It dates back to 1291 and is full of details. There is hardly any archive of care for the poor, sick and orphans in the Netherlands as old and complete as the Sint-Catharinagasthuis archive in Grave. After preservation, the archive can be viewed digitally from the afternoon of Thursday 12 August after 730 years.
Signed: “You are a good friend, Guillaume de Nassau.” In other words, William of Orange. Here is a letter from Willem’s son, Frederick Hendrik, from 1638. It was signed by his secretary, the famous poet Konstantin Huygens. Both are written in elegant lowercase and concluded with graceful signatures. “It’s about taxes,” says Jan Sanders, state archivist, of the Brabants Historisch Informatie Centrum, who has taken the two paper documents out of a folder. It is housed in his organization’s warehouse in Grave’s Town Hall among 62 meters of shelves filled with archive boxes with a total of more than 200,000 pages of manuscripts and paper.
In 2021, you can not get very close to the father of the homeland, and also the lord of the grave, and his contemporaries. How this beautiful? Pretty sure, but Jan Sanders has seen these kinds of documents quite often and in many other places. Standing in the archives of Sint-Catharinagasthuis, which include those of another care institution in Graaff, the Table of the Holy Spirit, he is particularly excited about the medieval ledgers, where all incomes and expenses are listed. “Thus you go down deep into the pores of this guest house.”
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