The incredible journey of the world’s most influential swamp and those who call it home. Beginning at the end of the last ice age and trekking all the way through to the modern era, together we step through the centuries and meet some of the cast of characters who fashioned and forged a boggy marshland into a vibrant mercantile society and then further into a sea-trotting global super-power before becoming the centre for modern day liberalism.
BONUS: A Notable Little Podcast of Cookery in t...
When it comes to food, Flanders and the Netherlands are not two peas in a pod. What is the influence of religion on our cuisine? Why do Belgians love eating out at restaurants? Which recipes can be found in the oldest Dutch cookbook? Why did the Dutch ever eat tulip bulbs and now have a dish called a hairdresser's salon? In this episode, we find out what Flemish and Dutch people have been eating since prehistoric times. Smakelijk!
BONUS: Rembrandt and the Revolting Batavians
To tide you over in our absence during the summer break, we decided to reboot an episode of our previous podcast entitled 'Rembrandt and the Revolting Batavians'. We'll be back with regular programming as soon as possible.
30 - A Rebuke of the New Duke
Upon becoming the Duke of Burgundy, along with all the titles that came with it, Charles the Bold inherited the complex series of social revolts that were either simmering or boiling over in places like Liege and Flanders. After burying his father, which he did with all the symbolic and royal pomp and ceremony that he could muster, Charles headed for Ghent. There, he expected to make a Joyous Entry that would celebrate his magnificence as emphatically as he had seen them do for his father years before. When he was sworn in as the new Count of Flanders, his oath was barely out of his mouth before he was literally surrounded by rioting and rebellious workers in the city. For the people of Ghent, and indeed for many of the people who lived in low country domains under Burgundian rule or influence, Charles' ascension meant that the relationship between the ruler and the ruled would begin anew; he could not simply appropriate the one which his father had established. These revolting workers in Ghent took the new duke’s visit as an opportunity to air grievances which they reckoned needed to be taken into consideration for the terms of this new relationship. This, however, was by no means the only issue that Charles had to deal with. Not even a year after the destruction of Dinant, the rebel factions in the bishopric of Liege had once more taken control of many towns in the territory, and Louis de Bourbon was forced into exile. Many of the people of Liege, invested in rebellion, were going to push a few of Charles’ buttons, and see if they couldn’t take the opportunity of a change in ruler to unhook themselves from the talons of Burgundian domination.
29 - Dinant, Was...
Charles, the Count of Charolais, began to take a more dominant role in the Burgundian court after the forced reconciliation with his father, Philip the Good, in January 1464. By midway through the next year Charles had ejected the pro-French members of the Duke’s inner sanctum and was finally able to convince his father that it was time to check Louis XI’s expansion into the Burgundian realm. He was given command of his father’s military, joined up with a bunch of French nobility and went to war in France in the so-called League of the Public Weal. Charles and Louis would meet in an indecisive battle at Montlhery in July, 1465, and although both men would claim victory, the battle greatly enhanced Charles’ reputation and earned him the moniker history would remember him by: Charles le Téméraire, Charles the Bold. Conflicting reports about the outcome of Montlhery would reach the Low Countries, and after wrongly hearing that Charles had been slain, a rowdy mob in Dinant, Liége, would hang an effigy of the Count and generally cause a ruckus by hurling outrageous insults about Charles’ mother Isabella. Fired up by this assault on his family’s honour, Charles would take his armies back into the Low Countries and eventually unleash such cruel vengeance on the town that people looking at its remains would say “Cy fust Dinant”, “Dynant was…”. Charles the Bold was giving the people of the Low Countries a sneak peak into his style of leadership, and this new era would begin in June, 1467, when Philip the Good would finally die.
BONUS: A Pint-Sized History of Beer and Brewing...
Why did the Dutch drink almost four times as much beer in the fifteenth century as they do today? Why would the Beer Drinking War be a better name for The Eighty Years' War? And why is the longest-standing beer in Belgium not as old as the brewers want us to believe? Pour a glass of your favourite brew and join on a historic journey of beer and brewing in the Low Countries. Proost! Do you want to know more about Flemish and Dutch history and culture? Visit www.the-low-countries.com.
28 - The Strained Reins of a Waning Reign
In the final decade of his reign, Philip the Good was obsessed with the idea of a crusade against the Ottoman Turks. The complexities of the diverse state that he had built, however, would never allow him to fulfill this dream, as he would continually be distracted by local issues. Although Philip had been released from his personal vassalage to the French King, France still remained a threat to stability in Burgundy; the two men’s status as ‘frenemies’ was solidified when Charles VII’s son, the dauphin Louis, was given refuge at the Burgundian court. Philip’s heir, Charles, Count of Charolais, had major father issues of his own after their argument which had ended with Philip lost in the forest in Belgium. Despite the birth of his daughter, Mary, Charles became estranged from not only his father, but also the fine-workings of central governance. He retreated to Holland to worry about whether he would ever, indeed, actually receive his inheritance. When the dauphin Louis ascended to the throne in France, a sequence of events was set in motion which threatened to permanently splinter the Burgundian realm. But before this could happen, the Estates of the Burgundian Netherlands took the small step of organising a meeting on their own accord in order to secure Charles’s inheritance and force a reconciliation between the aging and deteriorating duke and his ambitious and aggressive son. And in so doing, the Estates General of the Netherlands had taken one giant leap onto centre stage of lowlander politics.
27 - Picking Bishops and Familial Fissures
When Philip the good went to the Imperial Diet in Regensburg in 1454 it gave his son and heir, Charles, the count of Charolais, a chance to get some practice at ruling in his stead, giving subjects in the Burgundian Low Countries a glimpse into what the future of the dynasty might hold. When Philip returned he was obsessed with the idea of crusade, meaning both Charles and Isabella of Portugal remained involved in major political actions. However, as always, events in the Low Countries soon demanded Philip’s attention again, as he would execute plans to expand the Burgundian influence over the spiritual as well as temporal realms in his domains. He would force one of his many illegitimate children, David, onto the bishopric throne in Utrecht in 1455 and the year after that another Burgundian puppet into the same role in the ever-troublesome bishopric of Liege. As Philip was busy dealing with these various issues, however, a power struggle broke out within his inner circle that would see the Croy family begin making plans to take down Philip’s longtime right hand man, his chancellor Nicolas Rolin. To further complicate matters, in 1455 a bombshell would drop when the heir to the French throne, the dauphin Louis, would flee the issues he had with his own father, the King of France, and sensationally seek and receive exile at the Burgundian court. A generational shift was taking place and, faced with all these new contenders for his father’s honour and affection, Charles would feel threatened and the relationship between the Burgundian father and son would sour. By the time he was just 23 years old, the two men would no longer be on speaking terms and Charles would be removed from the political process altogether. The Burgundian dynasty, as strong as it looked from the outside, was looking very frail from within.
26 - Beautiful Burgundian Bureaucracy and the S...
Philip the Good may have dreamed of wearing a single crown, but while that was not the case he was just a man wearing many different hats, and if you’ve ever seen someone wearing more than one hat at a time, you’d know how difficult and awkward that can be. Philip brought in administrative and economic changes to try and fuse the many different bureaucracies of his lands into one. This led to early meetings between representatives from all of Philip’s lowland domains which signify the emergence of an early parliamentary body, the Estates General, which will play a major role in the Low Countries in the years to come. However, although Philip was somewhat flexible when it came to handling his various provinces, it cost him a fortune to do so. This was most risky in his wealthiest territory, Flanders and the stability he had sought since the Bruges revolt was shattered when Ghent, his largest city, took its turn to go into open and violent revolt. Once more Philip would have to temporarily abandon his role as loving and fatherly prince, put on his hat of vengeful lord and once more crush thousands of his subjects. He would then make another Joyous Entry, exactly as he had fifteen year prior in Bruges and force the subdued people of Ghent to recognise his headpiece of haughty, honourable homage; the loving, benevolent prince, once more.
25 - Pheasant Fealty (Stuck in the Middle mit V...
After the Treaty of Arras in 1435, Philip the Good’s international policies had to overcome several hurdles if he was to achieve his aim of obtaining as much territory and autonomy as he could. Despite his reconciliation with the king of France, the two cousins would continually be at each other’s throats and on the brink of breaking into warfare again. In 1441 Philip became the regent for Luxembourg and this irked the dignity of certain powerbrokers in the Holy Roman Empire who had their own eyes on the domain. Because Philip was a French prince who ruled imperial territories, he had to rely on his usual tactics of over the top extravagance and relationship building to navigate through the political awkwardness that this caused. He successfully made moves designed to maintain his autonomy as a prince of Christendom and from the 1440s harboured the idea of elevation to a kingship. This would come close to materialising several times, however, as has been the way since Charlemagne’s empire was split up between three brothers all those centuries ago, Philip found that being stuck between France and the German Empire left little room for absolute low country autonomy.
BONUS: Jan van Eyck: The Man and the Myth
Jan van Eyck, one of the Low Countries' most famous artists, lived through an extraordinary period in history, between the 1390s and the 1440s. Although much about the early Netherlandish painter’s life is completely unknown, the details which do remain provide tantalising glimpses into an artistic and technical talent, who was both socially and politically capable enough to be able to ingratiate himself within the highest ranks of power in his time. Van Eyck’s cultural influence has continued in the five and a half centuries since his death. In Flanders, the year 2020 is being celebrated as the Year of Van Eyck. So to pay homage, in this episode we will explore the life and works of Jan van Eyck and the mystery surrounding the theft of part of his most famous work, the Ghent altarpiece.
24 - The Lavish and the Revolting
The court of Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, became widely known as the most extravagant and luxurious in Europe during the almost 50 years of his reign between 1419 and 1467. Using pomp, ceremony and patronage of the arts, an image was created of Philip as a wise, just and fair ruler; the “grand duke of the west”. During the celebrations of Philip the Good’s marriage to Isabella of Portugal in Bruges, in 1430, he created the Order of the Golden Fleece; a military group that celebrated the chivalric tradition and served to add prestige and honour to the immense power that Philip had acquired in his schemes of territorial expansion. The creation of such an order was part of a greater image of courtly splendour, festivity and spiritual devotion that Philip established in order to validate his rule and create stronger bonds of identity with his subjects. Even when those subjects went into rebellion against him, which Bruges did in 1436, his subjugation of them would include using these elements to reinforce their relationship.
23 - Overachieving Overijsselers and Holland ve...
At the beginning of the 15th century, towns in the Oversticht, the region which mostly makes up today’s modern province of Overijssel but at the time was controlled by the prince-bishop of Utrecht, reached their medieval zenith largely because of their involvement and affiliation with the Hanseatic League. Strategically positioned along the IJssel river, which connected the Zuiderzee to the Rhine, towns such as Deventer, Kampen and Zwolle were able to take part in the sprawling trade network of northern German cities which dominated trade over the North and Baltic seas. But although the trading connections brought increased power and wealth to the region, it was also here that a new spiritual movement known as Modern Devotion was founded by a man called Geert Groote, who rejected the materialism and excesses of the Church and its clergy and called for sober, inward, religious reflection. His followers, known as the Brothers and Sisters of the Common Life, would spread throughout the low countries and parts of Germany creating schools, copying and producing books, and increasing literacy levels throughout society. But the privileged position that the Overijssel towns enjoyed was to be broken when the rising towns of Holland, particularly Amsterdam, went to war with the Hanseatic League and through piratical actions broke its near monopoly on the trade of fish, lumber and grain from the Baltics. From this, Holland would emerge as an even greater regional power.
22 - Escaping Social Isolation with a Miraculou...
As much as we may like to imagine that those at the top of the social and political ladders - the kings, queens, counts, and dukes, politicians, merchants and bankers - are the people who drive history onwards, it is everyday people that truly live and experience most of what happens in history, whether or not their names go in the record books. In this episode we imagine the extraordinary life of a farm-boy from Kennemerland who, as the youngest, must venture out to find work and a life beyond his parent’s farmstead. He has benefited from the educational system set up by the Brethren of the Common Life, a lay-religious community, and is able to read, giving him an advantage in everyday life. Being the 1400s he is faithful to the church and, from a young age, determined to make a pilgrimage to the holy town of Amstelredam.
21 - Jacqueline of Bavaria
On his death-bed in 1417, William VI, Count of Hainault, Holland and Zeeland, named his daughter Jacqueline of Bavaria as his heir. Given the financial, political and military might of these three territories, this elevated Jacqueline to an extremely powerful position within the low countries, and despite being only 15 years old, she seems to have been up to the task. Jacqueline was not afraid to take bold and risky moves to protect her own interests, often in defiance of those who would use her as their own political pawn. Unfortunately for her, however, being born a woman in a male dominated society meant that Jacqueline’s inheritance was instantly challenged by her uncle, John the Pitiless, bishop-elect of Liege. Her marriage to the new Duke of Brabant, John IV, proved to be a disaster and did nothing to help her defend her domains from her avaricious uncle. Despite a spectacular attempt to return to the low countries at the head of an English army, when all was said and done, Jacqueline would be brought undone not by her uncle, but by her cousin, the new Duke of Burgundy; he who despite his arguably obvious non-goodness, would become known as Philip the Good.
20 - Bonds Broken by Battle, Bite and Bridge
At the end of the first decade of the 1400s, everything seemed to be going peachy for John the Fearless, the Duke of Burgundy. He had resisted a large rebellion and maintained his centralising influence over most of the low-countries as well as nurtured and made official the alliance his father had created with the other major powerbase in the low countries, the Count of Holland. By the end of the second decade of the 1400s, however, fate, in the forms of an English army with long-bows, a mad dog, and a treacherous bridge, would intervene and John would be dead. With their departure from the scene, the fate of the low countries would once again be thrown into the realms of uncertainty.
19 - Take it on the Othée Side
On September 23, 1408, a combined allied army of the duke of Burgundy, the count of Holland, and the bishop-elect of Liège marched against the people of Liege, who had erupted into an all out revolt against their ruler. At the Battle of Othée, the Liégeois were utterly crushed and in the aftermath the citizens of Liège were made to pay dearly by the victorious nobles, with the town stripped of its privileges and draconian punishments placed upon it. The retribution was so harsh that the bishop-elect of Liège earned the name “John the Pitiless”. But the real triumph belonged to another John, “the Fearless”, Duke of Burgundy, and Count of Flanders and Artois, who with this battle capped off a series of power plays which began with the very public assassination of his biggest political rival in France, Louis of Orleans. John the Fearless asserted himself as the dominant power broker in the low countries, showing the ever restless towns what might happen to them should they rebel against his authority.
18 - To Boldly Go For Brabant
Philip the Bold and his wife Margaret ruled Flanders for twenty years from 1384-1404 and during that time would expand their family’s rule into Limburg, as well as set their successors up to rule Brabant, Holland, zeeland, Hainault and other low country territories as well. The manner in which Philip, trod this treacherous path, in particular his giving of lavish gifts and making steady and long term alliances, would set the tone for a dynasty that was going to contribute so much to the emergence of a lowland culture and identity.
Interview: Hiding in the Wolf's Lair
For the last 12 months we have been working on an artwork for Amsterdam Light Festival #8. The theme this year is 'Disrupt', so our piece is based on what we believe to be the most disruptive event in Amsterdam's history, the Second World War. During the occupation, around 250-300 people hid in Amsterdam Artis Zoo to escape from Nazi persecution. Among them were Jews, resistance fighters, young men who didn't want to get sent to forced labour camps in Germany, and even entire families. Since audio is a terrible medium to explain a light art installation, in this episode we dive into the story of Amsterdam's zoo during the Second World War and the people who managed to survive by hiding there. To guide us through this story, we interviewed the former director of Artis, Maarten Frankenhuis, who wrote Overleven in de Dierentuin (Surviving in the Zoo), the definitive account of Artis zoo during the war.
17 - The Bold and the Looter's Rule
Philip the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, kicked off a dynasty that would forever change the Low Countries. After his marriage to Margaret of Flanders in 1369, Philip would prove himself to be a formidable opponent to anyone playing the game of politics and power in western Europe. He generally did this by using diplomacy instead of the sword. Despite his adventurous and super trendy epithet suggesting otherwise, he was more willing to boldly give lavish gifts of wine and expensive ornaments, in order to charm the pants off anyone he was trying to manipulate, than to raise an army and go marching boldly forth. By showing magnanimity in victory after quelling an uprising in Ghent in the 1380s, by the end of the 14th century Philip the Bold was able to bring a modicum of stability to rebellious Flanders and begin the process of centralising power in the low countries under a single ruler: himself and his successors, the Dukes of Burgundy. Philip would create what would go down in history as the Burgundian Netherlands.
16 - The Fishy Tale of Willem Beukelszoon
In the latter half of the 14th century, a series of technological developments as well as ripe social and economic conditions saw the foundations being laid for the future Dutch takeover of the northern European herring industry. Up until then, the herring trade had been dominated by the Danes, Swedes and the Hanseatic towns of northern Germany and the Baltic Sea, with Dutch and other European consumers happily importing salted herring from those places. Within two hundred years this situation would be completely reversed; the fishing and exporting of salted herring would be one of the cornerstones of the Dutch economy and Dutch cured herring would come to reach dinner tables all across Europe. This remarkable reversal of fortunes was so integral to the emergence of Dutch national identity, that it required its own position within the narrative of the emerging Dutch state. From the 17th century onwards a myth was perpetuated which credited it all to a man called Willem Beukelszoon of Biervliet. He was a humble herring fisherman who, at some point in the 14th century apparently discovered the process of gibbing, which made this whole turn around possible. Although this legend has been debunked by modern historians, its perpetuation demonstrates the importance which the so-called “royal herring” enjoyed in the creation of a Dutch national identity. So in this episode of the History of the Netherlands, we are once again going to depart from the power games of the nobility, and the wranglings of urban elite and worker’s guilds, and focus on something even more slippery, the herring.
15 - Fuelling the Flames of Frisian Freedom
Friesland was an autonomous anomaly in Europe, free from the feudal obligations that had so deeply entrenched themselves in society everywhere else. For years the Frisians just rocked along, doing their own thing, which generally involved something to do with cows. We have largely avoided talking about them for a few episodes, but now is the time in our journey through the History of the Netherlands to look at exactly what the Frisians were doing in the 1300s that was not cow related. Put simply, for the first forty-four years of the fourteenth century forces and factions fought and feuded in Friesland, fueling the flames of fearless Frisian freedom fighters. In 1345, Frisian farmers and fishermen on the eastern side of the Zuiderzee would meet and defeat the Count of Holland in battle at Stavoren, an event that would unite people in East-Friesland and ensure that the autonomy they enjoyed known as “Vriese Vrijheid”, Frisian freedom, would continue for another 150 years.
14 - The Joys of Succession in Brabant
By the mid-1300s the fractured mini-states of the lowlands were being pulled apart by competing political and economic interests, warfare, dynastic struggles and the Black Death. The resulting instability meant that relations between the rulers and the ruled were constantly tested as the various layers of society tried to protect their interests in such perilous times. Whereas in Flanders this had led to bloody conflict between the Count and the cities, in other parts of the lowlands different methods were used to determine what this relationship should be. At a magnificent ceremony in Brabant in 1356, a new Duchess and Duke signed a document that did exactly this, confirming certain rights of their subjects, including the right to disobey the ruler if they failed to uphold their end of the bargain. Although this so-called ‘Joyous Entry’ would be ignored almost from the moment of its signing, it would continue to have symbolic significance throughout the History of the Netherlands.
13 - The Brewer of Ghent
The Flemish victory over the French at the Battle of the Golden Spurs led to a vast change in social structures, but that battle did not finish or solve the issues between Flanders, France and England. By the 1320s Flanders had still been in near constant warfare for decades and was, frankly, in a state of chaos. The Count of Flanders had lost much control, guilds had gained power in towns so as to compete with the urban elite and each other, and people in the countryside were often having to feed everybody while not enjoying the benefits of being a filthy-rich cloth merchant. Chaos, as we know, is a ladder, and a man named Jacob van Artevelde was going to climb it to the top.
12 - Jews, Pestilence and the Apocalyptic 14th ...
At this stage in our journey through the History of the Netherlands we have emerged into the 1300s: a century which for a long time, has been seen as the most awful century to have been alive in western Europe. Warfare and plague led to an almost complete breakdown of order in the social fabric. Estimates vary and depend on the region, but in less than a decade up to half of the European population died of the black death after it first struck in 1348, before returning again later in the century and wiping out another huge chunk. And as bad as all that may be, it would have been even worse if you were a Jew. Because even though you had to live through the same hardships as everyone else, and were exposed to the same pestilence that could destroy your family, there was a very high chance that you were going to be blamed for the black plague and subsequently burned to death as punishment.
11 - The Murder of Floris V
Today we are going to break the pattern of the last few episodes and make the outrageous move of not talking about Belgium. I know, crazy right. We’ve gone on a lot about the social changes which were taking place throughout the southern lowlands over the last few episodes, so now we move back north and focus our attention on how the area which, after various disastrous floods cut it off from Friesland proper during the 13th century, became known as West-Friesland, and which would by the end of that century be conquered and subdued by the warlords of the House of Holland. We’re going to cover anti-kings, people falling through ice, a son’s revenge of his father’s murder, peasant uprisings, backstabbing nobles, kidnappings and mob violence. Never a dull moment in our little swamp!
10 - The Battle of the Golden Spurs (A "Good Da...
In the late 1200s many of the trends and forces that we've been exploring, such as feudalism, urbanisation and industrialisation erupted in a spectacular clash between Flanders and France. Flanders was totally annexed by their larger and more powerful neighbour, but a rebellion stirred that would result in a brutal massacre and an unlikely battlefield victory in a pile of mud, flesh and golden spurs just outside of the town of Kortrijk.
09 - Weaving Our Way Through Flanders (A Wooly ...
Today we are taking you on an epic adventure, being passed from hand to hand and from group to group, throughout medieval Flanders, as wool. You read that correctly. Wool. Yes, it might seem strange at first, imagining being an inanimate object. But wool was the most important commodity in Flanders during the 13th century, and the process through which it was transformed from a raw material to a finished piece of fine cloth will take you through every layer of the new urban society that was developing in the low countries. You’re going to be dyed, spun, woven, beaten, pissed on and strung up on tenterhooks. It’s gonna be fun, trust us.
08 - Draining the Swamp (or, The Secret Soggy S...
We break away from the main chronology of the series a little bit, to zoom out and re-focus on one particular topic: how exactly, in the space of roughly 500 years, this empty swamp land was transformed into one of the most densely populated places on the planet. But in order to do that, we’re going to have to focus on one of the most underrated, and unappreciated of mother nature’s gifts. And that is something called sphagnum; more commonly known as peat moss. It's time to drain the swamp.
07 - Getting Down in Town
Freed from the need to be working the land due to the improvements in agriculture discussed in episode 6, people in the low countries began congregating in urban centres. They developed new skills and began manufacturing goods. Artisans like smiths, woodworkers, weavers, embroiderers and textile workers suddenly possessed talents with great economic value. Now, for the first time, members of the common class were able to put their fingers onto the scales of power, and begin to balance it back in their favour by making city charters. But the creation of a new body politic in the 11th century would not be without its adversaries, nor without its consequences.
06 - Ploughin’ Forward
The last few episodes have focused heavily on the “Game of Thrones” layer of history; that’s to say, nobles killing each other. As exciting as it's been, only a tiny minority of people who lived around the end of the first millennium of the Common Era would have been directly concerned with those kinds of conflicts. For most people in the lowlands, it didn’t matter who their count or duke or emperor was. For them, life was nasty, brutish and short, and involved an overwhelming amount of backbreaking manual labour. But an agricultural revolution was about to change life for these peasants forever. So let’s keep ploughin’ forward with the History of the Netherlands.
05 - Welcome to Family Feudalism
The disintegration of Charlemagne’s empire at the end of the 9th century left the lowlands part of a larger entity, Lotharingia, wedged between two much more powerful kingdoms, East and West Francia. If you were an ambitious noble, controlling one of the many small, swampy territories and you wished to move yourself up into a more prominent position, what would you do? Well, what lots of them chose to do was switch allegiances to and fro between the great powers on either side whenever they deemed it politically necessary and beneficial to do so. Welcome to Family Feudalism!
04 - Charles in Charge
In the latter half of the 8th century, events and circumstances around Europe become vastly influenced by a man who ruled a vast empire from the lowlands. This man is the reason why the name Charles - which if you think about it really hard is actually a pretty weird name - is anywhere near as populous as it is today. But this Charles was, apparently, greater than the rest, and so he gets to be called Charlemagne - Charles the Great.
03 - Illuminating the Dark Ages
A common misperception is that once Roman influence ended by 476 CE, the European continent went into a dark abyss with very little happening until the Italian Renaissance in the the 14th century. Most historians today would most likely disagree with this notion, as do we, because many important and enlightening things were happening in Europe, including our little part, the Lowlands. This episode is all about monks, migrations and Merovingians.
02 - What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?
Throughout history, the Low Countries would often be defined by their interactions with great powers nearby. This began when the Original Superpower™, the Romans, decided the border of their empire would be the Rhine river, running right through the heart of our swamp. One lowlander tribe, the Batavians, would learn the hard way that when in Rome, it’s better to just do as the Romans do
01 - 99% of Dutch History
We set off on an epic journey to explore the history of a small piece of land in the northwest part of the European continent known as ‘the lowlands’, which roughly includes today’s Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and bits of northern France. This episode will take us from so called “pre-history” to around the Roman era. So strap in while we deal with 99% of Dutch history... that’s most of it.