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Five blog posts about 350 years Groningen Relief (Bommen Berend)

22 June 2022

In 2022 the city of Groningen will celebrate the fact that 350 years ago it stood up against the aggression of Bommen Berend. The UG, too, will actively participate in the commemoration, as professors and students actively and enthusiastically fought for freedom in 1672.

The University of Groningen Library presents five blog posts, written by students wokring at the Special Collections department, in all of which the role of the Groningen academy plays a central part.

200 Years of the Siege of Groningen: A Celebration in Songs

The celebration of the Siege of Groningen, or ‘Bommen Berend’, is an old Groningen tradition. In the year 2022, we are celebrating the 350th anniversary of the Siege of Groningen, a jubilee that calls for a special celebration. Extensive festivities for special jubilees are, however, not new. The same thing happened in the year 1872, for instance, when Groningen celebrated the second centenary of the siege.

Anonymous Lament and Jubilant Speech: A Remarkable Contemporary Pamphlet on Groningen's Liberation

The strong reading culture of the early modern Republic meant that an incredible number of pamphlets were published every year, in which authors reflected on current affairs. Maeghd van Groningen (‘Maiden of Groningen’), published in the ‘Disaster Year’ 1672, is such a pamphlet.

The ‘True Account’ of the Siege of Groningen

Almost immediately after Groningen was besieged by Bishop Bernhard van Galen — better known in Groningen as ‘Bommen Berend’ —news of the Siege of Groningen spread like wildfire throughout the Low Countries. This was partially made possible by the multitude of printed pamphlets that found a ready demand among the hungry-for-news public in the cities of Holland. De Belegringh van Groeningen (‘The Siege of Groningen’) is such a pamphlet.

Two sides of one story

The year is 1673. The siege and liberation of the city of Groningen ended a year ago, and the city is slowly but surely repairing the damage caused by the flying bombs and cannonballs of the troops led by the Bishop of Münster. Dominicus Lens, a publisher based in the Kromme Elleboog, has just published a book retelling the story of the siege.

‘Narrated to Children’: The Siege of Groningen from a 19th-Century Nationalistic Perspective
‘It happens all too often that the Groningen youth engage in all manner of revelry on the 28th of August, but without the joy of knowing, or the ability to recount, what the actual meaning of this celebration is.’

In these lines, the Groningen headmaster Aart Cornelis de Zwart (1836-1885) described quite precisely his reason for ‘dit feestgeschenkje te maken voor den 28sten Augustus’ (‘creating this celebration gift for the 28th of August’).

Last modified:22 June 2022 10.55 a.m.
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