Cornelis Hooft

Cornelis Pietersz. Hooft (1547 – 1627 in Amsterdam) was a Dutch statesman. He was the grandson of Pieter Willemsz. Hooft, a Zaanse grain merchant and shipmaster, and the father of the poet and dramatist Pieter Corneliszoon Hooft. Hooft himself held numerous positions in the administration of Amsterdam. He was amongst others, schepen, twelve times mayor, and treasurer in a period of fast growth, so that the city had to be expanded three times.

Cornelis' father established himself in Amsterdam. In 1569 he went into exile, but in 1574 came back from Königsberg and established himself in Hoorn. Then, in 1578, after the Alteratie on 26 May, he risked going back to Amsterdam. He lived on Nieuwendijk on the IJ. Hooft had been interested in theology, but was nevertheless tolerant - his wife Anna Jansdr Blaeu was a Mennonite, and he seems to have been a 'via media' man, declaring for neither the Remonstrants nor the Anti-Remonstrants.

As an independent merchant he had a large share in Baltic trade and reshipped herring, oil and grain. In 1584 he became a member of the vroedschap, in which he remained until its final session. In 1588 he was chosen as mayor. As a member of the government of Amsterdam, he was delegated to the States of Holland and through them to the States General. Hooft was opposed to the appointment of foreigners to important posts, pointing to the Flemish Calvinists and preachers such as Petrus Plancius. He also resisted the expansion of the stadholder's power.

Hooft was critical on other points. In 1611 his role in the vroedschap came to an end, when he was appointed as weesmeester and commissaris (commissioner) of the Wisselbank.

Hooft was never concerned by the VOC or WIC, as the most Amsterdam mayors. Vondel praised him in his satirical work 'Roskam' as a reliable man and described him as "Hoofd vol kreuken, een geweten zonder rimpel" (a wrinkled brow, but a conscience without wrinkle). In 1618, stadholder Maurits of Orange, in his purge of Remonstrant regents from the vroedschap as a result of the Synod of Dort and the arrest of Johan van Oldenbarnevelt, spared Hooft, who took a neutral stance. He is buried in the Oude Kerk.


  • S.A.C. Dudok van Heel, De Familie van Pieter Cornelisz Hooft in Jaarboek Centraal Bureau voor Genealogie, deel 35, 1981.
  • K. ter Laan, Letterkundig woordenboek voor Noord en Zuid()
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