The Netherlands in the seventeenth century—its “Golden Age”—was a remarkable place. When the region declared independence from Spain, in the late sixteenth century, it became an unusual political entity, one led not by a hereditary aristocrat but by the heads of the seven provinces of the new Dutch Republic, united, during the seventeenth century, under a series of stadholders—the Princes of Orange, descendants of William the Silent, who threw off the Spanish yoke. (Dutch seventeenth-century history is, in fact, a lot more complicated than this, but that’s the general idea.) The stadholder selected municipal officials and was head of the Republic’s army and navy. Only a few old feudal landed nobles remained—there hadn’t been many in the first place—and there was no autocratic monarch, but the Republic was...


A Message from the Editors

Since 1982, The New Criterion has nurtured and safeguarded our delicate cultural inheritance. Join our family of supporters and secure the future of civilization.

Popular Right Now