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Garde Robe: An Amazing Discovery From The Golden Age Posted by on Apr 21, 2016 in Culture, Dutch Language, Dutch Vocabulary, News

Last Thursday, a most verbazingwekkend (astonishing) discovery was published: a lading (cargo) of 17th century noble items, most importantly a vorstelijk gewaad (royal gown) were found! In the waters off the island Texel, many scheepswrakken (ship wrecks) from that time, the Gouden Eeuw (Golden Age – see below in the Sideline) were lying out there, waiting for cargo. Because of wind and weather, many of them zonken (sank) and throughout the years were begraven (buried) under the zand (sand). Now and then, because of water streams, they can be uncovered again and might reveal something never seen before… Like this discovery!


De Gouden Eeuw (17th Century)

What is the Gouden Eeuw? In the 17th Century, the Netherlands was one of the richest countries in the world. Dutch spice merchants were forced to found the Verenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie (VOC) (United East Indian Company), the first multinational in the world. Because of this collaboration, the Dutch became the number one spice traders in the world, and made a lot of money. This led to an opbloei (flourishing) of Dutch culture and science. Many famous painters, like Rembrandt, are from this time, for example. If you want to find out more about this important time for the Netherlands, watch a Dutch series here, or just search the internet for more information!

Fun Fact: the expression peperduur (extremely expensive, literally: “pepper expensive”) originated from this time, when pepper was still traded in relatively small amounts and only for the very rich. It was very expensive, and so this expression was born!

Back to our topic. So the vorstelijke lading they found was from this rich time period! Let’s watch the trailer about the exposition at musem Kaap Skil on Texel, called Garde Robe.


Gerrit-Jan Betsema: Er is eigenlijk geen enkele vondst die zo rijk is zoals deze vondst nu gevonden in de Waddenzee.

Dat we het in eerste instantie vonden, dachten we, wat apart: kleding! Dat hebben we eigenlijk nog nooit gevonden op een wrak.

Emmy de Groot: Dan zien we toch wel de garderobe van [een] behoorlijk hooggeplaatst persoon, hoge adel denk je dan aan, zeker als je het vergelijkt met schilderijen die er uit die tijd over zijn.

Arent Vos: Een kist met boeken, leren boekomslagen. [Het] papier is weg, maar de leren kaften zijn er, met goudopdruk. En daar zit het wapen in van het Engelse koningshuis Stewart. Dus hooggeplaatste personen.

Maarten van Bommel: Deze vondst is heel uniek. Alleen het textiel is eigenlijk al heel uniek, maar wat vooral interessant is, is dat het hele wrak er nog is, dat het wrak een hele rijke scheepslading had die ook heel divers was. De totale context van de vondst is echt exceptioneel. 


Gerrit-Jan Betsema: There is really no single discovery that is as rich as the one found now in the Waddenzee (Wadden Sea).

That we found it in the first place, we thought, how unusual: clothing! We have actually never found that on a wreck before.

Emmy de Groot: Then we do do actually see the wardrobe of quite [a] high-ranking person, nobility is what you then think about, certainly if you compare it with paintings that are left from that time.

Arent Vos: A chest with books, leather book covers. [The] paper is gone, but the leather covers are there, with a gold imprint. And in there is the coat of arms of the English royal house Stewart. So high-ranking persons.

Maarten van Bommel: This discovery is very unique. Only the textile is actually already unique by itself, but what’s especially interesting, is that the entire wreck is still there, that the wreck had a very rich ship load that was also very diverse. The complete context of the discovery is really exceptional.

So what we can say from this video is that this was a very unusual discovery, that is worth a lot.  Check out the exposition Garde Robe to see it for yourself.

I will leave you with some Dutch vocabulary!

archeologie archaeology
begraven to bury, buried
etui pencil case
exceptioneel exceptional
garderobe wardrobe
gewaad robe
koninklijk royal
ontdekken to discover
oud old
rijk rich
schip ship
verbazingwekkend astonishing
vondst, ontdekking discovery, found
zand sand
zinken to sink
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About the Author: Sten

Hi! I am Sten, both Dutch and German. For many years, I've written for the German and the Dutch blogs with a passion for everything related to language and culture. It's fascinating to reflect on my own culture, and in the process allow our readers to learn more about it! Besides blogging, I am a German-Dutch-English translator, animator and filmmaker.