Newcomers, Migrants, Surgeons

Making Career in the Amsterdam Surgeons’ Guild of the Eighteenth Century


  • Piet Joannes Groot



surgeons, Amsterdam, integration, immigrants, newcomers, guild


Like many modern organizations, the Amsterdam Surgeons’ Guild recruited its members during the eighteenth century from the ranks of locally born citizens as well as migrants. But how a surgeon’s migration status impacted his chances of being admitted by, and making a career within, the Surgeons’ Guild, remains a mystery. This article analyses enrolment lists of apprentices, journeymen, and master surgeons in order to find out how a surgeon’s birth-place influenced his chances of a career within the Amsterdam Surgeons’ Guild. By looking at the guild’s official stance towards newcomers, and pairing this with the actual career paths of migrants within the Amsterdam Surgeons’ Guild, this article demonstrates that migrants could be retained for the guild if they received their apprenticeship training in Amsterdam. In other words, it was not so much origin, but rather the geography of education and work that shaped careers. These results reveal mechanisms of integration that can be generalised to cases outside the Amsterdam Surgeons’ Guild.


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Author Biography

Piet Joannes Groot

Piet Groot (1992) studied psychology with a major in social and organisational psychology at Leiden University. He is currently employed as a PhD candidate at Utrecht University, at the department of History and Art History, and at the department of Social, Health, and Organisational Psychology.




How to Cite

Groot, P. J. (2020). Newcomers, Migrants, Surgeons: Making Career in the Amsterdam Surgeons’ Guild of the Eighteenth Century. TSEG - The Low Countries Journal of Social and Economic History, 17(3), 7–36.



Research Article