Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Deep Ones of Amsterdam

How did a tiny polity noted for herring production suddenly become the center of a globe spanning naval empire?  And why was "religious tolerance" such a hallmark of their culture?  Historians and economists have their own explanations, but Creamy Lyptus has discovered an intriguing clue to another possibility.   These curiously fishy adornments are found within Amsterdam's Nieuwe Kerk ("New Church").   The natives of Innsmouth surely would have felt right at home.

1 comment:

CoastConFan said...

On your fishy note, you may recall that the fish was a symbol of early Christianity especially before it became the official religion of the Romans. Going along with the nautical theme, the anchor was also a crypto symbol for the outlawed Christian sets in the Roman Empire. In the middle ages, a scallop shell was a symbol of the pilgrim.

The Netherlands had a primarily middle class urban culture as they had little land or agriculture. The sea was their outlet into the world for transpiration and trade. The middle class was the driving engine of their prosperity as they had no hereditary feudal aristocracy to slow down progress. The Dutch Protestant’s long bloody war of independence from Spain may have had something to do with their religious tolerance at least with co-religionists.

Propnomicon, on a side note on the character of the Dutch, a popular children’s book by Walter Edmonds, The Matchlock Gun (1941), takes place during the French and Indian War, features an obsolete Spanish matchlock used to repel an attack on a Dutch settlement of Guilderland, near what became Waterlvliet in the state of New York. The subtext of the book shows the resilience of a colonial Dutch family in America using the heirloom matchlock to fight yet another foe. Back when the book was written, the author presumed the reader’s familiarity with both Dutch history and American colonial history, something not to be taken for granted these days. I’d like to see it reissued with footnotes and explanations, but it’s probably not PC.