This week focuses on the Netherlands and Denmark. Did you know Holland is not a country but a province? I didn’t either. Nor did I have any knowledge of the turbulent history of these countries – they named their wars after the number of years they took. The Dutch and Danish persevered to write a history steeped in endurance, cooperation and heart.
The Netherlands consists of twelve provinces in Northwest Europe, including North and South Holland, and three islands in the Caribbean. It is a low-lying region with about 20% of its land located below sea level, which contributes to the country’s name. In Dutch, Nederland literally means “Low Country.” Most of the areas below sea level are man-made through both careless peat extraction and land reclamation. The Netherlands was one of the first countries to have an elected parliament.
This country has a wide and varied history that is difficult to summarize. Under the hand of Charles V, ruler of the Holy Roman Empire and King of Spain, the current Netherlands region was part of the Seventeen Provinces of the Low Countries, which also included most of present-day Belgium, Luxembourg and land in France and Germany. The Eighty Years’ War with Spain began in 1568 and the northern provinces eventually seceded from Spain. A Dutch Republic was formed and the Dutch Empire grew to become one of the major seafaring powers of the 17th century, establishing trading posts all over the world. The United Kingdom of the Netherlands was formed in 1815 and added the southern provinces to the north for a stronger country.
The flag of the Netherlands was originally orange, white and blue out of respect for the first stadtholder (head of state) of the Dutch Republic, William I of Orange, who led the Dutch nationalists in a struggle for independence from Spain. It became known as the Prinsenvlag (“Prince’s flag”). In the mid-17th century, the orange was traded for red. The flag was confirmed by Royal Decree in 1937.
The Kingdom of Denmark is a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy with Queen Margrethe II. Absolute monarchy was introduced in 1660 and the Constitution of Denmark was signed in June 1849. Denmark’s history began well before that, however, with inhabitation occurring around 12,500 BC. The Romans notwithstanding, Denmark is the home of the Vikings, a group of explorers and conquerers who were instrumental in the settling and founding of Iceland, the British Isles, France and Western Europe in the 8th century.
This country has seen more than its fair share of war: Northern Seven Years War (1563–1570), Kalmar War (1611), Thirty Years’ War (1618–1648), Scanian War (1675–1679), Great Northern War (1700–1721), Napoleonic Wars, World War I and World War II. What I think Denmark should be known for today is LEGO, based in Billund. That way we can build up instead of tear down.
The flag of Denmark is a white Scandinavian Cross, or Nordic Cross, which represents Christianity. The cross has also been adopted by the Nordic countries of Sweden, Norway, Finland and Iceland. According to legend, during the Battle of Lyndanisse in 1219 a banner depicting a white cross fell from the sky at a time when the Danes were losing. They saw it as a sign from God and Danish King Valdemar II went on to defeat the Estonians.
THE SQUARES – WEEK 38
Square two is a chain stitch square – 1 SC, chain 1 across. Square four is a “U” for the alphabet blanket, plus square three (a corner), and square seven. I made another bonus square as well, square eight. I’ve been trying to use up some off-white yarn that my grandmother gave me. I really like how it looks when combined with the turquoise.
Square Count: 266
Bonus Squares: 2