Experiences from the City Archives: “Crowdsourcing Creative Industries”

Drs. E. Fleurbaay

Last year the Amsterdam City Archives started a project to index its largest and most important archival collection: the Archives of the Amsterdam Notaries (1578-1915). After 6 months 350 volunteers have finished indexing more than 70.000 notarial deeds. Among these we estimate that there are about 5.000 deeds that contain information that is relevant for Golden Agents.

Several examples will be demonstrated of different types of notarial deeds and the information they contain that is relevant for Golden Agents. It has been known for years now that last wills of quite a few of the famous painters of the Golden Age can be found in the notarial archives. But there is so much more! Think of agreements of sale, marriage contracts and inventories of houses and shops, in which every item in the various rooms is described, from the silver spoons and Chinese porcelain in the cupboards of the dining rooms in Amsterdam canal houses to the ribbons and precious lace in all colors and materials in the drawers of a silkshop.


Ellen Fleurbaay is Head of Presentation and Participation at the Amsterdam City Archives. This department is responsible for exhibitions, events and all online services. The City Archives are widely considered leading in the area of digital services with more than 20 million free scans online, based on a scanning-on-demand service. The City Archives received several awards for these activities, among others for taking the initiative for VeleHanden.nl, a national platform for crowdsourcing in the cultural heritage domain.