Water Inspired Holland’s Visual Artists During the Golden Dutch Age

Water Inspired Holland’s Visual Artists During the Golden Dutch Age

Water as the art subject of a figurative or still life painting is taken as a symbol of change in purifying ways, presented in variation of moods and emotions. A painting of an ocean scenery characterized by calm pristine waters against a backdrop of blue skies, evoke feelings of serenity and utmost tranquility. In fact water in The Netherlands had historical significance to many, including the visual artists of the Dutch Golden Age.


Water can also symbolize upheaval when the artwork depicts a tumultuous storm; or frantic waves slamming against a rocky seaside landscape. A still life water painting can simply drip to depict a persistent call for attention; or glisten as dew drops that symbolize new life or resurrection.

The Historical Significance of Water in The Netherlands

During the 17th century, the Dutch Republic enjoyed a period of great wealth that came to be known as the Dutch Golden Age. Prominent Dutchmen of different professions became shipbuilders and experts in marine travel, trading and warfare. Their accomplishments brought tremendous economic successes to The Netherlands. That is why it doesn’t come as a surprise at all why most 17th century Dutch artists have a penchant for marine-themed paintings.

The most impressive are the likes of Willem van de Velde the Elder and the Younger, as well as Hendrick Vroom, as they themselves had sailed the high seas. Their seafaring experiences enabled them to paint various sea vessels — from ordinary fishing boats to transport ships and the powerful warships of Holland’s naval fleet. These painters also introduced concepts of creating light effects to depict varying weather and atmospheric conditions with realism.

Peat and Storm Flooding a Bane in Northern Holland

It was also during the Golden Dutch Age when many of North Holland’s private investors took actions in reclaiming land that have turned into lakes because of storm floods and the resulting peat formations. The increasing number of lakes that had formed in North Holland during the period had eaten away agricultural lands important to Dutch traders.

One of such polders or reclaimed municipalities was Heerhugowaard, which lost no time in growing its population. However, the municipality’s limited and artificial water resources did not inspire locals to become visual artists. What the reclaimed areas needed instead are highly trained plumbing professionals that must comply with local Dutch laws and plumbing requirements, including observations of minimum service line size and minimum water supply.

This merely suggests that if a visual artist from Heerhugowaard was to make water a theme of his or her artwork, the change it will symbolize is a shift to more sustainable means of water supply and plumbing systems.

Since water problems impact the economic activities of this community, seasoned plumbers or loodgieters are quite in demand. As a matter of fact, plumbing companies in this municipality are available 24/7 and can be accessed through their corresponding website.