Angstcultuur en complotdenken tijdens het Bestand | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 134 Number 2
  • ISSN: 0040-7518
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1163



A remarkable public attack was launched against John of Oldenbarnevelt during the Dutch Truce Conflicts of 1609-1619, which culminated in his execution in May 1619. This article analyses the genesis and effectiveness of this early modern ‘character assassination’ of a leader of state. It argues that this attack derived its power from a carefully nourished, international, protestant culture of fear, in which the preservation of the Dutch Republic was deemed essential to the survival of protestantism as a whole. Two interconnected elements of this culture of fear played into the hands of Oldenbarnevelt’s opponents: the steady stream of international news to the Dutch Republic due to its new infrastructure of news, and the dominant conspiratorial mindset amongst the elite and the wider public alike.


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