Marriage in New Netherland was governed by the laws in place in the Dutch Republic. A promise to marry had the force of a legal contract, and, if broken, the faithless one could be prosecuted and forced to honor the promise.
The painting above is : The Marriage Contract by Joos van Crasebeeck. TD
Click here for a video of Dr. Firth Haring Fabend discussing Dutch inheritance law as it related to women:
For interesting reading on the lives of women in New Netherlands and their marriages consider:
Land So Fair by Dr. Firth Haring Fabend
More related reading is available at: