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Dutch History Illustrated by ‘Schoolplaten’

Krijgsraad-voor-de-vierdaagse-zeeslag-1666
1666 – Dutch fleet preparing for yet another battle against the British.

Yours faithfully had the privilege to attend primary school during the golden early sixties in the Netherlands and regularly thinks back with nostalgia to the class room, the three rows of two-seat-benches (‘schoolbanken‘) with build-in ink pots, the maps and the headmaster teaching history.

But the point of this post are the ‘schoolplaten‘, no need to translate that word into English, on the walls, mostly illustrating the great moments in Dutch history. Spending a weekend collecting almost all of them and put them in chronological order and adding comments, is all in all a very pleasant task.

A schoolplaat is a piece of hard carton with typical size of 80 x 110 cm, sometimes reinforced at the corners with a piece of iron and a picture painted on it, that is not directly High Art, but sufficiently attractive and above all lovingly made. The purpose was education of children, the first ones were brought to Holland from Germany in 1839, but from 1857 on-wards they were all Dutch made by artists like Jetses, Ising, Bueninck and many others and served their purpose until the sixties, after which they went out of fashion. The pictures usually have an idyllic character, the harsher aspects of life are avoided and Dutch history is presented in a positive light only.

hollands-weidelandschap

koekkoek-in-de-weide2
Idyllic scenes of typical Dutch landscape

Below a large number of pictures that illustrate Dutch history in chronological order:

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