introduction
the profile of the travellers
from a dutch point of view
the power of monuments
idealized landscapes
in search of antiquities
everyday life among ruins
in the service of the divine
athens: a place or an ideal?
ancient vs. contemporary

acknowledgements
selected bibliography
catalogue
links and resources travellers
 

 


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the dutch perspective

And I think most will agree that there is no kind of humane Learning more safe and pleasant, nor
generally more useful to mankind and Society, (...) than the knowlegd that may be got by the study of publick Histories, and the ingenious relations of the Travels, Adventures, and various Fates of private Men
Jan Jansz. Struys (1684)

Already from the 16th century, the Dutch travelled to Greece, Turkey and the Levant: first as pilgrims, then as diplomats, cartographers, merchants, lovers of the Greco-Roman world and collectors of antiquities.

The leading trading role of Dutch merchants in the 17th century and the intense commercial relations between The Netherlands and the Ottoman Empire further encouraged travelling and better acquaintance with the Eastern Mediterranean and its antiquities. Dutch cartographers were the first to map the Greek coasts with scientific exactness. In fact, W.J. Blaeu's Het Licht der Zee-vaart (1618) was one of the first complete collections of maps of the Mediterranean.

Dutch travellers, such as Jan Jansz. Struys (1630-1694), wrote accounts of their journeys and experiences that were widely read and even translated in other languages. Some Dutch travellers began to collect antiquities acquired during their journeys in the Mediterranean with the most notable example being that of Gerard van Papenbroek (1673-1743), a famous collector who donated his collection of ancient sculptures to the University of Leiden in 1745.

In the early 19th century, the strong philhellenic movement of Europe, also reached The Netherlands and many Dutch supported the Greek fight for freedom offering financial and moral support.