in order to state their income, belongings and the number of family-members under and over 12 years of age (a member of the family older than 12 years was supposed to generate income, thus tax). Registration of this information took place early 1749 and fortunately most of the records have been saved. These registers are known as the“Quotisatiekohieren”. This is how we know that in the 18th century, Ferwerderadeel was a municipality including eleven towns and a population of 3046. At the time Hallum was the largest town with a population of abt. 1000. Five of the other towns had less than 100 inhabitants whereas the town of Ferwerd had 181 families totalling 725 people, 524 of them being older than 12 years. The Quotisatiekohier of Ferwerderadeel mentions 61 families having a surname. In majority these families were part of the upper-class of the town and included a.o. the mayor, teachers, a doctor, ministers and rich farmers. The other 120 families are mentioned by the first name and patronymic of the head of the family most of them being poor laborers, farmhands and workmen.
Introduction of the
quotisatie in Ferwerderadeel was not easy.
the registration of the population in the municipality was realized
2 months, it appeared afterwards that the total amount of taxes to be
was only 20,423 caroliguilders instead of the required 24,184. This
was simply “solved” by letting those with the highest income and most
pay for the difference of 3,761 caroliguilders.
The currency in the 18th century was the caroliguilder,
named after emperor Karel V who ruled a large part of Western-Europe in
the 16th century including the Netherlands.
Source: P. Nieuwland - De Quotisatiekohieren
Namen, beroepen en welstand van de Friese bevolking - deel 2.