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This paper explores the cultural place of ceremonial entries of foreign monarchs and princes in the Dutch Republic in the seventeenth century. The political culture of the kingless Dutch Republic has been mainly examined through the prism of its representative institutions, most notably the States General. This paper, by contrast, examines the tenacious cultural tradition of princely entries in relation to those representative bodies after the princely era (c.1588-c.1702). Much as they had been in the late Middle Ages, princely entries remained a tool of political communication in the early modern period. What changed, is that they were no longer a platform for dialogue with the ruler. As multilingual media events, these spectacles became a way for the different Dutch assemblies (general, provincial, and local) to assert themselves politically; both in relation to each other, in relation to the Stadtholder-princes of Orange, and in relation to foreign powers. In exploring this aspect of early modern Netherlandish politics, my research adds to a recent historiographical trend which emphasises the transnational and 'royal' elements in the culture of the Dutch Republic.
Dr Jim van der Meulen is a social historian of the late medieval and early modern Low Countries. He has conducted research on regional economic developments, political elites, and state formation in the Northern and Southern Netherlands between 1300 and 1700. This paper stems from his involvement in a collaborative project of the University of Oxford and the History of Parliament Trust on transnational ‘parliamentary culture’.
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