Dutch: Schuttersgilde; Schutterij, Italian: Bombardieri

Militia-guilds were city militias, associations that aided the city government in the maintenance of order, or assisted in city emergencies such as fire. These militia-guilds originated in Flanders, then spread to Northern France, the German territories and the Dutch Republic, and finally in the sixteenth century to the British Isles (Prak, 2006, 4). One of their core features was their shooting competitions. Along with religious brotherhoods and neighbourhood guilds, these militia-guilds were the most important urban organizations that united city citizens on the basis of something other then occupation. Like craft guilds, militia-guilds needed official recognition from the local authorities to form an association, as their organization structure and privileges were based on this recognition. Whether or not the membership was voluntarily or a civic duty is a matter of debate (Knevel, 1994).  

More information about militia-guilds per country can be found by clicking the links underneath:

Militia-guilds in the Netherlands / Belgium

Literally, the name schuttersgilde translates as ‘shooting association’. Members of these associations were well to do city citizens (poorters) with more or less the same social background, but from different occupational groups. Members were expected to buy their own weaponry, thus they had to be wealthy enough to do so. City administrations were often closely concerned with the workings of the schuttersgilden, for obvious reasons, and were involved in assigning new (board) members, providing regulations and even reorganizing the association if necessary (Knevel, 1994).

Militia-guilds in Italy

In Italy, militia-guilds (bombardieri) were present and organized within single cities. Members of the craft guilds were selected every year to be part of these militias. Their role consisted in controlling the social order within the city or assisting in the case of fire.