In the 17th century the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands was one of the most powerful and richest countries in the world. We call this era ‘The Golden Age’, because the Netherlands fared very well. They were prosperous times and this mainly due to shipping.
What is there to see?
You will meet characters, including seafarers and scientists from this very special era and listen to their personal stories.
For whom is this exhibition?
This exhibition is suited for families with children from 10 years old upward and was made with the support of the Giekse-Strijbis Fund.
How long will the exhibition be on view?
The exhibition on the Golden Age can be viewed all year round.
Where in the museum is the exhibition?
You will find the exhibition in the Western wing of the National Maritime Museum.
When exactly was the Golden Age?
The Dutch Golden Age started with the foundation of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) in 1602. You could say that the Golden Age was a consequence of the foundation of the VOC. It is called the Golden Age because the Netherlands fared very well in the seventeenth century. Indeed, in the seventeenth century the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands was one of the richest countries in the world!
What was the significance of the Golden Age for the Netherlands?
No other country in the world had so many ships as the Netherlands. Thanks to shipping, trade flourished. Thanks to the foundation of the VOC goods came in from all corners of the world. Not only trade flourished in the Golden Age: Dutch artists and scientists from the era are still world famous, including: Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, Christiaan Huygens, Spinoza and Ferdinand Bol.
The dark side of the Golden Age
But the Golden Age has its dark sides too. Dutch merchants who became rich from trade with far-off countries often did not pull punches in their dealings. Sometimes they massacred entire villages to get their way. And besides great wealth there also was great poverty. The ‘ordinary’ people worked 6 or 7 days a week for meagre wages. Even children form the age of 6 had to work to make ends meet for the family.
An interactive exhibition
Learn about the Golden Age in a special and personal way. Meet the girl Amimba, who had to work as a slave at a young age. And fisherman son Jan Janszoon Weltevree, who didn’t want to become a sailor at all, but eventually became one of the first Dutchmen to set foot ashore in distant Korea.