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RUSSIA AND THE NETHERLANDS

Дата публикации: 10 ноября 2021
Автор(ы): Vladimir BULÀTOV, Yelena GOROKHOVA
Публикатор: Научная библиотека Порталус
Рубрика: ПРИКЛЮЧЕНЧЕСКАЯ ЛИТЕРАТУРА
Источник: (c) Science in Russia, №5, 2013, C.60-67
Номер публикации: №1636551335


Vladimir BULÀTOV, Yelena GOROKHOVA, (c)

by Vladimir BULÀTOV, Cand. Sc. (Geogr.), Head of the Cartography Department of the State Historical Museum (Moscow); Yelena GOROKHOVA, Cand. Sc. (Hist.), Head of the Russian History Department from Ancient Times to the 18th Century of the same museum

 

The International Exhibition Project of the State Historical Museum (SHM) "Russia and the Netherlands: Area of Interaction. Mid-16th-First Half of the 19th Centuries" we are going to speak about below is dedicated to the official year of friendship between these countries announced in 2013. The extensive exhibition illustrates the brightest and most significant events in the history of interaction between two nations.

 

CHRONOLOGY

 

Time limits of the exposition were chosen consciously: they place special emphasis on the most important milestones in the centuries-long history of Russian-Dutch relations. The first intensive contacts between two countries were recorded in the mid-16th century. In the early decades of the 19th century, after the Russian army liberated the Netherlands from the Napoleonic invasion in 1813, the Kingdom of Netherlands was formed, which existed till our days without any revolutionary perturbations. Russia is directly related to the formation and strengthening of Holland internationally.

 

The two countries, representing the opposite poles of political and economic life of Europe, maintained close friendly interstate relations, generated mostly by economic reasons, for the whole period under consideration. Neither difference in state systems, nor different

 
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ecclesia, colossal disparity in the area or population, could affect these relations. Surprisingly, but these very differences became a basis of a centuries-long neigh-bourly relations of our countries.

 

It is worth mentioning that in the mid-second half of the 16th century Russia and Holland were formed as independent states, expanding their territories, which was marked by dramatic and bloody events that took away tens of thousands of lives.

 

Thus, in Russia this period is characterized as a final stage of formation of a centralized state when Ivan IV the Terrible (1530-1584), who for the first time became tsar of Russia with traces of feudal factionalism, mass executions and terror. Many people died in military hostilities for national sovereignty between Moskovia and Astrakhan, Kazan and Crimean Khanates, and during the exhausting Livonian War of 1558-1583 for the right to freely use trade routes in the Baltic Sea. By the end of the 16th century the Moscow State became the largest in Europe, extending from the Volga Region, Western Siberia and the Arctic Ocean to the Caspian Sea. The state was recognized on the international arena and strengthened trade relations with Europe and Asia.

 

However, in the early 17th century the Moscow State was on the verge of downfall in the Time of Troubles, which set in after the death of the tsar Fyodor Ioannovich (1557-1598) terminating the ruling dynasty. The country was in the hands of foreign invaders and impostors, national economy was completely in ruins and settlements became deserted. Due to incredible efforts and sacrifices of the people the Time of Troubles was overcome. In 1613, the Assembly of the Land, composed of national representatives, elected Mikhail Romanov (1596-1645) to the throne, who became the patriarch of a new dynasty of Russian rulers. Reconstruction of sovereignty and national economy took several decades.

 

FORMATION OF HOLLAND

 

In the early 16th century, a new territorial unit "The Netherlands" was gradually forming in the lowlands along the Rhine, Maas, and Schelde, on the border lands of France and the Holy Roman Empire, composed of the conglomerate of medium and small feudal principalities (Flanders, Brabant, Holland, Hainault, Artois, Luxembourg, Geldern, etc.) under the dominion first of the Burgundian House and then of Habsburgs. It took some time to make the word "Netherlands", meaning "Low lands", popular and recognized. First, another expression--"Pays de par deça" was used, meaning "Lands on the other side" (territorial possessions of Burgundian dukes were split up into two parts by Lorraine: the Netherlands were located "on the other side", and Burgundy, Nevers, etc.--"on this side"). In 1521 these lands were grouped into the sixteenth Burgundian Circle of the Holy Roman Empire, whose borders finally formed in 1543 after annexation of Geldern; on May 15, 1548, at the Augsburg Reichstag, the circle was declared one and indivisible.

 

In the mid-16th century, Calvinism becomes widespread in the Netherlands, the national Reformed Church is in the process of establishment opposed by the catholic clergy and rulers. In 1560-1580s sporadic disturbances and armed rebellions occur in the country to fight against severe punitive actions of the Spanish ruling dynasty. Bashings of catholic churches and convents are followed by execution and confiscation of property of rebels. Struggle against Catholicism transforms into the uprising against the king and then into

 
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the movement for national independence of this richest territory in the possession of the House of Habsburgs.

 

In 1579, southern states of the Netherlands sign the Union of Arras* under which they recognize inviolability of Catholicism and express their loyalty to the Spanish king Philip II (1556-1598). In return, in 1579 the northern provinces sign the Union of Utrecht, thus declaring their intent to struggle for independence and freedom of faith, and a year later declare the king deposed. After failures to establish a new Protestant monarchy, in 1588 the States-General of the Netherlands assume control of the country, which is considered as a formation of the "Republic of Seven United Lower Lands".

 

There is a kind of misunderstanding in the Russian language concerning two notions--the Netherlands and Holland--which needs to be explained. The Republic of United Provinces was a rather decentralized state, there was no single name used by its citizens to name the country. The notion of "Netherlands" also incorporated residents of southern, Spanish Netherlands (which later passed into possession of the Austrian Habsburgs and were known as "Austrian Netherlands"). Citizens of the Republic attached themselves to the province of origin: Hollander, Friesian, etc. But, taking into account that the province of Holland was most developed economically and politically, all people from the United Provinces travelling abroad were usually

 

*The Union of Arras--a union of Walloon provinces of the Netherlands (Hainaut, Artois, Douai), established under the Treaty of Arras dated January 6. 1579 (Artois); later on, Lille, Orchies, etc. joined the treaty. The Union was entered on the initiative of the catholic Walloon noblemen dissatisfied with the achievements of the Dutch revolution of the 16th century. In response, the rebel provinces of the North concluded the Union of Utrecht in 1579.--Ed.

 

named "Hollanders", and the country--"Holland". These words were used in the Russian language in the 17th-18th centuries and have been preserved till modern times.

 

Meanwhile, in the course of war for independence, the country enjoyed the start of the economic and cultural boom--the so-called "Golden Age" of the Netherlands that lasted for the whole of the 17th century. For a hundred years this country was the economic and trade center of the world and the owner of a vast colonial empire.

 

ECONOMICAL RELATIONS BETWEEN THE NETHERLANDS AND RUSSIA

 

Thus, economic life of the Netherlands from time immemorial was based on trade. Trade relations with the Baltic territories were of the utmost importance, and Russia was one of the main partners. Dutch trading ships actively explored the Baltic Sea from the mid-16th century after the Emperor Carl V got the right for Flemish ships to pass freely through the Sound (straits connecting Northern and Baltic seas) in 1544 from the king of Denmark. By 1560 the Netherlands controlled 70 percent of sea shipping. As trade agents, merchants in a short time won unique competitive advantages and took a dominating position in the international market and Russian market in particular.

 

Dutch-Russian commercial relations developed through the estuary of the Neva (at that moment belonging to Sweden) and Northern Dvina, where the city of Arkhangelsk was established in 1584. Hollanders settled down there, built storehouses and dwellings there: in summer they traded and in winter left for Moscow or to their native towns.

 
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Russia exported fur and leather, timber, canvas for sails, and hemp for rope, tar, resin, potash (potassium and carbonic acid salt), niter and grain. Holland exported muskets and musket barrels, gunpowder, expensive cloths, and gems, food products (wine, sugar and spices), tobacco, dye-stuff, writing paper, glass and nonferrous metal items, in particular, bells. By the way, the famous Russian expression "mellow chime" comes from the name of the town of Mechelen (in Walloon "Malines"), where a good alloy for casting of bells was developed in the Middle Ages. Silver from America exported by Dutchmen was the main source of supply of precious metals to Russia. Trading relations with Moskovia brought huge profit, that is why Dutch merchants (including merchants from England and Germany) strived to act as agents in commercial relations with other European countries.

 

At that time Russia was little known in Western Europe, and it is no wonder that Dutchmen were the main source of information about our country. Data given by the Dutch merchant, traveler and diplomat Isaac Massa (1586-1643), Elias Herkmans, Johan Danquart, politician, entrepreneur, cartographer and burgomaster of Amsterdam (1682-1706) Nicolaes Witsen became very important for studies of a history of our country. Russia was interesting for Holland not only as such, but also as a potential route to India and China. It is not by chance that Amsterdam announced a prize of 25,000 guldens for a person who would first find a "north-east passage", i.e. a sea route around Eurasia across the Arctic Ocean. The famous navigator Willem Barentsz (1550-1597) was one of the Dutch travelers and seafarers who set for search of a north-east passage; he died in the course of his third voyage in 1597; the Barents Sea was named in his honor. Merchants also explored the other way--from the Baltic Sea by the Russian river system across the Caspian Sea to Persia and India. As a result, Dutchmen made a number of maps of Russia and Siberia that made part of the golden fund of world cartography.

 

In the 18th century, displaced by Great Britain, Holland lost its dominating position as the world trade and economic center. Turnover of the Russian-Dutch trade also decreased. Nevertheless, Amsterdam kept being a major financial center of Europe. Abundant financial sources, concentrated there, and consequently, the low price of credits, as a rule not more than 5 percent, turned Holland into an All-European creditor. The Russian Empire was among its active borrowers, acting through "Hope and Co": sometimes, the amount of credits increased so much that, for example, in 1769, the Russian Empress Yekaterina II (1729-1796)* was forced to pawn her diamonds in Amsterdam.

 

Active economic relations required a relevant diplomatic support. The first official contact between Russia and the United Provinces was recorded in 1613 when Russian ambassadors boyar Stepan Ushakov (?-1627) and the scribe Semyon Zaborovsky were sent to Europe to serve a deed from the tsar Mikhail Fyodorovich to Maurice of Nassau, Prince of Orange (1567-1625)**, with a notice on his accession to the throne and requesting him to help in a war against Poland. Holland was highly interested in peace in the Baltic territories, which made it a perfect intermediary in the negotiations on the Peace Treaty of Stolbovo*** between Russia and Sweden signed in 1617. During the 17th century parties under the treaty regularly accepted temporary diplomatic missions. In the late 17th century the countries interchanged ambassadors: in 1678 Johan van Keller was appointed the first permanent resident in Moscow; in 1699 Count

 

See: L. Mankova, "Golden Age of Sciences...", Science in Russia, No. 2, 2004.--Ed.

 

* Maurice of Nassau, Prince of Orange--Prince van Oranje, Count of Nassau, son of the king Willem I, who laid foundations of independence of the Netherlands.--Ed.

 

*** Peace Treaty of Stolbovo--a treaty executed in the settlement of Stolbovo (near Tikhvin) that put an end to the Ingrian War of 1614-1617. Concluded between Russia (tsar Mikhail Fyodorovich Romanov) and Sweden (king Gustav II Adolf), the king of England Jacob 1 acting as an intermediary.--Ed.

 
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Andrei Artamonovich Matveev, a well-educated person and associate of the Emperor Peter the Great (1672-1725) took the post of extraordinary and plenipotentiary ambassador in The Hague (1666-1728). Amsterdam was one of the first European cities where the Russian consular agency was established (from 1707 to 1731 the agency was headed by Johannes van den Burg, after his death--by Henry Oldscop).

 

In the 18th century, both countries regularly made attempts to enter into an agreement on commerce, friendship and alliance relations: in the mid-1710s, and in 1745, but the Treaty on Commerce and Navigation, under which the countries agreed upon the most-favorednation principle in trade, was signed only in September 1846. It is worth mentioning, that such a long delay did not block mutually beneficial relations between the states. The fact that before the French Revolution of 1789-1790 Russia and Holland never were at war with each other; furthermore, Holland, as an ally of Sweden during the Great Northern War (1700-1721), stood mostly for Russia is sufficiently instructive.

 

Meanwhile, with Holland as an intermediary, in 1747 Russia took part in the War of the Austrian Succession*,

 

*War of the Austrian Succession (1740-1748)--a long-term war conflict caused by an attempt of some European countries to dispute the will of the Emperor of Austria Carl IV and divide sizeable possessions of the House of Habsburgs in Europe.--Ed.

 

which hastened the Treaty of Aachen of 1748*. Russia and Holland jointly implemented the policy of armed neutrality, declared by the Empress Yekaterina II in 1780. Protection of merchant ships of neutral countries from privateers**, who sailed in seas in connection with the American War of Independence, was, in fact, a kind of opposition to England and met the interests of both, Russia and Holland.

 

In the time of Napoleonic Wars*** a number of puppet regimes created by France were replaced in the United Provinces and finally, France annexed the Netherlands to the empire. The population suffered from constant recruitments and the Continental Blockade (the "system of firm land" or "continental system") imposed by the French Government in 1806-1814 in relation to its enemy United Kingdom, which hampered trade relations. That is why the Dutchmen enthu-

 

*The Second Treaty of Aachen--a peace treaty that put an end to the War of the Austrian Succession.--Ed.

 

**Privateers (corsairs)--natural persons vested by the supreme power of the contending state with the right to use an armed ship (also known as a "privateer" or "corsair") to capture merchant ships of the enemy, in some cases--ships belonging even to neutral countries. The same names are used to designate their crew members.--Ed.

 

*** Napoleonic Wars--this term is used for a series of wars led by Napoleon I with different states as the First Consul of France and its Emperor (November 1799-June 1815). In a more comprehensive sense, this notion includes the Italian Campaign (1796-1797) and the military expedition to Egypt (1798-1799).--Ed.

 
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siastically welcomed the Russian Army entering its territory in 1813. The Russian Emperor Alexander I (1777-1825)* played a significant role in forming the present-day Kingdom of the Netherlands: in 1815, at the Vienna Congress** he signed a treaty between Russia and the Netherlands establishing the status of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and annexation of Belgium to it. To strengthen friendly relations between the countries, a dynastic marriage was contracted between the successor to the throne William of Orange (1792-1849) and the Grand Princess Anna Pavlovna (1795-1865), Emperor's sister.

 

EXHIBITS

 

The above facts describing the most important events in the history of relations between two countries are represented by 400 exhibits of the exposition, many of which are shown for the first time. They illustrate trade and diplomatic relations, joint Arctic voyages made by Russians and Dutchmen in the 16th-17th centuries,

 

See: Ye. Mezentsev, "The Blessed. Generous Renovator", in this issue of the magazine.--Ed.

 

** The Vienna Congress of 1814-1815--an all-European conference that resulted in a system of treaties aimed to restore feudal-absolutist monarchies destructed by the French Revolution of 1789 and Napoleonic Wars, and determined new boundaries of European countries.--Ed.

 

describe Dutch specialists and businessmen working in Russia, the process of formation of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the first two decades of the 19th century. Definitely, the impressive exhibits confirming Dutch influence in the field of culture and technologies will attract general attention.

 

The exposition is mostly composed by the items kept at the State Historical Museum. However, it would be quite difficult to fully depict the rich history of two nations and states and make the exposition vivid and impressive without our partners: 13 state museums, archives and libraries of Russia and 10 from Holland, including 3 private collections.

 

MAPS AND ATLASES

 

One of the essential parts of the exposition is represented by maps and atlases that served as a roadmap in a complex and varied environment. They reflect different aspects of relations between two countries. Thus, the Atlas of the World published in 1671 by Frederic de Wit belonged to the count Nikita Zotov (about 1644-1718), teacher of the Emperor Peter I; the atlas published by Cornelis Danckertz includes a map of polar territories where Admiral Alexei Nagaev (1704-1781), a prominent national hydrographer and

 
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cartographer, lined out the coastline of the Arctic Ocean explored by Russian sailors. At the same time, the exhibited pieces of map-making are important cultural monuments, many of them are kept in the museum depository and are available for the public only for the period of the exposition. For example, we can refer to the Map of Northern Countries engraved by brothers Johan and Lucas Deutecum at the end of the 1560s and preserved in a single copy to our days. Or the Map of European Russia (so-called "stolistovka"), never exhibited before, compiled with an active participation of the Dutchman, engineer-general Pieter van Suchtelen, who made a brilliant carrier in Russia.

 

The exposition also incorporates painted and engraved portraits of Dutch and Russian rulers, diplomats, travelers, merchants, foreign specialists working in Russia, scenes representing Peter the Great in Amsterdam during the Great Embassy (Russian diplomatic mission visiting Western Europe in 1697-1698).

 

The marine theme is one of the principal lines of the exposition: it displays pictures and models of sea ships, including a model of the boat brought by the tsar Peter the Great from Amsterdam, and a half model Taganrog, on board of which Vice-Admiral Jan Hendrik van Kinsbergen (1735-1819) fought for Russia, as well as navigation and optical devices.

 

At the exhibition (one can also see clothes of the peoples of Siberia, the Dutch merchant Evert Ysbrants (Ysbrandszoon) Ides (1657-1708/9) met in the course of his journey to China and the costume of Peter I made of cloths bought in Holland during the Great Embassy.

 

DIPLOMATIC DOCUMENTS

 

Valuable diplomatic documents exhibited at the exposition will, undoubtedly, draw attention of the visitors. Among them, there is a letter of congratulation from the General States of the United Provinces to the tsar Mikhail Fyodorovich Romanov in view of his accession to the throne; a certificate issued to Peter I confirming his carpenter practice at the dockyards of East India Company; original instruments of ratification of the General States on joining the convention on armed neutrality of 1780 and the treaty of 1815 on

 
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establishment of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and a marriage contract (1816) between the Grand Princess Anna Pavlovna and Willem, Prince of Orange. Gifts and presents of the Dutch rulers to Russian tsars are a real decoration of the section Diplomatic Ties.

 

As for the documentary evidence, you can find autographs of the tsar Pyotr Alexeevich and his first teacher of navigation Frans Timmerman*, publisher Tesing, Russian ambassadors to The Hague, "Russian Dutchman" Andrei Vinius**, outstanding military experts such as Vice-Admiral Jan Hendrik van Kinsbergen, François de Wollant***, engineer-general Pieter van Suchtelen**** and others.

 

* Frans Timmerman (1644-1702)--a Dutch merchant, teacher of Peter I in geometry and fortification, ship builder, astronomer.--Ed.

 

** Andrei Vinius (1641-1717)--a Russian state figure in the time of Peter I, Moscow nobleman, duma scribe, the emperor's associate. Chief of the Department of Siberia and others, Russian postmaster in 1672, 1675-1693.--Ed.

 

*** François de Wollant (1752-1818)--the first engineer in the armies of Potemkin and Suvorov, first architect of Voznesensk, Odessa, Novocherkassk and other cities of Russia, builder of the first cast iron bridge in Petersburg, first engineer who headed the Department of Means of Communication. He also headed the creation of Tikhvinskaya and Mariinskaya water supply systems.--Ed.

 

**** Jan Pieter van Suchtelen (1751 -1836)--a military and state figure of the Russian Empire, count of the Great Principality of Finland (from 1822), engineer-general.--Ed.

 

Domestic items--furniture, décor articles, dishware, toys, and rare images of the interior décor of the house owned by a personal physician of the tsar Peter I Nikolai Bidloo (supposedly 1674-1735) rare for those times-are of great help to imagine the lifestyle of Dutchmen who lived in our country.

 

The picture Cossack's Entry to Utrecht in 1813 and a marble plate in commemoration of the visit of Alexander I to the Amsterdam Stock Exchange in 1814 will remind the time when Russians visited and stayed in Holland.

 

Illustrations from the Internet sources

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