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The Netherlands

The patch of European soil that we today understand to be the Netherlands has a long and tempestuous history. Conquered and ruled by many, this northern block of the territory referred to as the Low Countries (the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg) was, in the Middle Ages, part of the great Burgundian realm and subsequently the Habsburg Empire. The Dutch Revolt, which ended in 1648, triggered the establishment of a Dutch Republic, with northern provinces of the Low Countries splitting from southern provinces, allowing the Dutch people to forge a prosperous and powerful identity within Europe. Against the backdrop of such tumultuous change, a rich artistic tradition has thrived. The Northern Renaissance saw the emergence of artists such as Roger van der Weyden and Hieronymus Bosch, while the 17th-century Dutch Golden Age gave rise to the likes of Rembrandt van Rijn and Johannes Vermeer. More recent artistic movements have proved no less influential – the aesthetics of the early 20th-century De Stijl movement still ripple through modern design today. Through handsome cities, charming towns, green and watery landscapes, and some of Europe’s finest museums, discover the country that birthed and nurtured some of Western Art’s greatest talent.
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