This book was originally conceived as the last part of a trilogy with Deutsche Westforschung, 2001 and Jew, Nomad or Pariah, 2004. That idea has been abandoned since the present book became a very different one, but some links to the other two can still be found (mainly in Part I).
The book is dedicated to my beloved family with whom I lived a large part of my life in the city described in this book. I want to thank in particular four eminent scholars who critically read the whole manuscript and/or provided strategically important support: Frank Bovenkerk (Amsterdam), Arnold Labrie (Maastricht), Earl Jeffrey Richards (Wuppertal) and Roy Rosenstein (Paris). It was, however, due to Dr. Diethard Sawicki of Ferdinand Schoeningh Verlag (Paderborn, Brill Germany) that this book could be published after a long and complicated gestation period. As usual Alison Fisher (Amsterdam) was very helpful in correcting my English as was Chris Jones for the American.
In some stage of the creation the following people have helped me tremendously with their information, documentation, discussions, comments and criticism on the whole or parts of these texts. Therefore, I thank Gerard Aalders (Neth.), Lily van den Bergh (Neth.), Richard Bessel (UK), Nol Bueno de Mesquita † (Neth.), Michael Fahlbush (Ger.), Wolfgang Freund (Fr.), Louis van Gasteren † (Neth.), Cisca Griffioen (Neth.), Ingo Haar (Ger.), Anna Hájková (USA, Czech.), Michel A. Hofman (Neth.), Louis Horowitz † (USA), Marti Huetink (Neth.), Konrad Jarausch (Ger.-USA), Ulli Jesserun d’Oliviera (Neth.), Carsten Klingemann (Ger.), Ian Kershaw (UK), Frank van Kolfschoten (Neth.), Gabriel Kolko † (Neth., USA), Dirk Martin (Belg.), Joke Meerman (Neth.), Bea Meyer (Ger.), Hajo Meyer † (Neth.), Matthias Middell (Ger.), Laurent Olivier (Fr.), Anne Radeff (Fr.), Machteld Roede (Neth.), Dirk Rupnow (Ger.), Gretchen Schafft (USA), Maria Teschler-Nicola (Aust.), Hans-Walter Schmuhl (Ger.), Jules Schelvis † (Neth.), Ivo Schöffer-† (Neth.), Bernhard Slicher van Bath † (Neth.), Sacha Talmor † (Isr.), Bonno Thoden van Velsen (Neth.), Tjebbe van Tijen (Neth.), Bruno de Wever (Belg.), Hans-Ulrich Wehler † (Ger.), Wim Wertheim † (Neth.).
Of course, I am only responsible for the content of the following texts, and reference to the above names does not imply acceptance of (all or part of) their and my views.