The Dutch GOlden Age

The “Low Country”
17c: The “Dutch” Century
It was a political Republic:
no monarchy.
A radical attitude towards religion in
the country.
A certain level of religious toleration.
Stable, thriving economy.
“Golden Age” of artists and thinkers.
 Religion and everyday life were
recurring themes in their art.
The Netherlands (1609)
Political Independence
Each of the 7 Dutch provinces
was politically independent.
The Dutch were not governed
by an absolute ruler.
Political power passed into the
hands of wealth merchants.
Political Independence
Each province elected a
stadtholder (governor) and military
During times of crisis, all seven
provinces would elect the same
stadtholder, usually from the
House of Orange.
The Dutch Federation
- provincial level
- held virtually all the power
- strong advocates of local independence
- States General representative from each province
- responsible for defense and order
- federal assembly
- foreign affairs (war)
- all issues had to be referred to the local Estates
Dutch Royal Palace, Amsterdam
Religious Toleration
Calvinism was the dominant
Lutherans, Anabaptists,
Catholics, and Jews all
enjoyed religious freedom.
Religious toleration helped
create a cosmopolitan society
tat promoted commerce.
Dutch Society
Cities of Amsterdam & Rotterdam:
granaries with enough surplus for
one year.
Generally higher salaries than in
any other parts of W. Europe.
 Even women had higher wages.
“Protestant work ethic.”
 Thrift and frugality.
Had the highest standard of living
in Europe!
The Dutch Economy
Dried fish and grains were important.
Exported diamonds, linens, pottery,
spices, and flowers (tulips).
Not much inflation.
Great Dutch land reclamation project
was accelerated during this time.
Masters of the “carrying trade”
(lowest shipping rates in Europe).
The Dutch Economy
Dutch Republic was Europe’s
leading commercial power during
most of the 17th century.
Amsterdam remained Europe’s
financial center until the French
Revolution- 1789.
The Dutch fleet of 10,000 ships was
the largest in the world. Played a
key role in the Dutch economy.
The Dutch Economy
As trade shifted from the
Mediterranean to the Atlantic,
Dutch replaced Italians as the
bankers of Europe.
Dutch East India Company
displaced the Portuguese and
gained control of the spice trade in
the East Indies.
17c Dutch Global Commerce
Dutch East India Company, 1602
Dutch West India
Company, 1621
Fort Orange (Albany, NY)
in New Netherlands
New Amsterdam (NYC)
Settled in 1624.
Official Flag of the
of the City of NY.
NYC Seal
Dutch East India Ship, mid-17c
Return of the Dutch East India
Fleet, 1599
English Delftware
18c Delftware Tobacco Jars
Economic Decline
Costly with England and France
damaged the Dutch Republic
England and France became the
dominant European powers
William of Orange, strong Dutch
Stadtholder, becomes King in
England as a result of the Glorious
Anglo-Dutch Wars
 First Anglo-Dutch War: 1660-1665
 Second Anglo-Dutch War: 1665-1667
 Third Anglo-Dutch War: 1674-1678
King William III
Queen Mary II
ascend the throne of England in 1689 after the
Glorious Revolution.
Dutch Art
Artists focused on painting
individual and group portraits,
landscapes, and scenes of every
day life.
Rembrandt and Vermeer were the
greatest artists of this time period.
The Night Watch – Rembrandt, 1642
Anatomy Lecture of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp – Rembrandt, 1632
(detail) Anatomy Lecture of
Dr. Nicolaes Tulp – Rembrandt, 1632
Portrait of an Old Jewish Man Rembrandt, 1654
Sampling Officials of the Drapers Guild –
Rembrandt - 1662
The Leiden Baker & His Wife
Jan Steen
The Lace Maker
Nicolaes Maes
A Young Woman with a Water Jug - Jan Vermeer,
Girl with a Pearl Earring
Jan Vermeer, 1665
The Lace Maker
Jan Vermeer, 1669-1670
A Woman Holding a Balance
Jan Vermeer, 1662
The Astronomer
Jan Vermeer, 1668
The Geographer
Jan Vermeer, 1668-1669
Girl Reading a Letter with the Window Open - Jan
Vermeer, 1657
The Music Lesson
Jan Vermeer, 1662-1665

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