Michiel de Ruyter is back!

Michiel de Ruyter is back!

The great naval hero

Next year, it will be 400 years ago that the most famous of all Dutch mariners was born in Flushing. Anticipating the Michiel de Ruyter Year in 2007, this exhibition shows why De Ruyter was such a successful admiral. One of his most important feats of arms was the Four Day's Battle off the English coast (11-14 June 1666). According to Dutch sources, the English lost 17 ships and suffered around 5000 casualties. But 2000 Dutch sailors had also been killed or wounded in the battle.

The Four Day's Battle

Nearly all Dutch people know Michiel de Ruyter (1607-1676). He took seventh place in the election of the Greatest Dutch Person in November 2004. But who knows exactly why he is so famous? As a seaman, he not only possessed great courage and fighting spirit, but he also displayed shrewd tactical insight and superb fleet handling. The exhibition presents an overview of his successful career and the various naval battles in which he commanded the Dutch fleet. The Four Day's Battle (1666) was De Ruyter's first major success. His defeat of the proud English fleet was the talk of Europe. Even mighty Louis XIV spoke in glowing terms of the Dutch achievement: 'Sieur De Ruyter has done deeds with heart and head that surpass human strength'.

Organisation of the exhibition

The first part of the exhibition focuses on Michiel de Ruyter as the great admiral. Flourish of trumpets: there he is, in full regalia. Then follows the Four Day's Battle, the 'climax' of the Second Anglo-Dutch War. A bloody slaughter, fraught with misery and death. Many other campaigns under De Ruyter follow: the Raid on the Medway (1667), the Battle of the Texel (1673) and the Battle of the Etna (1676), which cost him both his legs. He died shortly after. The last part of the exhibition is dedicated to the 'hero worship' of the man who lives on in street names, statues, books, and countless songs.

Up to January 7th 2007


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