The Glorious Revolution: How the Dutch Invaded Britain (documentary with English subtitles)
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The Glorious Revolution: How the Dutch Invaded Britain (documentary with English subtitles)

September 24, 2019


All good things come to an
end, even a Golden Age. It is a shame. I think that is misplaced melancholy. 1672: Crisis, an invasion… the country almost bankrupt,
an unheard-of lynching. The bodies are simply cut open. They are emptied, slaughtered. Organs are sold, auctioned, eaten. But there is also a hero. A scion of Orange even
becomes king of England… and takes Dutch glory
along across the Channel. THE GOLDEN AGE THE BEGINNING OF THE END This is more for ordinary criminals,
it cannot have been here. It must have been here. August 1672. Here, ‘prime minister’
Johan de Witt was imprisoned, on a false suspicion. So, he denies. Even after torture. And then his brother Cornelis
visits here one morning. He is lying here in bed, because he can
no longer walk because of the torture. And at the end of the visit
they cannotleave… because there is a
screaming crowd out there. Then they wait here. That must have lasted for hours… the whole afternoon, hoping
that they will be relieved. But eventually, the screaming
mob breaks through the door. People are drunk, screaming, fighting. One of the brothers gets a slap
on the back of his head… causing blood to gush out. The other brother is dragged
along that staircase. Followed by the first brother. The De Witt brothers were the two most
powerful men in the Dutch republic. Johan de Witt had been a kind
of prime minister for 20 years. They fell prey to popular anger. Ladies and gentlemen, we
are now outside. Here, the De Witt brothers were
dragged out of Prisoners Gate. Here the hitting, kicking,
stabbing continued. We are going to experience the
last trip of the De Witt brothers. We go through the gate to
the place of the final end. Follow me. Cornelis was probably killed by a lot
of punches with gun stocks. And Johan finally got the neck shot. This statue of Johan de Witt in
his capacity as Grand Pensionary marks the spot where the
two bodies ended up. Then the bodies are
dragged to the scaffold. And you must imagine: That scaffold was here exactly
at the intersection of the tram. There the bodies are hung upside
down, naked, on the strappado. Johan slightly higher than Cornelis. Yes, there was a difference even in death. The bodies are then cut open. They are emptied, they are slaughtered. Organs were sold,
auctioned, they were eaten. The Hague Historical Museum preserves the
tongue of Johan and a toe of Cornelis. It’s probably an index finger
though, in a small box. We still have those relics. Well, here we have them. The finger of Cornelis de Witt
and the tongue of Johan de Witt. Nice color. Yes, dried up. Cornelis and especially Johan de Witt. The two main statesmen of the
country, murdered by a mad mob. How could that happen? That has everything to do… with the political situation in
the traumatic disaster year 1672. There on the other side,
behind those bushes… in 1672, a powerful army of the French Sun
King Louis XIV entered the Netherlands. We’re here at Lobith, in
the east of the country… and here in the Rhine there
was a ford in that time. There, on the other side, a local farmer
pointed it out to the French armies. In addition to the French, the
British also attacked that year… plus two German dioceses. The danger suddenly came from all sides. All neighboring countries of
the Republic had decided… to teach this stubborn, dominant,
filthily rich little country a lesson. The French went to the west… and they went terribly fast. On to the heart of the
Republic: Amsterdam, Holland. The total collapse of the
Netherlands was imminent. Many merchants flee to Zeeland,
the churches are full. The country seems to be out of hope.
The ruling classes are out of options. And the populace is out of their minds.
There are rumors everywhere. And the suspicions spread like
wildfire across the country. The tug-barge was ideal for
gossiping, I understand? That’s right. The tug-barge was the preferred mode
of people transport in the 17th century. People would spend a lot of
time together on these barges. They would often discuss politics
and have debates on board. In addition, pamphlets were
distributed by tug-barge. So, people depended on
tug-barges for the latest news. The Barrel of Loevestein. What is it? The Loevesteiners was a nickname
for Johan de Witt’s faction. The Loevestein Barrel
has to be be destroyed. Indeed. This is an example of pamphlets
calling for the removal of Johan de Witt. The pamphlets argued that the
outrageous speed of the French invasion was not just due to the
strength of their army. It was impossible all those Dutch
cities surrendered without a fight. The pamphlets accused the Dutch
ruling class of receiving bribes from the French and selling the country.
Corruption. In August, for example, we read:
“His death will be our salvation”. Similar statements increased.
Calls to get rid of him? Yes. A number of calls were
made before his murder. His murder meant the
removal of the old regime. What kind of government
did they want in stead? Partly, they wanted a return
of House of Orange to power. What role was William of
Orange supposed to play? He’s the power broker. If they cannot figure it out, they
will go to Orange, to let him decide. And he’s keen to take on that role. William III, the great-grandson
of William the Silent. Born in 1650. He grows up in a time when the provinces
no longer want an Orange stadholder. Johan de Witt personally
ensures that the young prince never receives a
high state position. But in times of distress, the
population calls for a strongman. Invariably, an Orange. When everything
went wrong in 1672, William was given command in
the fight against the French, as though he was sent by God. His goal: To save the Fatherland. He uses the Dutch Water Line to
defend the remainder of the Republic. He turns the German Emperor and
former arch enemy Spain into allies. When the French troops have
finally been expelled, William is the hero
of the nation. Did William buy Het Loo Palace? Yes. What role did that man see for himself? William was honored throughout the Dutch
Republic as the Savior of the Fatherland. He saw a very unique
role for himself. After 1672, Louis XIV,
the king of France, simply continued to
threaten his neighbours, including the Dutch republic. William sees Louis XIV
as a continued threat. He argues to unite forces to
deal Louis a humiliating blow and drive him back
to Versailles. So immediately after William takes
control of the Republic, he positions himself
on the European scene? He extended his political chessboard
to encompass the whole of Europe. It looks like Versailles. It’s a miniature version of
the Sun King’s large gardens. Het Loo was constructed
in the 1690s. At the time, Louis had amassed some
3,000 fountains in Versailles. Het Loo has less
than 50 fountains. But this fountain, the
so-called Royal Jet, reaches higher than the highest
fountain in Versailles. So William trumped
Louis in that regard. Not more, but higher. Yes, he peed further, in his way. William was always competitive. You could compare him to ivy. He was a high climber, but he
needed a wall to run up against. That was his strength. He was tenacious and
had many qualities. But he needed a wall. Yes… Yes, this is the holy of holies. William’s bedroom. And at the same time the nerve center
of his international politics. You’d think that a bed
is just for sleeping, and that politics
start downstairs. But in the 17th century,
politics started in bed. William loved to rummage in the silence. He devoted years to building a network
of secret contacts, of informants. They would assemble around his bed?
Certainly. Assembled here they would try to
assess the latest intelligence. London. The origin of those informants with
direct access to Williams bedroom. The track leads to the
English Parliament… which has a huge aversion to the absolutist
tendencies of the king, James II. The trust between the Catholic James… and the mainly Protestant
representatives has dropped to zero. When James starts looking for
support from Louis XIV of France, he’s asking for trouble. On the way. The same route that
the army of William III took. Over 20,000 troops and 4000 horses slowly
take the muddy, winding roads northward. They are still exhausted
from the difficult crossing. Looking for a place to rest. The weather is hopeless,
the road is long… and it is still uncertain whether
the invasion will be successful. After four days the first goal is reached: The fourth city of the country… 50 kilometers north of the landing site. This is Exeter. Capital of the region, especially
then, and look at that cathedral. It is still almost exactly the
same today as in those days. This was THE place for William… to trumpet his message as a
friend of the English nation. And preferably so loudly that the whole
country could hear him at once. After ten days William’s
army leaves Exeter. The ultimate goal: London. More than 300 kilometers further. William’s advance encounters
hardly any opposition. The population does not seem
unfavorable towards him… and important Protestant
army officers of James II… have already gone over to William’s camp. Arriving in London, the Dutch
troops take the city in no time. The English Parliament, which requested
the foreign prince to invade the country, immediately proclaims
him to be king. The Glorious Revolution is a fact. A bloodless revolution. We did it. The story is nearing its end. A Dutch member of the Orange
dynasty woke this country up as a trade center, financial
center, military power. After all, the Republic needed a
powerful ally to counterbalance France. The new king of England imported
achievements of the Dutch Golden Age. He was so successful, that England would
go on to surpass the Dutch Republic. In 1702, more than 13 years after
his Glorious Revolution… William died of the consequences
of a fall from his horse. It stumbles on a molehill. So, William is dead. What is happening in
the meantime with the Republic at home? Well, the Republic is getting into trouble. In all kinds of areas it is no
longer as dynamic as before. At the same time, foreign forces
conspire against the Republic. They want a piece of the Dutch cake. The costs to keep it all
up increase spectacularly towards the end of
the 17th century. It’s a problem that all big
powers have to deal with. The Dutch had vital
interests in many regions. They had to invest a lot
of money to defend them. Especially after 1672, the public
debt of the Republic is booming. The problems of the Republic were
comparable to those of Europeans countries during the economic crisis
of the last decade. The debt burden became unbearable. Although the Netherlands intervened
successfully in English politics, it lead to a weakening of its position as
an independent state in the long term. On the other hand, if
they hadn’t intervened, the Netherlands might have
been devoured by the French. So, it’s all over. A pity, right? I think that’s inappropriate melancholy. Look, the Golden Age as a
period in which the Netherlands dominated world economy,
had come to an end. The prosperity created back
then, we never really lost. Think of the Netherlands as a
commercial exporting economy. It really started on the
scale as we know it today. Deservedly or not, The Netherlands still has a world
reputation as a tolerant country. It dates back to the 17th century. Maybe we have ‘the best of all worlds’. Because we managed to
maintain the prosperity that we built up
in the 17th century… while we transferred the burdens
we had back then to someone else. So maybe you should be happy
with what we have right now. It lasted about 60, 80 years, not even
a full century, that Golden Age of ours. A time when our tiny country lead the
way in almost every conceivable area: Art, science, trade, war, everything. Such a century is like a guest. In our case, he came from Antwerp
in the years after 1585… and he eventually left for this
city here on the Thames… and then for New York, and
now perhaps for Beijing. He’ll never come back, though. It’s history. Can’t be helped. At least, we had that guest over. And who can say that?

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  1. Dutch history is fascinating, especially its link to the exponential growth of the British empire. Thanks for uploading this, it's always good to get a perspective from the other side.

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