How was the Netherlands founded? Learn all about it during the exhibition ’80 Years’ War. The birth of the Netherlands’ in the Rijksmuseum. Watch this mini-docu to get a preview.
450 years ago
The 80 Years’ War is a crucial event in history. This war led to the founding of the Netherlands. It has been 450 years since this war began, but it is the first time that this entire period is covered in an exhibition.
The Catholics and the Protestants
In this mini-docu, curator Gijs van der Ham takes you along a number of top pieces from the collection and tells you more about the origin of this war. In the first room you will learn about Philip II, who became the sovereign of the Netherlands in 1555. He defended the interests of Catholics. The nobility was afraid of losing their power and the Protestants demanded more room for practicing their faith. So, they started a revolt against the authority of the king and church. In 1566 the Great Iconoclasm broke loose. This changed the revolt into a civil war between the Catholics and the Protestants.
The Great Iconoclasm
For the Protestants, faith was not about statues but about God. They went into churches and destroyed statues, paintings and other objects. A number of these destroyed pieces can be seen as eyewitnesses in the exhibition. You might wonder how its’s possible that these objects have been preserved so well. When the Protestants destroyed these statues, they placed them under the floor of the church. The revolt between the Catholics and Protestants got out of hand and changed into a war between the Netherlands and Spain. The Netherlands fell apart into two different parts, in (now knows as) Belgium and the Netherlands, and they grew even more apart. During the exhibition you will learn more about the differences between the northern and the southern part, and what significance this period has had for the time in which we now live.
In the exhibition, you will also see maps that show encirclements of cities. For example, in 1625 there was a battle for the city of Breda, and in 1629 a battle for Den Bosch. Want to get an idea of how that happened? The maps will help you visualize it.
The war lasted for a long time, it cost a lot of money and a lot of lives were taken. The people were tired of it all. In 1648 there were peace negotiations in Munster. This agreement marked the end of the war and declared the independence of the republic. These documents that recorded the birth of the Netherlands can be seen in the Rijksmuseum.
During a visit to the Rijksmuseum, you will learn all about the war. Visit the exhibition or have a look at the mini-docu!
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