Crime Netherlands Over the years, there has been much discussion regarding the relationship between crime and religious sects. How were crime justified? Where and how were the robberies committed? In the article Crime in the Netherlands in the sixteenth century Janzma studies the issue of robbery in relation to the Appelman-Batenburg group and the followers of Johan Willems by exploring the socioeconomic and political conditions responsible for their survival. According to the author, the Appelman-Batenburg sect was more organized than most since they had organized a criminal network of spies, locksmiths and goldsmiths. This would ensure that the loot would be well hidden and new operations could be planned. Secondly, their raids were carried out in secrecy. Since they were scattered, this allowed the group to disperse over a greater surface area. According to the author, this was a wise move, since it allowed the members to continue to steal while learning of the fate of other leaders which had been caught.
On the other hand, the Johan Willem sect were more concentrated in the area around Wetzel, Guelders and Overijssel. This group comprised mostly of people who had been members of the Appelman-Batenburg group as well as those who had escaped the siege of Mnster.Unlike the Appelman-Batenburg sect, the John Willem group stole mostly from churches however did also steal from houses and monasteries. However, like the Appelman-Batenburg, they did carry out their raids in secrecy. In addition, the author also discussed the theme of violence. Although violence was rarely used during the raids, it was not uncommon for members to kill their victims or even other members to avoid being recognized.
In addition, the author adds that for the Appelman-Batenburg sect, murder was also used as a ploy to not rouse the suspicion in the neighbourhood in which they robbed. The main difference between these two groups is seen in the way in which justification to commit these acts were perceived. For the Appelman-Batenburg, robbery was seen only as a temporary act. According to the author, once the town had been seized, they used it as a base from which the sinful world could be punished. They held the view that the church property belonged to them.
The author adds that since the Appelman-Batenburg sect was being persecuted and killed by monks, they used robbery as a form of vengeance against the church as well as the Eucharist as well as to persuade unconvinced members to set aside their objections. On the other hand, the author states that Johan Willems group viewed themselves as God’s people. They believed that a new kingdom was to be established by God with the aid of Johan Willems and that the practise of robbery and plundering would come to an end once the kingdom was founded. A final theme discussed by the author was survival of the groups. According to the author, there were two main reasons why the groups managed to survive : geography and recruitment.
Since both sects were scattered, there were more possibilities to hide from the authorities. As well, the war rendered certain areas unsafe which allowed the groups to expand in more geographical areas. Recruitment for both sects contributed greatly to their survival because of the war and religious developments. According to the author, many new recruits were peasants and citizens who were dispossessed and held for ransom who would not hesitate to join them as a form of survival. In conclusion, the theme of crime in the Netherlands is a very vast one and difficult to fully understand without conducting a more thorough study of the socioeconomic and political conditions of the times as well as the study of other groups. This article serves as a introduction to the subject at hand and offers the readers the possibility of further study.
As well, the article teaches us about the vulnerability of humans and their quest for survival in times of desperation. To end, could these movements have served as a background for today’s society? History Reports.