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.
The celebration of the Relief of Groningen, or ‘Bombing Bernard’, is an old Groningen tradition. In the year 2022, we are celebrating the 350th anniversary of the Relief 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 Relief.
The strong reading culture of the early-modern Dutch 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.
Almost immediately after Groningen was besieged by Bishop Bernhard van Galen — better known in Groningen as ‘Bombing Bernard’ —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.
The year is 1673. The siege 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. That same year, a German version of the same story is published which substantially differs from its Dutch counterpart. Why?
‘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’).
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