Werner Jacobsz van der Valckert: The civic guard company of captain Albert Coenraetsz. Burgh and lieutenant Pieter Evertsz. Hulft (1625)


(Amsterdam Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

A large painting by the Dutch artist Werner Jacobsz van der Valckert (1580-1627/47). The depicted men are members of the civic guard of Amsterdam, a voluntary citizen militia intended to protect the city from attack and act in case of revolt or fire. In Amsterdam each district was assigned its own civic guard company, these men were assigned to district VIII (located in the 
the 'Lastage', now the Nieuwmarktbuurt, between the harbour, the 'oude schans' and the 'Geldersekade', to the north of the 'keizersstraat') to preserve peace and order. The composition of the painting is typical of these civic guard pieces (in Dutch 'schuttersstuk'): the only 2 seating men on the left are the commanders of the unit: captain Albert Coenraetsz. Burgh and lieutenant Pieter Evertsz. Hulft. The 3 sergeants of the unit can be identified by the halberd which they are carrying (the man who is bending over the table and pointing is most likely also a sergeant). The depicted 4 papers on the painting all have a meaning: the second man from the right is holding a copy of the famous 'Wapenhandelinghe van Roers Musquetten ende spiessen' (The Exercise of Arms, an instruction manual from 1607 for the use of pike and muskets, created by Jacob de Gheyn (II), prince Maurice of Orange and prince Frederick Henry of Orange). The two papers on the table on the left is a book about fortifications and a ground plan of district VIII. Captain Albert Coenraetsz. Burgh is connecting the plan of district VIII and the fortification with a compass. In other words the civic guard company emphasizes that the safety is guaranteed in their district (plan + fortification). With the 'Wapenhandelinghe' book the company shows that they are familiar with the latest military developments. The paper which the kneeling sergeant is offering to the captain contains the names of the depicted men:

- Albert Coenraetsz. Burgh (1592 - 1647): the sitting man with compass, captain in the civic guard, mayor of Amsterdam, member of the city council of Amsterdam, director of the crossbow- and musket training grounds (= in Dutch 'voetboog- and 'Kloveniersdoelen'), member of 

Supervisor of the 'Bank van Lening, governor of the West India Company, a member of the Admiralty of Amsterdam, a member of the State Council, supervisor of the Latin School
- Pieter Evertsz. Hulft (1578 - 1639): the sitting man on the left, lieutenant in the civic guard, shipowner, brewer, member of the city council of Amsterdam
- Arent Willemsz. van Buyl (...-1646): standard-bearer in the civic guard

Other depicted men:
- Joris Adriaensz.: sergeant in the civic guard
- Jan Hectorsz. van Chanu (1571 - 1637): sergeant in the civic guard, wood-merchant
- Harmen Rendorp (...-1625): sergeant in the civic guard, shipowner, merchant to Portugal
- Nicolaes van Strijen (...-1650): member of the civic guard
- Rombout Jacobsz. (...-1652): member of the civic guard
- Pieter Jacobsz. Croon (1589 - 1652): member of the civic guard
- Lucas Jacobsz.: member of the civic guard
- Jacob Jacobsz. Croon (1584 - 1654): member of the civic guard
- Pieter Simonsz.: member of the civic guard
- Herman Cornelisz. van Hoorn: member of the civic guard

Captain Albert Coenraetsz. Burgh was 1 of the four mayors of Amsterdam who took the decision in 1639 for the construction of the new town hall of Amsterdam (now the Royal Palace in Amsterdam). He is also depicted on 2 other paintings as a mayor (by Thomas de Keyser) and as a director of the musket training grounds (by Govert Flinck). The occasion for this painting was probably the death of prince Maurice of Orange. The members of this company were supporters of prince Maurice: captain 
Albert Burg and lieutenant Pieter Hulft owned their position as a member of the city council of Amsterdam to prince Maurice. The company also shows their support of prince Maurice with the coat-of-arms of the prince on their flag. Painting from 1625.

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