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the archives of the States-General.IhIt describes in detail the administrative proce- dures and their outcome in the different record series of the chancery. Here Van Riemsdijk applies diplomatics--not the diplomatic science as founded in the eigh- teenth century for the study of single documents from medieval times, but early- modern diplomatics, what the Germans call Aktenkunde,I7which has as object the series, the archives as a complex of document^.'^

Van Riemsdijk concludes his book with a final chapter on the arrangement of ar- chives and the construction of inventories,in which he outlines the methodology that was canonized later in the Manual: "The interconnection of the documents reveals their nature and mutual context much better than any order which an archivist may introduce later." According to Van Riemsdijk, one is forced to take as a principle the preservation of the old order.I9 This is what a later generation called the "structuurbeginsel" (the principle of respect for archival structure): the principle that afonds is a whole, whose historically determined structure should not be disturbed by a system of arrangement that is foreign to thatfonds, but, if necessary, should be restored.20In Dutch archival theory this principle of respect for archival structure is a consequence of the respect des fonds and has precedence over the principle of provenance, which in our thinking refers only to the provenance of the individual doc~ment.In' one of his drafts Van Riemsdijk added another argument in favour of preserving the original context of the documents: breaking up the original intercon- nection destroys the evidential capacity of the archives.22

A friend and patron of Muller and Van Riemsdijk was Victor De Stuers, the power- ful head of the department for Arts and Sciences within the Ministry of the Interior. As part of his total reorganization of the archival system, the repositories in the provincial capitals were gradually taken over by the nation from the hands of the provincial governments. Guelderland and Utrecht were the first two provinces where a StateArchivist was appointed to succeed a provincial archivesofficer:Van Riemsdijk himself in 1877 and Muller in Utrecht in 1879. De Stuers prescribed in the instruc- tion for the State Archivists the preparation of scientific inventories, according to a plan to be approved by the M i n i ~ t e rO. f all the StateArchivists only Muller and Van Riemsdijk had any idea what such scientific inventories should be, and even then Muller had to write to Van Riemsdijk asking him for a model. When the plans one after another were submitted for ministerial approval,De Stuers asked Van Riemsdijk and Muller for advice. As early as 1880Van Riemsdijk opposed the then prevailing opinion that "there are no firm principles for the arrangement and description of archives and that for each fonds such principles have to be originated and estab- lished." Instead, Van Riemsdijk was convinced that there is no fundamental differ- ence between archives and "that archives principally correspond in nature. From their common properties the principles have to be inferred, which principles natu- rally are uniform and equally applicable to all archives."24He reasoned that "there is not so much difference in the principles as there is in their appli~ation.~~

In 1887 Van Riemsdijk became General State Archivist. Three years later he con- vened the first conference of all State Archivists (in June 1995 we had our 200th conference). Van Riemsdijk aimed at reaching agreement concerning the arrange- ment of the archival holdings in the repositories on the basis of the principle of respect for archival structure. He wanted to share with others his struggle to develop

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