Masters of Mobility


5.7 Timber trade

After the castle of Amerongen burned down in 1673 the already mentioned lord of Amerongen, Godard Adriaan van Reede, wrote a letter to Michiel Matthijsz. Smids in Berlin, requesting wood.1 After mediation by Johan Maurits van Nassau-Siegen, the elector decided to give Van Reede the wood.2 Benjamin Raule, another timber trader of Dutch origin in Brandenburg, supplied deals of pine wood for Amerongen.3 This wood came from Königsberg and the deals were selected especially for Van Reede to realise a spectacular floor in the great hall of Amerongen. The wood trade between Holland and Brandenburg reflected the elector’s efforts to restore his territory after the Thirty Year’s War. People like Michiel Matthijsz. Smids, Benjamin Raule and Cornelis Ryckwaert were not only deeply involved in architectonical projects, but also in the organisation of the wood trade. In 1662, Michiel Smids rented two sawmills in Fürstenwalde and built new mills in Berlin.4 In 1668, he renewed an old sawmill on the Berlin Mühlendamm, where in the middle of the River Spree a number of watermills with different functions was situated. Shortly after the Oder-Spree canal opened, he built a bridge 250 meters long, in the vicinity of Köpenick, east of Berlin. Smids was paid in wood, which he used to build ships that were eventually sold in Hamburg.5 During the second half of the 17th century increasing volumes of timber were shipped to the Dutch Republic from central and eastern parts of Germany. The activities of Smids, Ryckwaert and others played an important role in this.6


1 Van der Bijl/ Quarles van Ufford 1991, p. 102.

2 Mulder 1949; Terwen, Ottenheym 1993, p. 29; Meischke/Ottenheym 2011.

3 Viersen 2008, p. 118-119.

4 Herzberg/Rieseberg 1987, p. 136.

5 Galland 1893, p. 192.

6 Galland 1911, p. 231-232; Van Tussenbroek 2009; Van Tussenbroek 2012, 37-38.

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