Header & Background explained

By now you know the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam will open its doors, tomorrow, after a ten-year renovation and refurbishment. So how better to show you a good time with a painting by Van der Helst. Click the photo for a broader view.
Opnamedatum: 2009-11-23
It’s June 18, 1648. It’s party time at the Amsterdam foot archers company. The reason, the Peace of Münster [Westphalia], the end of the Eighty Years’ War between the Dutch United Seventeen Provinces and Spain. The commanders of the militia shake hands as a sign of peace, while the drinking horn is doing the rounds. The armed forces of Amsterdam are pleased that the weapons can now rest, according to the poem on the drum.

The following can be seen: Captain Cornelis Jansz Witsen [with the silver drinking horn], lieutenant Johan Oetgens van Waveren [who shakes his hand], ensign Jacob Banningh [sitting next to the big drum], Dirck Claesz Thoveling en Thomas Hartog [sergeants], Pieter van Hoorn, Willem Pietersz van der Voort, Adriaen Dirck Sparwer, Hendrick Calaber, Govert van der Mij, Johannes Calaber, Benedictus Schaeck, Jan Maes, Jacob van Diemen, Jan van Ommeren, Isaac Ooyens, Gerrit Pietersz van Anstenraadt, Herman Teunisz de Kluyter, Andries van Anstenraadt, Christoffel Poock, Hendrick Dommer Wz, Paulus Hennekijn, Lambregt van den Bos en Willem [the drummer]. Through the open windows, the facade of the brewery “the Lamb”* on Singel is visible. To the right a woman brings a turkey pie inside. On the table pewter plates, wine glasses and other glassware. To the left on the floor a large metal cooler with a wine barrel.

Belloone walgt van Bloedt
ja Mars vervloeckt het daveren
Van’t zwangere metaal,
en ‘t zwaardt bemint de schee:
Dies biedt de dapp’re Wits
aan d’eedele van Waveren
Op ‘t eeuwige verbondt,
den hooren van de Vree.

Painting by Bartholomeus van der Helst, 1648 [owned by the City of Amsterdam] at the Rijksmuseum. Oil on canvas, 232cm by 547cm.

* In 1660 the brewery was pulled down and a new buiding House Nuerenberg [nowadays called Odeon] was erected. On the facade of Singel 460 a plaque commemorates the fact that in 1782 here the first negotiations were held between the Republic of the Dutch Provinces and the young American republic of the United States.

These discussions where John Adams, the second U.S. president took part, led to the first hefty loan from the Netherlands to the United States.


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