From the twelfth and certainly from the thirteenth century onwards, a social group of artisans with their own political and economic aspirations can be clearly delineated in Netherlandish towns. Bound through common skilled work, they made up a distinctive group with a self-image and a developing political vision and economic programme. Their “guild ideology” is increasingly clearly expressed in the sources they produced from the fourteenth century onwards as a self-confident group in urban society. Labour, certainly when organized within guild structures, was the cornerstone of community life, cultural experiences, and practical ethics. Even though there were socioeconomic differences among guildsmen and many geographical and chronological variations in the degree of political power they wielded, the ideal of artisan ideology in the late medieval Low Countries was one of a community of brotherly love and charity centred on the value of skilled labour.