Martyr Worthy Lectures – the Dutch Golden Age


On Tuesday 15th November, Revd Amanda Denniss introduced the first of this series of Martyr Worthy lectures, given by Rear Admiral John Lang.  It was a packed house in Itchen Abbas Village Hall to hear this very popular speaker talk with over 150 slides on the Dutch Golden Age.


John started off with this slide of Vermeer’s famous painting of the girl with the pearl earring and took us through the geographical, political and social circumstances which brought the Netherlands to be the leading trading nation in the world during the 17th century.  He spoke about their unique geography resulting in high urbanisation and the need for cooperation if they were to survive, the few natural resources and the need to import from the Baltic and then their fascination with the Orient, which led them to discover routes round South America and to attempt a northern passage around Russia.

We even discovered that the reason that so many of the Dutch are so tall, is the incredibly rich dairy products from cows grazed on land fed with the silt of so many European rivers!

A really fascinating talk which revealed a huge amount of research and tantalisingly left us with a clue as to his next topic – perhaps the British Empire…?

Thank you to John for a totally wonderful evening and to the amazing ladies of Martyr Worthy (the committee members Joanna Lang, Liz Platt, Gilly Greenwood and Verity Coleman) for organising it so brilliantly and  for the delicious canapés and drinks.  A great event for the Itchen Valley Parish and a great way to spend an evening.


Please do look out for the next Martyr Worthy lecture: The World in Conflict – John Andrews on Thursday 26 January 2017 and

A Tale of Two Cities: Oxford and Cambridge – John Davies on Tuesday 28 February 2017

Alex Pease

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