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Despite the wide application of the metaphor of ‘the tragedy of the commons’, there is little historical literature that points to the weaknesses of its historical basis. There is, however, sufficient qualitative and quantitative evidence to prove that commons were well regulated and organized in order to achieve a sustainable management, that also took into account the needs and wishes of its commoners. This case study of a common in Flanders looks at the evidence for this in the eighteenth century, examining bookkeeping and other archival sources. A model that incorporates the different functions of the commons (sustainability, efficiency, and utility) is explained and applied.