Retainers and retirement: Pieter Bruegel (†1566), pensioner in Sint-Janshuis retirement home, Bergen op Zoom

Forskningsoutput: Working paper


In 1553-1554 one Pieter Bruegel purchased a corrody in Sint-Janshuis, a retirement home for former employees of the Marquises of Bergen, where he would receive necessities of life and a place to stay until he would pass away. The paper reconstructs the early financial history of the retirement home, demonstrating how it was unable to cope with inflation, and struggled to provide for the inmates. It is suggested therefore Bruegel did not merely retire into Sint-Janshuis, but purchased an extra ration of food, clothes and fuel: apparently his background as a barber-surgeon at one of the most prestigious courts of the Low Countries allowed him to pay for a relatively decent old age. Further evidence corroborates that compared to his fellow-inmates, Bruegel was relatively wealthy. The paper also discusses evidence linking the barber-surgeon to the painter Pieter Bruegel the Elder, whose origins are almost completely unknown. Based on his name, estimated year of birth, and residence in Bergen op Zoom, the barber-surgeon is a strong candidate for the father of the famous painter. If we are correct in this, the latter would have come from an urban middle-class background with close ties to one of the most important courts in the Low Countries: the Renaissance palace Markiezenhof in Bergen op Zoom.


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Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Ekonomisk historia


Antal sidor19
StatusPublished - 2018


NamnLund Papers in Economic History. General Issues
FörlagDepartment of Economic History, Lund University


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