1 The Dutch Navy in 1700; Effective and Potential strength

In 1700 the United Provinces still dominated international trade. The Dutch navy was there to protect this trade, and in 1674 the Dutch had proven to effectively have the strongest navy. This concept of 'effective strength' is very important. In 1674 the enemy had a greater potential strength, but was not able to equip all its ships and was beaten.

The effective strength sees to the number of ships that were actually equipped, the potential strength sees to the number of serviceable (after repairs) ships a nation had. Nominal strength would include those ships that were on the list, but not reparable. In 1688 the Dutch navy would again have the largest effective strength for some time, but by 1700 its effective strength made it the second or third navy.

The 90 gun three-decker King William to the right is the perfect illustration of the concept of effective and potential strength. During the War of the Spanish Succession the Admiralty of Zeeland kept the ship in a servicable state. During the naval campaigns of the war it preferred to equip smaller ships, but a real necessity would have led to the King William sailing.

2 The Dutch navy in 1688

The Invasion of England in 1688 was the last time the United Provinces manifested themselves as a great power at sea. The invasion was possible because the Dutch navy had a greater effective strength than its enemy. If James II had been a more popular or smarter monarch, he could have equipped a far larger number of the ships he had. It's very doubtful that in such case the Dutch would have dared their invasion with a fleet that was so small and consisted of such light ships.

2.1 The Dutch Navy fighting in alliance with England

In 1689 a new era started for the Dutch, fighting as junior partners in a lasting alliance with England. The Dutch still had about 70 ships of the Line, and they actually increased the power of their navy. However, England outbuilt them and by 1700 they were definitly the junior partners in the alliance.

2.2 The 1689 orders of the Dutch Navy

The Dutch Fleet at the end of 1689 and its orders sorted on no. of guns/size
Ship Captain Guns Orders Men
West Vrieslant (N) VA Callenburgh 80 Back to the UP 450
Voorzichtigheid (M) RA Brakel 74 Back to the UP 400
Vrijheid (M) Rees 72 To Med. 400
Gelderland (A) VA Almonde 72 To Med. 400
Walcheren (M) LA Evertsen 70 Back to the UP, sunk Vlissingen 400
Hollandia (A) Toll 70 To Med. 360
Eendracht (M) Snelle 70 To Med. sunk in storm Jan. 1690 357
Noort Holland (N) RA Dick 70 To Med. 300
Amsterdam (A) Graaf van Nassau64 To Med. 315
Haerlem (A) Manard 64 To Med. 325
Callandsoog (M) Van Zeyl 64 Back to the UP 325
Gekroonde Burg (M) VA van der Putten62 Back to the UP 350
Zierikzee (Z) RA Evertzen 62 To Med. 328
Veere (M) Mosselman 60 Back to the UP300
Ridderschap (M) De Liefde 60 To Med. 300
Prov. Utrecht (A) Decker 56 Cruise in Channel315
Gaasterland (A) Taelman 52 To Med. 210
Vrede (A) Van Laren 52 To Med. 210
Elswout (A) Van Nieuburg 52 Cruise in Channel210
Wapen van Hoorn (N) Muys 52 To Med. 200
Tyger (N) Berckhout 52 Cruise in Channel200
Alida (N) Kalf 52 Cruise in Channel200
Honselaarsdijk (M) Convent 50 Cruise in Channel200
Cortiene (Z) De Boer 50 Cruise in Channel200
Schattershoef (A) Van der Goes 46 Cruise in Channel210
Europa (F) Hidde de Vries 48 Back to the UP 170
Vlaardingen (N) Pael 46 To Med. 170
De Winthont (F) Jentema 34 To Med. 150
De Brack (F) Dirck de Vries 36 To Med. 150
Damiaten (A) Van Gijsen 36 Cruise in Channel140
Phoenix (M) Cap. Brakel 26 Cruise in Channel110
Freg. Kroonvogel (M) Com. Regat 14 Back to the UP 50
Frigat (N) Com. Gros 14 Back to the UP 42
Bur. Vesuvius (A) Com. du Pon - To Med. ?
Bur. Maegt v. Enkhu.(N)Com. Muysevanger6 To Med. 22
Bur. Zes Gebroeders (A)Com. de Jonge6 Cruise in Channel22
Bur. Etna (M) Com. Antonisse 6 Back to the UP 22
Amsterdam ships of the Dutch Fleet as of 1689 into 1690
Ship captain in 1687captain in 1688captain later end 89 During Beachy Head menBuilt
Pr Maria(92) Gilles Schey'90 At Beachy HeadL. 1683
Pr Willem(92) L. 1687
Keurvorst v Brandenburg(92) L. 1689
Keurvorstin v Brandenburg(92) L. 1689
Keurvorst v Saksen(92) L. 1689
Gelderland(72) VA Almonde To Med. Med400L. 1683
Hollandia(70) Toll To Med. Med and At Beachy Head360L. 1683
Reygersbergen(74) Van Zeyl April '901y? Beachy Head, to vZyl April 1690* 400
Wapen van Utrecht(66)Schey'88 Sinks at Beachy Head, captain Decker300
Amsterdam (64) Graaf van NassauTo Med. Med315L. 1688
Haerlem (64) Manard To Med. Med325L. 1688
Zeeland(64) Dussen '88 L. 1683
Zeeland(64) Docked 19/7 OHCL. 1690
Leyden(64) Bastiaanse'88 Docked 19/7 OHCL. 1687
Friesland(62) Graef van Nassau'88 ?were there 2 Frieslands?
Friesland(64) Sinks At Beachy HeadL. 1690
Prov. Utrecht (62) Decker Cruise in Channel Docked 19/7 OHC295
Gideon(60) Hardenbroeck in'88 ? Docked 19/7 OHC210
Akerboom(60) Jan Bouwens in '88 210
Gaasterland (52) Taelman To Med. Med then maint? Docked210L. 1688
Stad en Lande(52) Van Laer 30/4/87Pieter Laren '88 At Beachy HeadL. 1683
Vrede (52) Decker in '88 Van Laren '90 To Med. Med.210
Elswout (52) Van Zyl '88 Van Nieuburg '90Cruise in ChannelMed and At Beachy Head210
Beemster(52) Tol '88 Docked 19/7 OHC200L. 1686
Castricum(50) Van Basse '88 Cuyper apr'901z At Beachy Head, to Cuyper apr1690*L. 1686
Agatha(50) Joan Kuyper in '88 Van der Zaen At Beachy Head
Schattershoef (46) A. Manard in '88 Van der Goes Cruise in ChannelMed then maint?210
Maria Elisabeth(46)W. van der Zaen '88 170L. 1685
Nimwegen(46) G. Hooft '88 Benthem late '90 190
Catharina(46) Swaen in Med. 88 back jun 89Van Gendere May'90 captured oct 90L. 1685
Harderwijk(46) C. van der Zaan '88 175
Wapen vd Schermer(44) L. 1690
Noort Holland(44) van der Gijse '88 Swaen1w At Beachy Head
Juffr. Anna(38) Dirk Schey '88 130L. 1689
Raadhuis Edam(36) A. Taelman '88 L. 1688
Grijpskerk(40) L. 1689
Sneek (36) Ph van der Goes '88 L. 1687
Damiaten (36) Hogenhoeck '88 Van Gijsen Cruise in Channel 140
Zwolle(36) L. 1688
Landskroon(36) L. 1688
Oudkarspel(36) A. Stilte '88 130
Asperen(36) Nieuburg '88 130
Wulpenburg(32) A. Noorthey '88 130
Hasewint(32) P. van der Dussen '88 130
Jager(26) L. 1689
Vliegende Mercurius(12) Comm. Lamoureux 1 april '901aL. 1689
Bur. Vesuvius (-) Com. du Pon To Med. ?
Bur. Zes Gebroeders (7)Com. de Jonge Cruise in Channel 22
AC 6 april 1690

Let's have a look at the orders Admiral William III gave his fleet on 6 November 16891b. The orders to go to the Mediterranean were not executed, but are there for reference. What is interesting is that in these orders 30 ships of more than 30 guns are mentioned, but only about 10 can be tracked back to the 1688 list. This means that the potential strength of the Dutch navy was at least the 39 ships of the line in the invasion fleet plus 20 others mentioned in the 1689 orders, making 59 ships. Supposing that another 10 were sailing around or being repaired somewhere, we come to a total of about 70 ships of the line for the Dutch at the end of 1689.

3 The Dutch Fleet in the Battle of Beachy Head

The role of the Dutch fleet in this 1690 battle is described in the battle of Beachy Head. One has to remember that only a part of the Dutch fleet was in this battle, and therefore the fact that the Dutch division was smaller does not say that much.

4 The Dutch Fleet at Barfleur / La Hogue

The Battle of Barfleur / La Hogue in 1692 saw about 27 Dutch to about 56 English ships of the line. Particulars about this are in the battle of Barfleur.

5 Decline of the Dutch fleet in the 1690's?

Dutch Navy ships actually serving in 1696
Ship Captain Guns Men Remarks
The Battle fleet
Vrijheid (A) LA van Almonde 96 550 Med. 1705
Zeven provinciën (M)VA van Callenburgh90 525 Med. 1702; 1705
Zeelandia (Z)VA Gel. Evertsen 90 550
Kon. Willem (Z)RA N.A. den Boer 90 530
West Vriesland (N)RA Muys 90 500
Prinses Maria (A)Graaf van Nassau 92 500
Unie (A) Van der Dussen 94 500 Med. 1705
Beschermer (N)De Boer 90 475 Med. 1705
Eerste Edele (Z)Mosselman 74 400
Ridderschap (M)RA Ph. van der Goes 72 400
Dordrecht (M)E. de Liefde 72 375 Med. 1702
Holland (M) A. Pieterson 72 375 Med. 1702
Maze (M) J. van der Goes 72 375
Deventer (A)A. van Toll 72 400 Med. 1705
Katwijk (A) Van Laeren 72 400 Med. 1702; 1704
Slot Muyden (A)Ph. Schryver 72 400 Med. 1702; 1705
Elswout (A) Draex 72 375 Med. 1705
Gouda (A) A. Manart 72 400 Med. 1702
Holland (A) Hogenhoeck 72 375 Med. 1705
Walcheren (Z)La Palma 72 400 Med. 1705
Maagd v. Enkhuizen (N)J. de Jongh 72 375
Noorderkwartier (N)Bolck 72 375 Built 1690 sold ca 1720
Munnikendam (N)Reijnhals 72 375
Alkmaar (N)Roos 72 375 Med. 1702; 1705
Veluwe (M) Van Convent 66 340 Med. 1702
Zeeland (M)Van Regteren 64 325
Leijden (A) Graaf v. Bentheim 64 325
Haarlem (A)J. Bar. van Wassenaar 64 325
Amsterdam (A)Van der Gysen 64 325
Banier (A) Lynslager 64 325
Dieren (A) Beeckman 64 325
Dom v. Utrecht (A)Jolle Jollesz 64 325
Zierikzee (Z)Boom 64 325 Med. 1705
Frisia (F) Stoffel Middagten 64 310
Prins Friso (F)Bar. J. van Ghendt 64 310
Wassenaer (M)Corn. van Brakel 60 325
Delft (M) Zas v.d. Bossche 50 210
Vrede (A) Swaan 50 210
Medemblik (N)Poeleway 50 210
Sneek (A) Leyden a Leeuwen 44 165
Valkenier (N)Van Veen 40 160
Schoonoord (A)Teenhgs 30 110
Zeist (Z) Coorde 30 130

It's often supposed that though the Dutch built a reasonable number of good ships in the 1690's the strength of the fleet decreased in the 1690's. For this we have tables of Dutch ships actually serving in 1696, taken from appendix XIX of the 'Geschiedenis van het Nederlandsche Zeewezen'2. It was aggregated by the author from lists provided by Almonde, Van Zijl and archives of the admiralties. The list does make clear that an appraisal of Dutch navy is not only about the main battle fleet, but also about counting all the ships that were engaged in other duties.

Dutch Navy ships actually serving in 1696
Ship Captain Guns Men Remarks
The North Sea fleet
Het Loo (A) Van Zyll 64 325
Wapen van Utrecht (N)Grauw 64 325
Arnhem (N) Cromhout 64 325
Aemilia (F) Beyma 58 275 Med. 1705
Goes (Z) Wiltschut 54 250
Vlissingen (Z)Tresel 54 250 Med. 1705
De Zon (A) Van Genderen 52 230
Nijmegen (A)J. Erasmus 50 210 Med. 1704
Damiaten (A)Sommelsdyck 50 210
Prov. Utrecht (M)Wass. Starrenburgh 48 210
Noord Holland (A)Roncke 46 180
Drakensteyn (A)Regoot 44 165
Cortgene (Z)Courte 44 208
Mercurius (Z)Danckers 40 220
Groenwijf Sincke Binckes 36 140
Kruidberg Comm. Toll de Jonge 30 110
Dutch Navy ships actually serving in 1696
Ship Captain Guns Men Remarks
Escort ships
Ripperda (A)De Veer 50 210
Muiderburg (A)Van de Perre 50 210
Schiedam (M)Van der Pot 50 210
Wapen v.d. Schermer (A)C. Hogenhoeck44 200
Edam (A) Comm. Hubert 44 165
Gorcum (M)Comm. Heemskerk 40 160
Raadhuis v Haarlem (A)Comm. Bucking38 150
Graaf van Solms (A)Comm. Manart de Jonge38150
Soestdijk (A)Kapt.lt. v.d. Bergh 38 150
Beschutter (A)Comm. Vlies 38 150
Rozendaal (M)Comm. Forman 38 200
Landskroon (A)L. Lieuwkens 36 135
Anna (A)Roemer Vlacq 36 130
Schoterbroek (A)Comm. van Royen 34 110
Weldam (A)Comm. Is. Sweers 34 110
Wulpenburg (A)Comm. Gouwenaar 34 110
Wolf (A)Comm. Bremburg 34 110
Briel (M)Van Cooperen 34 110
Heusden (M)Comm. Is. Hanedoes 34 110
Rotterdam (M)Comm. van Wyligh 34 110
Oud Naarden (A)Comm. W. Schot 30 120
De Brak (A)Zhum 30 110

This is followed by a table of those ships in actual service. This gives a number of ships of the line of 81 if one counts the ships with 30-38 guns. For getting the potential strength some have to be added for those ships that did not see service in 1696.

When one also takes into account the modernization of the fleet towards bigger ships with heavier guns, one can only conclude that during the 1690's the Dutch navy significantly increased in strength.

Summary of 1696
Number guns men
8 90-96 500-550
16 72-74 375-400
15 60-66 310-340
12 50-58 210-275
10 40-48 160-210
20 30-38 110-150
13 20-26 75-136
8 8-18 40-120
9 burners 22

6 The Dutch fleet in the War of the Spanish Succession

6.1 Dutch ships actually serving during the War of the Spanish Succession

During the War of the Spanish Succession the Dutch still had a good navy, but its effective strength would drop far below that of the English. Based on countings I would put the effective strengh of the Dutch navy during the War of the Spanish Succession at about 50 mainly small ships of the line. Of these 10-15 of the largest would each year sail with the English in the Mediterranean, about 10 would be in the North Sea of before Dunkirk and perhaps two dozen others were on various convoy duties. The real significance of this is however not in the numbers, but in the fact that the Dutch opted to oppose the Guerre de Course and left the direct struggle for control of the seas to the English.

The matters of how strong the Dutch navy was and whether it was crippled by the War of the Spanish Succession could be answered by checking which of the above ships were serving in 1702 or later, what happened to them and which new ships were built. I've tried to do so here, but the list is rather incomplete.

Dutch Navy ships during the War of the Spanish Succession
Ship Captain Guns Direct source3Other sources4
Zeven Provincien (M)VA Van der Goes 0292Vigo 1702; Lisbon 1705wrecked 1706
Vrijheid (A)Almonde 05 96 Hol. 1702; Lisbon 05; Barcelona 1705L. 1695, bu 1723
Unie (A)RA Wassenaar 02, 0594 Vigo 1702; Malaga 1704; Lisbon 1705L. 1692 bu 1721
Beschermer (N)Van der Goes 0590 Lisbon 1705; Med. 1707
Prins Willem (A)van Gent 92 Med. 1707L. 1688 bu 1718
Amsterdam (A) 96 L. 1712, bu 1737
Kv. v. Brandenburg (A) 92 L. 1688 bu 1715
Kvi. v. Brandenburg (A) 92 L. 1688 bu 1715
Katwijk (A)Beekman 02 72 Vigo 1702; Malaga 1704L. 1694, bu 1724
(Slot) MuydenSchryver 02; Jollesen72 Vigo 1702; Lisbon 1705L. 1692, bu 1732
Reigersbergen (A)Lijnslager 02, Schrijver 0572 Vigo 1702, Lisbon 1705L. 1693, bu 1721
Dordrecht (M)Van der Pott 0272 Vigo 1702, Malaga 1704
Holland (M)Convent/Callenburg 0272 Vigo 1702, Barcelona 1705
Alkmaar (N?)Pieterson 02, Goes 0572 Vigo 1702; Lisbon 1705
Monnikendam (N) 72 1703 drifted; Med. 1707Built 1691 s. 1720
Nijmegen (A)H. Lijnslager 04+72 Malaga 1704L. 1694, bu 1722
Eerste Edele (Z)RA Boom 0874 1703 equip., 1708 Dunkirk
Walcheren (Z)Nossen 05 70 1704 equip., Lisbon 1705, 1708 to Dunkirk
Deventer (A)De Veer 05 72 Barcelona 1705; Med. 1707L. 1694, bu 1720
Utrecht 72 Med. 1707
Ridderschap (M)Van Convent72 Med. 1707
P. Utrecht (A) 72 1712 at MahonL. 1703, bu 1725
Zeelandia (A) 72 1712 at Mahon; for sale 1716L. 1710, s. 1717
Rotterdam (M)Starrenburg 0574 Lisbon 1705, 1711 Portsm.; 1712 at Mahon
Gelderland (A)Kopere 05 72 1705 Lisbon, 1715 DanzigL. 1711, s. 1717
Noorderkwartier (N) 72 Built 1690 s. 1720
Elswout (A) Sommelsdijk 05 72 1705 LisbonL. 1691, bu 1721
Hollandia (A) 72 Livorno 1710; for sale 1716L. 1702, bu 1725
Zeven StedenNieustadt 05 72 Lisbon 1705
Veluwe (M)Wassenaar Sta. 0264 Vigo 1702; Gibr. 1704
Gouda (A)Sommelsdijk 02 64 Vigo 1702bu 1720
Albemarle (N)Bolck 64 1702 Zeeland; 1703 Portugal; S. after Malaga 1704
Zierikzee (Z)Tressel 05 ca 60 equip 1702; Lisbon 1705
Wassenaar (M) 64 Med. 1707
Veere 60 Med. 1707
Banier (A) 64 Malaga 1704, Med. 1707L. 1691, bu 1718
Loo (A) 64 Med. 1707L. 1693, bu 1716
Aemilia (A)Beeckman 04; 05, Dussen 0564 Gibr. 1704; Gibr. 1705; Med. 1707?L. 1699, bu 1727
Pr. Amilia (?)Leeuwen 05 52 Lisbon 1705L. 1699, bu 1727
Frisia (F)Middagten 64 Gibr. 1704; Malaga 1704
Leeuw (A)Veth 08 64 Malaga 1704; Med. 1707; 1708 Dunkirk; 1712 at MahonL. 1700, bu 1714
W. van Utrecht (N?)Bolk 64? Gibr. 1704; Malaga 1704; Med. 1707; Livorno 1710Sunk Feb 1710
Daelem (A) Nieuwenhuis 11 64 1711 Lisbon; 1712 at MahonL. 1708, s. 1717
Loosdrecht (A) 64 1712 at MahonL. 1710, bu 1739
Arnhem (N) Roos 11 64 1711 Lisbon; 1712 at Mahon
Raadhuis v. Edam (A) 64 L. 1700, bu 1727
Prin Friso (A) 64 1710 LivornoL. 1708, s. 1717
Boetzelaer (A) 64 L. 1711, bu 1739
Vlissingen (Z)Okkerse 05; Coorde 0554 1703 equip.; Malaga 1704; 1705 Gibraltar
Veere (Z) 54 1703 equip.; 1705 Lisbon; 1706 Lisbon
Muiderberg (A)Roemer Vlak 52 Burned in battle of Laroque 1703
Overijssel (A)Pieterson, Boudaan 0552 03; 1705 Lisbon, 1708 DunkirkL. 1696, bu 1728
Nieuwenhuis (A)Teengs 05; Ofzen 1152 Texel 1705; 1711 LisbonL. 1700, bu 1731
Kaysersweert (A)J. van den Bosch52 Edinburgh 1705, 1708 DunkirkL. 1700?, bu 1728
Schieland (M?) 50 Med. 1707
Zon (A)Comm. van Kerchem 52 Dunkirk 1708L. 1694, bu 1723
Batavier (A)Francken 52 Dunkirk 1708L. 1699, bu 1724
Schattershoef (A) 50 L. 1672, bu 1713
Ripperda (A) 52 L. 1691, bu 1719
Damiaten (A) 52 Malaga 1704L. 1693, bu 1713
Morgenster (A) 52 L. 1694, bu 1719
Hof van Rhenen (A) 52 L. 1700, bu 1729
Curaçao (A) 52 L. 1704, bu 1729
Oosterwijk (A) 52 1704 North seaL. 1704, bu 1734
Den Brakel (A) 52 L. 1709, bu 1735
Duinrel (A) 52 L. 1712, bu 1736
Ter Meer (A) 52 L. 1713, bu 1741
SchiedamBoreel 05 52 Gibr. 1705L. 1713, bu 1741
Wapen van Hoorn (N)Nieustadt52 Lost Oostende 1702
Zeeland (M) 46? 1711 Portsmouth; 1712 at Mahon
GaasterlandComm. Thys de Wit46 1703 Capt. in battle of La Roque
Grijpskerk (A) 40 L. 1689, bu 1713
Drakestein (A) 44 L. 1692, bu 1717
Kampen (A) 44 L. 1699, bu 1726
Raadh. Haarlem (A) 44 L. 1699, bu 1724
Diepenheim (A) 44 1708 DunkirkL. 1700, bu 1724
Vredenhof (A) 44 1711 LisbonL. 1709, bu 1730
Edam (A) 44 L. 1711, bu 1739
Schermer 43 1703 Capt. in battle of La Roque
Anna (A) 38 L. 1688, bu 1713
Landscroon (A) 34 Med. 1707L. 1689, bu 1713
Freg. Beschutter (A) 38 Vigo 1702; Lisbon 1705L. 1692, bu 1717
Freg. Grijpende wolf (A) 38 Vigo 1702L. 1692, bu 1719
Freg. Schoterbos (A) 38 Vigo 1702L. 1693, bu 1717
Freg. Mars (A) 38 L. 1701, bu 1724
Freg. Schoonoord (A) 38 L. 1701, bu 1732
Freg. Kraai (A) 38 L. 1704, bu 1733
Freg. Rozendaal (M)Kpt. A. Boreel38 Capt. in battle of La Roque
Freg. Rotterdam (M)Kpt. Samuel Forman34 Capt. in battle of La Roque
Nassau (Z)Maurignault ? 1708 Dunkirk, 1712 at Mahon
Freg Heemskerk ? Vigo 1702
Freg Gorcum ? Vigo 1702
Freg. Grave ? Vigo 1702

6.2 The Admiralty of Zeeland

About the Admiralty of Zeeland some particulars are known. Below is what I believe to be a complete overview of the ships of the Zeeland Admiralty during the War of the Spanish Succession. A detailed study of the Admiralty of Zeeland in the first half of the 18th century is online, Tegen de stroom oproeien by Jelle Reynaert.

Zeeland ships during the War of the Spanish Succession
Ship Guns Served in WSS built Remarks
Middelburg ? never 1699 bu 1753, 180ft
Zeelandia 90 ? 1684 sold 1715, 170ft
Koning William 90 ? 1690 sold 1718, 170ft
Eerste Edele 74 1703; 1708 sold 1728
Walcheren 70 1704; 1705, 1708 1695 sold 1713, 152ft
Zierikzee ca 60 1702; 1705 1693 sold 1716, 146ft
Vlissingen 54 1703; 1704; 1705 sold 1736
Veere 54 1703; 1705; 1706
Nassau ? 1708; 1712
Goes 54 ? 1690 sold 1705 136ft
Cortgene 44 ? sold 1710
Freg. Zeist 30 ? sold 1710 100 ft
Freg. Aurora 28 ? sold 1710 100 ft
Freg. Rozenburg ? ? sold 1711
Orange Galley ? ?

7 Potential strength during and after the War of the Spanish Succession

One then has to try to work this over to get a view of how many ships could potentially be put to sea. During the War of the Spanish Succession most of the above ships did see some action, some ships were lost and some new ships were built. One could therefore be tempted to think that the potential strength of the Dutch navy did not dramatically decrease. Providing that few ships were lost the potential strength could only diminish as ships gradually became too old to be servicable. In potential strength the mainstay of the Dutch navy were the ships built during the Nine Years War. These reached the end of their life span after about 25-30 years, and so the potential strength of the Dutch navy was still quite high in 1713.

However, right after the war a rigorous cost-cutting programm set in. In stead of replacing a part of these aging ships they were simply broken up. It was even worse than this because even a lot of the newer ships were broken up or sold. This policy kind of assumed that the United Provinces would not soon be engaged in a major war and therefore did not need a large navy in the short term. The real economic interest of the United Provinces however demanded a navy that could enforce the free trade of its citizens whatever the international circumstances. The much smaller navy after the war was a signal to all other powers that they could easily start to take measures to strengthen their own trade by restricting the Dutch trading.

8 Notes

1z) OHC 25 april 1690 for Swaen sailing with the whalers on 21 April 1690
1y) AC 6 april 1690 for Van Zeyl appointed on the Reygersbergen
1z) AC 6 april 1690 for Cuyper appointed on the Castricum
1a) OHC 4 april 1690 for Lamoureux on the 'Vliegende Mercurius'
1b) Hollandse Mercurius van het jaar 1689, page 158 has these orders given for the fleet on 27 October 1689
2) Geschiedenis van het Nederlansche Zeewezen deel 3
3) Direct Source reflects mention of the ship in the Heinsius Archive; also Europische Mercurius for 1703 for the Vigo OOB;
4) Other sources: De Admiraliteit van Amsterdam in rustige jaren1713-1751, by J.R. Bruijn Scheltema and Holkema 1971, for the Amsterdam ships; Resoluties Holland for Munnikendam and Noorderkwartier getting sold ca 1720.