Underworlds is a lively account of organized crime and the world of marginal groups in the seventeenth-- and eighteenth--century Netherlands. Rural banditry has often been associated with mountainous, poverty--stricken areas located at the peripheries of the European continent or on the borders between states. This book is about bands operating in the countryside of one of the most densely populated, economically developed, and pacified European states. It examines the nature of these criminal bands and the way they changed over time. At the same time Underworlds presents an historical anthropology of marginal groups in the Dutch Republic. Investigating the enormous cultural diversity of organized crime and the prominent role of ethnic minorities, Egmond establishes the existence of a variety of 'underworldsa rather than of a single 'criminal organizationa . Drawing extensively on criminal archives, the author reconstructs the ways of life and activities of people whose existence has remained largely hidden behind the conventional accounts of Dutch society.