Anonymous: Officers of the young civic guard of Alkmaar (1593)

(Stedelijk Museum Alkmaar, Alkmaar, The Netherlands)

Like so many other Dutch cities in Holland during the 17th century, the town of Alkmaar also had a civic guard. The first civic guard (guild) unit of Alkmaar was founded around 1387-1408 and used the foot bow (crossbow). Around 1450 another civic guard guild was founded which used the hand bow as a weapon. These two guilds were reorganized in 1578 into a new civic guard which had 2 units: the old (composed by the older guild) and the young civic guard (the younger guild), each had its own targetpracticebuilding (Dutch = Doelen). Each guard unit had 2 companies (Dutch = Vendel). The old civic guard had the blue and orange companies while the young guard had the white and green companies. Each company had 12 platoons of 10-13 men so in total the civic guard of Alkmaar had about 600 men. Depicted on this typical civic guard portrait (Dutch = 'Schuttersstuk') are the officers of the young civic guard, the two standard-bearers (1 for each company). The 'provoost' - an officer with legal authority - is also depicted (bottom row, second from right with his staff). The men in background with the tankard is the innkeeper. He manages the targetpracticebuilding (Koningsweg 95 in Alkmaar) of the young civic guard. Painting from 1593.