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History of the Netherlands

Republic of Amsterdam Radio

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The incredible journey of the world’s most influential swamp and those who call it home. Beginning at the end of the last ice age and trekking all the way through to the modern era, together we step through the centuries and meet some of the cast of characters who fashioned and forged a boggy marshland into a vibrant mercantile society and then further into a sea-trotting global super-power before becoming the centre for modern day liberalism.
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Stuff What You Tell Me! is a podcast telling stories of rebellion and resistance in history, art and culture. Created by two contrary Australians living in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, we explore the wider role of rebellion in history, by delving into the experiences of people whose lives and actions were defined by defiance. Release schedule: In keeping with our theme, we resent the imposition of scheduling agendas, so we release episodes whenever we feel like it. We aim for at least one a m ...
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In the 1440s a goldsmith from Mainz called Johannes Gutenberg developed a movable type printing press which catalysed the European printing revolution. It heralded a technological leap in communication tools which had far reaching consequences for the societies of the Low Countries, particularly in urban centres where print shops were established. …
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We meet Simon Gronowski, a 92 year old jazz pianist, lawyer and Holocaust survivor. At the age of eleven, Simon was locked in a cattle wagon with his mother and around 50 other people after a month’s imprisonment at the Dossin Barracks in Mechelen for the crime of being Jewish. The train they had been herded onto was bound for the extermination cam…
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We chat with author and academic Christine Kooi, whose book Reformation in the Low Countries 1500-1620 was released last year by Cambridge University Press. As its title suggests the book encompasses a vast and tumultuous period which served to greatly shape the modern nations of Belgium and the Netherlands. It is a sweeping and extremely useful na…
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We dig up the bulbs of the past, trim the stems of historical myth and hopefully emerge with a lustrous vase of understanding as to where the tulip came from, how it became infectiously vogue in the Dutch Republic and what place it holds in modern calculations of economics. Do you want to know more about Flemish and Dutch history and culture? Visit…
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Long time listeners will be aware that, alongside being passionate about the history of our boggy swamp, we also carry a deep love for the game of cricket. The venn-diagram intersection between those two things can often leave a lot to be desired. However, somehow Julian Smith, our intrepid co-creator, producer and frequent voice of excitement in t…
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At the end of episode 49, we said that we were going to move away from the political part of the story of the History of the Netherlands for a while to instead focus on some of the other important societal developments that were happening concurrently at the end of the 15th and beginning of the 16th centuries. To be honest, perhaps it is because we…
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Just as much as Dutch and Flemish culture today have been defined by their ability to seek consensus through compromise, so too have they defined by a willingness to angrily, and often violently, take to the streets in order to be heard. In this episode of The Low Countries Radio we will take a look at some of the major and minor protest movements …
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What do black chickens have to do with witchcraft? Why were pigs not allowed to walk the streets freely in the Middle Ages? And should we welcome the return of the wolf or not? You'll hear the answers in this podcast on the history of animals in the Low Countries. We have long imposed our personal whims on other animals. We use them for labour or s…
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When the Netherlands and Belgium did not exist, people spoke of the Low Countries when referring to the area around the river deltas. Water has always played an essential role in the history of that region. For centuries, living on these waterlogged lands provided the Dutch and the Flemings with opportunities for trade, urbanisation, agriculture an…
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The double marriage between the Habsburg and Spanish dynasties organised in the creation of the Holy League in 1495 was part of a larger plan driven by the Spanish monarchs to create a general European-wide alliance against the French. To further these aims, Ferdinand and Isabella also arranged for their other children to marry into the Portuguese …
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When French king Charles VIII laid claims to the Kingdom of Naples and invaded Italy in September, 1494, an anti-French coalition called the League of Venice was formed, with the aim of kicking France out of the Italian peninsula. “Hang on a second, what does this have to do with the Netherlands?”, I hear you ask. Bear with me here. The League of V…
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When Philip the Handsome came of age and took over direct rule of the previously Burgundian, now Habsburg, territories of the Low Countries in September, 1494, his accession marked the first time since the death of Charles the Bold in 1477 that a native and natural born male prince had filled that position. The last twenty odd years of crises had b…
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Throughout the history of the Low Countries, people from this part of the world have been pioneers in almost every sense of the word. Whether by seeking out and charting far away lands during the European Age of Exploration, or in advancements made in science, technology and engineering, or through their approach to social issues such as drugs or e…
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In March 1492, the town burghers and knights of Guelders hailed Charles of Egmont as their duke, beginning a four decade period of bitter, contested conflict with the Habsburg Burgundian state. That’s right, just as the revolts in Flanders came to an end with the surrender of Sluis, the football of violent defiance was handballed from Flanders to G…
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We flip through the pages of comic history in the Low Countries; from the use of illustrated prints from as early as the 15th century to the position of comic studios in Belgium and the Netherlands during the Second World War. You’ll hear about some titles that you may never have heard of, as well as many that you smurf. While we peruse the panels …
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We get out the drawing board, put on a hard hat and clamber up a scaffold of creative construction, so that we may cast our view on a few of the most striking, unique or just plain weird buildings that can be found in Belgium and the Netherlands and explore some of the schools of thought that have come to influence architecture in our beloved littl…
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What was that crazy story that we just told? How much of it really happened? What does it all mean for our understanding of rebellion and resistance, and for how we perceive the role of defiance in events that have come before us? We explore all of this in the final episode of our series: The Unfortunate Voyage of the Batavia. Learn more about your…
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The VOC is back! Three and a half months after Commander Pelsaert abandoned everybody to a life a brutality and thirst, finally those who have managed to survived may just be rescued. But who of the mutineers and the defenders will be able to tell their story first? How will the VOC react to the utter madness that has taken place on these islands? …
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In the history of European military aggression in Australia, this is where it all began. Of the people that remain alive following the doomed voyage of the Batavia, not to mention the shipwreck and then the genocide that followed, they now have to face a civil war. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices…
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Upper Merchant Francisco Pelsaert, Captain Arjen Jacobsz and about 40 other people are sailing in a longboat north along the immense coast of Het Zuidland. They're on a rescue mission to the fort at Batavia, 3000kms north of where the ship Batavia has sunk at Houtman's Abrolhos. Unfortunately, they won't be able to rescue as many people as they wou…
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As all hell breaks loose aboard the sinking ship Batavia, saving the lives of crew and passengers aboard may not be the most important priority. In this episode, we look at how authority handles the most unique and unprecedented circumstances, stuck on a craggy island with little hope for rescue and even less hope for a cup of water. Learn more abo…
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It should be fairly smooth sailing from here on for the Batavia... Were it not for the small matters of a brewing mutiny amidst the crew, divisions and distractions amongst the leaders of the ship and the impending doom that lays ahead, unbeknownst to them all, they may stand a chance... (they don't stand a chance.) Learn more about your ad choices…
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In the true Dutch mercantile spirit of trade and exchange, after having History of the Netherlands featured on History Daily, today we have handed over the wheel to Lindsay Graham to steer the ship for this episode. History Daily runs a tight ship, each episode being around 20 minutes long meaning they’re easy to digest while you are cycling from a…
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Life on board a ship in the 1600s was no joyous experience. In this episode, we look at what the crew, soldiers and passengers aboard the Batavia went through, as they made their way from the United Provinces to their first scheduled stop at the Cape of Good Hope: the southern tip of Africa. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.co…
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In an age when traditional European feudalism was breaking down, the United Provinces of the Netherlands chartered the world's first corporation. The VOC would become a major authority for thousands of people, all around the world. In this episode we explore why and how the company came into existence, and what that meant for those who were (un)luc…
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In October, 1628, a merchant ship called Batavia set sail from the Dutch republic bound for an island on the other side of the world called Java. She was the flagship of a fleet of vessels being sent by the richest corporation to ever exist and, along with extremely precious cargo, carried 341 men and women, including captain, sailors, soldiers, pa…
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The final years of Philip of Cleves’ rebellion in Flanders saw the most famously fractious of Flemish cities, Ghent, flare into open revolt against Habsburg rule once again and rejoin the fight alongside him. Although Philip’s war against the ducal regime would ultimately come to an end in October, 1492, this last period of the conflict is made ext…
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The weariness that comes from decades of instability, war, economic turmoil and hardship really began to exact its toll on the Low Countries in the early 1490s. The last of the Hook uprisings had been quashed in Holland, but there was no stability anywhere, especially as the last flames of the wider Flemish revolt still flickered in Ghent, Bruges a…
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When the treaty of Montils-lez-Tours was signed on October 30, 1489, “peace” was formally arranged between the French, the Habsburg ducal government under Albert of Saxony in the Low Countries and the rebelling cities of Flanders. Despite this, Philip of Cleves and Albert of Saxony seem to have read the treaty in very different ways and could not a…
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We take a look at the growth and development of spirituality and religion in the Low Countries. From pagan tribalism to the rise and dominance of Catholicism, the arrival and growth of Judaism and Islam and their long term impacts in the Low Countries, the whirlwind of the reformation, and the institution of a Calvinist doctrine in the north and a …
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On May 16, 1488, Maximilian of Habsburg secured his release after more than three months of involuntary isolation in Bruges when he agreed to the so-called “Peace of Bruges”. In this treaty, he was essentially forced by the rebellious cities of Flanders to agree to a bunch of terms and conditions which stripped him of sovereignty over that territor…
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In this episode of The Low Countries Radio, we are going to delve into some of the sports that have developed in, or been adopted by and grown in, Belgium and the Netherlands. We will hear about people who listen intently to birds in little boxes while they keep track of their calls on a big long stick, others who jump over canals using a big long …
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By the summer of 1485, Maximilian of Habsburg had quashed the first major revolt against his rule and regained control over Flanders, in the name of his young son Philip. He then set off for Germany to become King of the Romans, leaving the administration of his realms in the hands of an interim government. When he returned to the Low Countries in …
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The Low Countries have long held mystery and intrigue for people around the world. Over thousands of years, innumerable myths and legends have sprung out of this small corner of Europe, while many more have been created by bemused foreigners looking in from outside. There is a unique quality to this busy, little, misty swampland that has long allow…
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After being forced to sign the Treaty of Arras in late 1482, Maximilian of Habsburg found his authority in Flanders challenged by a group of powerful nobles and patrician merchants from the big cities of Ghent, Bruges and Ypres. Using their social, economic and political clout, as well as the physical possession of Maximilian’s children, an alterna…
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The Low Countries have long been a metaphorical petri dish of social and technological advancements in Europe. As such, the list of Dutch and Flemish inventions, innovations and discoveries is long and broad-reaching indeed. In this episode, we intend on doing an exploration of our own into the history of some of the intellectual leaps which sprang…
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After the death of Mary of Burgundy in March 1482, the Low Countries were thrust into a period of turmoil the likes of which they had not seen for around... five whole years. The reigning sovereign was dead and her heir, Philip, was not even four years old. In Flanders, the estates and particularly the city of Ghent, successfully set a course of ob…
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Upon marrying Mary of Burgundy in August 1477, the first thing Maximilian of Habsburg had to do was focus on stopping the French invasion of the Burgundian territories. This was, after all, the main reason why their union had been accepted by the various power bases of the Low Countries, most notably the States General. War requires money, of cours…
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The eruption of violence across the Low Countries in March and April of 1477 led to Mary of Burgundy effectively being in the custody of the city of Ghent. Although the rebellious citizens of Ghent had taken lethal retribution for what they saw as the crimes of the previous administration, they had done nothing to solve the most pressing issue faci…
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The Dutch language and its extended influence can be found on every continent. In this special, we explore where the Dutch language came from and look at how the history of migration into the Low Countries impacted its development. On top of that, we take a look at how the Dutch language has not only shaped other languages, but also, through coloni…
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On 5 February, 1943, thirteen of the twenty-three defendants from the First Parool Trial were given paper and pens and told to write farewell letters to their families. Hours later, they were executed by firing squad. But the ringleader of the group, Frans Goedhart, was able to win a temporary reprieve and over the next few months undertook various…
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After the botched arrest of Arie Addicks in September 1941, the Addicks group was firmly in the sights of the authorities. Over the course of four months, a series of arrests would take place across the Netherlands, from the streets of Amsterdam to a freezing beach in Scheveningen, which would end with twenty-three people being charged with crimes …
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After the invasion of the Netherlands in May 1940, a group of men from a disbanded socialist youth group called the AJC, came together to fight back against the new Nazi regime. The young members of the so-called “Addicks Group” joined forces with journalist and activist Frans Goedhart and became active in creating and distributing the illegal anti…
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Charles the Bold’s death at the beginning of 1477 set off a political tsunami which crashed over the Low Countries, like a rising tide from the North Sea, sweeping away the old structures and drowning those too slow to react. Unlike today, where information is transmitted around the world at nearly the speed of light, in 1477 it took awhile for the…
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The third wave of feminism crashed into western countries during the early 1990s. Three distinct events between 1991 and 1993 have been credited with leading this new movement: the controversial testimony of Anita Hill against her former boss and supreme court nominee Clarence Thomas, an article by Rebecca Walters which covered that whole incident …
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As Charles the Bold spent the final years of his life campaigning, two women became integral parts of Burgundian society and politics - his daughter, Mary of Burgundy, and his wife, Margaret of York. Mary, whose mother Isabella of Bourbon died when she was young, is often portrayed as little more than a pawn in her father’s machinations. Those mach…
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Why do the Dutch hang school bags on flagpoles, place giant blow-up dolls on their front lawn and have clocks without numbers in their pubs? And why do the Flemings celebrate newborns by eating ‘poop beans’? In this podcast, we are delving into some of the unique and peculiar customs, social norms and rituals of Flanders and the Netherlands and see…
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This is a special episode we were invited to make by Tony's Chocolonely, an Amsterdam-based chocolate company which is on a mission to eradicate modern slavery and make 100% slave-free the norm in chocolate. Earlier this year, the Chief Chocolate Officer of Tony's Chocolonely, Henk Jan Beltman, was arrested for spray painting a Black Lives Matter s…
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The final two years of Charles the Bold’s life would see him achieve one of his life’s ambitions, uniting his northern and southern domains as one continuous territory, before suffering a hat-trick of defeats at the hands of the Swiss, which would leave him unrecognisably dead, naked and half-eaten in a frozen pool of water. Having come to peace te…
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After being rebuffed in his royal ambitions at Trier in 1473, Charles the Bold became embroiled in a series of power struggles with neighbouring imperial lands during the final years of his life. In Upper Alsace, which the Duke of Austria, Sigismund, had mortgaged to him, Charles installed a man named Peter von Hagenbach as his bailiff, whose tyran…
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