till 30.10.2022

Expositions / The betrayal of Deventer – Disaster Year 1672

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The betrayal of Deventer – Disaster Year 1672

The Dutch Disaster Year was exactly 350 years ago. On 22 May this year, Museum De Waag will present its ongoing exhibition ‘The betrayal of Deventer. Disaster Year of 1672’, which focuses on the siege and surrender of the city.

Deventer at war

Help! The enemy has encircled Deventer. As written by the city council on 16 June 1672 in a letter to army leader William III. The Dutch Republic was at war with no less than 4 enemies at the same time in the spring of 1672: England, France, and the German dioceses of Cologne and Munster. As the fortifications in Deventer had been terribly neglected, it was fairly easy for the enemy to force the city to surrender. This year marks the 350th anniversary of the independent existence of the Republic, which is being commemorated throughout the country.

Betrayal or wise surrender

The exhibition shows the siege of Deventer by the overpowering German-French forces. The prince-bishop of Munster, Bernard von Galen aka ‘Bommen Berend’, threatened to set the city ablaze with his feared cannons, mortars and firebombs. When Deventer did not surrender, he had the city shot at from three sides. Mayor Hendrick Nilant saw no other solution than to surrender the city only one day into the siege.

For centuries, the people of Deventer were reminded of the quick surrender of 1672 and how it was a betrayal of the Republic. But Deventer as also the only city in Overijssel to put up any resistance during the invasion. Visitors to De Waag will soon be able to make their own minds up interactively: should Deventer have defended itself to the bitter end, or was surrender better for the city?