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The territorial scope of the catalogue

The scope of this catalogue includes, according to the Atlas Historyczny Polski[1] (Historical Atlas of Poland), the historical region of Ziemia Łęczycka in the form that emerged in the Middle Ages and survived practically unchanged until the partition of Poland in the 18th century.

The area of Ziemia Łęczycka or Łęczycki Province is located between Wielkopolska (from the west), Ziemia Sieradzka (from the south), Kujawy (from the north), and Mazowsze (from the northeast and east).

The administrative and ownership structures, the settlement system (network of towns and villages), and the communication and trade routes, which constitute the functional basis of this region, have developed through the ages. Although settlers did not participate in this development from its inception, starting from the middle of the 18th century, the number new villages founded by the Dutch was considerable and had an impact on the economy of Ziemia Łęczycka. The last settlements were still being founded in the 19th century, although by this time the majority of settlers were of German origin.

An analysis of cartographic sources indicates that a large number of the villages established by the settlers were founded in the 18th century. Detailed maps from the end of the 18th and the first half of the 19th centuries enabled me to survey the region in a few chronological sections.

Sources for identification of villages included in the Dutch colonization

The essential publication treating the subject of Dutch colonization in Ziemia Łęczycka is J. Goldberg's article from 1957[2] . However, the description of the colonization in this article is incomplete: the author focused exclusively on the initial period of colonization, until the 2nd partition of Poland, and described only selected aspects. Undoubtedly, such an approach to the subject can be explained by an absence of sources that would provide sufficient information for a complete description of the colonization.

Therefore, my intention was to identify as many villages as possible that were established under the Dutch law. I used the following sources (listed chronologically):

1. Map of Karol de Perthéesa from the last two decades of the 18th century; scale: 1: 225 000 (1784 - Map of the Płocki province, including Ziemia Dobrzyńska; 1792 - Map of the Rawski province; 1794 - Map of the Warsaw area, five-mile diameter),
2. Map of Dawid Gilly and Crona (Krohna) published in 1802/03, scale: 1: 150 000, prepared between 1793-1796, containing areas included in the 2nd and 3rd partition of Poland.
3. Table of towns and villages from 1827.
4. Topograficzna Karta Królestwa Polskiego (Topographic Map of the Kingdom of Poland) from ca. 1830, scale: 1: 126 000, also called Mapa Kwatermistrzostwa.
5. Map of Wojciech Chrzanowski - Map of former Poland, including bordering areas of neighbouring countries, scale: 1: 300 000, from 1859,
6. Słownik geograficzny Królestwa Polskiego i innych krajów słowiańskich (Geographic Dictionary of the Kingdom of Poland and Other Slavic Countries) published between 1880 and 1900.
7. Atlas of the Republic of Poland, published in 1902, scale 1: 300 000,
8. Index of towns and villages of the Republic of Poland, published in 1925,
9. WIG maps, scale 1:100 000 from 1930-38.
10. Mapa Sztabu Generalnego (Map of the General Staff), scale - 1:100 000, from 1951.
11. List of Polish towns and villages from 1968 (developed between 1964-65),
12. List of Polish towns and villages from 1980-82 (developed in 1978),
13. List of Polish towns and villages, Wall Maps, Beata Piętka, Warsaw 2000.

The catalogue structure

The structure of this publication is based on the first catalogue developed for the Mazowsze region. The layout is subordinate to the basic goal of the project, which is cataloguing and inventorying the vanishing material heritage created by the Dutch colonists, who developed previously uncultivated areas of Ziemia Łęczycka, including:

  • Rural settlements

  • Homesteads

  • Residential and farm buildings

  • Churches

  • Cemeteries

Therefore, field research was an essential element of the project. Its purpose was:

  • to verify the range of the Dutch colonization; that is, identify and describe the villages included in this colonization,

  • to catalogue all objects that had not been previously included in the inventory,

  • to verify the information regarding the catalogued objects,

  • to obtain current photographic documentation of the objects.

Unfortunately, during the preliminary survey of the library holdings at the Krajowy Ośrodek Badań (National Research Center) and the Documentation of the Historical Monument in Warsaw, it was discovered that restoration documentation for objects potentially related to this colonization does not exist. Therefore, collection of information about the sites associated with the Olęder settlement was considered the highest priority. In developing this catalogue, I have taken into account and described individual objects related to this colonization. As was the case in Mazowsze, the actual number of settlements founded by the Dutch in Ziemia Łęczycka was found to be larger than the data provided in the literature.

[1] AHP, Województwo sieradzkie i województwo łęczyckie w drugiej poł. XVI w., red. H. Rutkowskiego, Warszawa 1998.
[2] J. Goldberg, Osadnictwo olęderskie w dawnym województwie łęczyckim i sieradzkim, Scientific Publications of the University of Łódź , set I, Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, pub. 5, p. 72-111.

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