All the information on more than 1.8 million ships which sailed on the Sound in Danish waters from the 15th century until 1857, will be available online from 16 May. The data from the so-called Sound Toll Registers has been put into a digital database. The original register contains more than 700 thick handwritten volumes bound in leather and is stored in Copenhagen’s national archive.
The Sound Toll Register Online project was set up by the Dutch University of Groningen en The Frisian History and Literature Centre Tresoar in Leeuwarden in cooperation with Copenhagen’s National Archive.
The registers contain information about shipping and the economy from the 15th century. On 16 May, researchers from Groningen University and Tresoar will give a demonstration of the possibilities the website www.soundtoll.nl provides for professional researchers and amateurs.
The Danish crown introduced a toll, the Sound Dues, on every ship that sailed the Sound, the narrow waterway between the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. The Sound, which separates Denmark from Sweden, was an important trade route for the Netherlands in particular. Half the ships that sailed it were Dutch. In the 17th century, Dutch ships dominated trade. In the 18th century, ships from Friesland took over this role. For every trip, the name of the skipper, his town and port were noted as well as his cargo; from 1660 onwards his destination was also registered.
© Radio Netherlands Worldwide