Go­ing Dutch

BBC History Magazine - - Tv & Radio - Lis­ten out for an in­ter­view with Misha on our His­tory Ex­tra pod­cast soon

The In­ven­tion of the Nether­lands RA­DIO BBC Ra­dio 4 Wed­nes­day 23 May In the 17th cen­tury, the Nether­lands rose to be­come the world’s fore­most eco­nomic and mar­itime su­per­power, con­trol­ling ter­ri­tory in Asia, Africa and the Amer­i­cas. The story of how this trans­for­ma­tion oc­curred forms the ba­sis of the lat­est series in the In­ven­tion strand, pre­sented by Misha Glenny.

It’s a tale that en­com­passes Bri­tain and the way that ideas from the Nether­lands – no­tably around trade and the ad­min­is­tra­tion of em­pire – were im­ported to Eng­land with the in­va­sion of Wil­liam of Orange in 1688.

As the series also out­lines, it was an em­pire that didn’t last long, partly due to the Nether­lands’ pop­u­la­tion be­ing so small. But if the coun­try’s sub­se­quent his­tory has been less about world lead­er­ship, it’s been no less fascinating.

The sec­ond episode, for ex­am­ple, finds Glenny look­ing at how the feud­ing of dif­fer­ent cities scup­pered ef­forts to build a uni­fied king­dom of the Nether­lands af­ter Water­loo; while the fi­nal show looks at the key role the re­gion played in the for­ma­tion of the EU.

The Em­barka­tion of Wil­liam III, Prince of Orange, at Helvoet­sluis – painted by an un­known Dutch artist – was pur­chased for Hamp­ton Court Palace in 1846

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