Universities became career pathways to public office. Tolerance towards Catholics was not so easy to uphold, as religion had played an important part in the Eighty Years' War of independence against Spain (with political and economic freedom being other important motives). [23], This trend, along with the lack of Counter-Reformation church patronage that dominated the arts in Catholic Europe, resulted in the great number of "scenes of everyday life" or genre paintings, and other secular subjects. The social structure that evolved with the economic transformation of Dutch life was complex and was marked by the predominance of the business classes that later centuries called the bourgeoisie, although with some significant differences. But the Reformed preachers were thwarted in their efforts to oppress or drive out other religions, to which a far-reaching toleration was extended. The Dutch Golden Age (Dutch: Gouden Eeuw Dutch pronunciation: [ˈɣɑudə(n) ˈeːu]) was a period in the history of the Netherlands, roughly spanning the era from 1581 (the birth of the Dutch Republic) to 1672 (the Rampjaar, "Disaster Year"), in which Dutch trade, science, and art and the Dutch military were among the most acclaimed in the world. Lyons, Martyn. Unfinished Works in European Art, … What was striking was the comparative simplicity even of the wealthy classes and the sense of status and dignity among the ordinary people, although the exuberance that had earlier marked the society was toned down or even eliminated by the strict Calvinist morality preached and to some extent enforced by the official church. Sizable islands of Roman Catholicism remained in most of the United Provinces, while Gelderland and the northern parts of Brabant and Flanders conquered by the States General were overwhelmingly Roman Catholic, as they remain today. Hugo Grotius (1583–1645) played a leading part in the foundation of international law. The common people comprised both a numerous class of artisans and small businessmen, whose prosperity provided the base for the generally high Dutch standard of living, and a very large class of sailors, shipbuilders, fishermen, and other workers. The next surge of political debate came after mid-century, when for a little more than two decades the country was governed without a prince of Orange as stadtholder. [2] Similar arrangements were made in other places. The attempt of the Spanish monarchs (who also ruled Portugal and its possessions from 1580 to 1640) to exclude Dutch merchants and shippers from the lucrative colonial commerce with East Asia led the Dutch to trade directly with the East Indies. Where rich aristocrats often became patrons of art in other countries, because of their comparative absence in the Netherlands this role was played by wealthy merchants and other patricians. The half century that followed was marked by consolidation rather than continued expansion, under the impact of the revived competition from the other nations, notably England and France, whose policies of mercantilism were to a large degree directed against the near monopoly of the Dutch over the trade and shipping of Europe. Catholics tended to keep to themselves in their own section of each town, even though they were one of the largest single denominations: for example, the Catholic painter Johannes Vermeer lived in the "Papist corner" of the town of Delft. As for the Protestant towns, unity of belief was also far from standard. Already in 1609 much of this was accomplished, when a temporary truce was signed with Spain, which would last for 12 years. The Dutch Golden Age is one of the finest examples of independence breeding cultural pride. 2011. It was a grandeur that rested upon the economic expansion that continued with scarcely an interruption until 1648, at the end of the Thirty Years’ War. The physicist Christiaan Huygens approached Isaac Newton himself in power of mind and importance of scientific contribution.

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