Exploring the Renaissance-era Low Countries
Beginning in the middle of the 1500s, the seventeen difference provinces of the Low Countries would experience tremendous political and cultural upheaval—change that would birth the Dutch Republic and lead to its Golden Age.
I’m Will Phillips, a history enthusiast from the United States who’s found this time and place utterly compelling. I’m here to share these remarkable stories and provide resources for your own historical research.
History of the Renaissance Netherlands
The Europe of the mid sixteenth century, at the dawn of the Dutch Revolt, was one of contrasts: a transitory peace between major powers with roiling social and religious turmoil about to boil over into war and carnage that would continue into the following century. By this point in European history, you’ll note many familiar names, but an equal number of borders and states that exist in vastly different ways in the 21st Century.
Holy Roman Emperor Charles V united the Low Countries under his personal rule and eventually abdicated in favor of his son Philip in 1555. From that point on, a revolving cast of Habsburg family members and close retainers would govern the Low Countries as the region descended into revolt and open war.
The Ruckers family of Antwerp were active from the mid-1500s through the 1600s and are considered the “Stradivarius” of harpsichord and virginal makers. Their output was as much works of art as it was exquisite musical instruments.
Scholarly Resources and Blog Updates
- Early Modern Dutch Language ResourcesUnderstanding a language from four hundred-plus years ago is a challenge: spellings are not standardized, word meaning change, handwriting is alien, and idioms are lost. This is made more complex when English speakers must learn and translate early modern Dutch. Here are some resources I use.
Latest from the Blog
- Early Modern History Talks and Seminars, Spring 2021While COVID-19 keeps us socially distanced into Spring 2021, take advantage of these fascinating early modern history talks scheduled by a number of great academic organizations.
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