Description de touts les Pays-Bas

Donation by a private individual
Acquisition: 1996
Date: 1613 53
Size: Oblong 19 x 25 cm.
Call number: 2209 B 13

Eyewitness accounts are an important source for daily life in times long past. An example of this is the work of the Florentine Lodovico Guicciardini (1521-1589). Shortly before his twenty-first birthday, Guicciardini was sent to Antwerp as part of his training to become a commercial agent. He would spend the rest of his life there. While it is unknown whether his business endeavours were successful, he gained a prominent position in the city's Italian community and occasionally served as consul. He became well-known - and is still recognised today - for his account of the Netherlands in his day, the Descrittione di tutti I Paesi-Bassi.
Guicciardini wrote the work on the eve of the Dutch Revolt or Eighty Years' War. The Italian version was published in 1567. The book was an immediate success. It was translated into French in the same year, and German, Dutch, Latin and English versions were published in subsequent years, each in multiple editions.

In addition to describing the cities and regions of the Republic, Guicciardini also included his observations of the people, the national character, the history, the economy and the language. With regard to Delft - the birthplace of Wim van Drimmelen - he wrote: 'Hier teghen zijn uyt Delft ghesproten veel deuchdelijcke ende vermaerde mannen' or 'Delft has produced many decent and famous men'. And he was right!
The book featured here - a French edition printed in Arnhem in 1613 - was donated to the Koninklijke Bibliotheek at the end of the twentieth century. It was part of a donation comprising 223 remarkable books, many of which were illustrated. The generous donor preferred to remain anonymous. (MvD)