The Sestieri of Alkmaar
The city is traditionally divided in six Sestieri that go back to the Old Imperial times. Alkmaarite natives are often extremely proud of their Sestiere, that acts as a local separate unit with respect of a lot of city’s services and institutions, most importantly the Sestiere Unions (see below).
Map of the Sestieri
The Sestieri are:
- Haven (the Port)
- Palts (Palace): the Doge Palace, the main Temple and a couple of the major Mercantile Houses are in this Sestiere. It is the seat of power, but it also has a thriving lower class of artisans and merchants.
- Terras (Terrace): this Sestiere raises above the rest of the city (about the eight of one or two floors). The Scola Magi is in this Sestiere.
- Tuin (Garden): in this Sestiere are the biggest and most beautiful villas, mostly of the ancient noble families, each with a large garden (hence the name).
- S. Annika
- S. Theresa
Each Sestiere has an institution (called a Union) that works for the local people. Their main role is organizing the mercantile captains, ship owners and ship builders. If a navy captain wants to thrive, the best option is to affiliate with a Sestiere Union: the Union brokers deals with merchants (local and not), organizes transports and loans ships to carry out those contracts. Basically, all the capitains that are not wealthy enough to own a merchant ship on their own receive the bulk of their jobs from a Union.
Not all the Sestieri have the same level of mercantile vocation, obviously, but all deal with the port somehow. For exmple, the Tuin Sestiere has wide gardens and rich villas: the rich families rarely hire captains directly… but they sure deal in shares in expeditions.
Once a year, at the spring equinox, all the Sestieri participate in a rowboat race in Alkmaar’s harbor: this is the most important day for a lot of the Alkmaarite, especially among the lower classes.