THE DUTCH GOLDEN AGE WAS A PERIOD IN DUTCH HISTORY, ROUGHLY SPANNING THE 17TH CENTURY, IN WHICH DUTCH TRADE, SCIENCE, MILITARY, AND ART WERE AMONG THE MOST ACCLAIMED IN THE WORLD. INDEED, THE NETHERLANDS WAS ONE OF THE MOST POWERFUL COLONIAL POWERS AT THE DAWN OF THE MODERN AGE. IT WAS DURING THIS PERIOD, THAT STARTED WITH THE EIGHTY YEARS WAR (1568–1648) AND ENDED AT THE END OF THE CENTURY WHEN THE THEN CALLED REPUBLIC OF THE SEVEN UNITED NETHERLANDS BECAME THE MOST POWERFUL NATION TO DOMINATE WORLD TRADE AND CONQUER A VAST COLONIAL EMPIRE.
The Republic of the Seven United Netherlands founded the Dutch East India Company, operating the largest fleet of merchantmen of all nations, and also possessed one of the strongest and fastest navies in the world. Those two organizations together caused the downfall of the Portuguese and Spanish maritime dominance and made the Dutch Republic, and especially the County of Holland, the wealthiest and most urbanized region in the world. Though much has changed since that time, the Dutch never lost their love/hate relationship with the seas, probably because of their geographical situation (26% of the Netherlands is under sea level) and many Dutchmen lived from what the sea had to give (and take).
The roots that created the first Dutch Republic can still be found in the current Dutch Kingdom. At that time the Republic was ruled by one organism – the States General – and existed out of seven provinces: The Duchy of Guelders, the County of Zeeland, the Lordship of Utrecht, the Lordship of Overijssel, the Lordship of Frisia, the Lordship of Groningen and Ommelanden and earlier mentioned County of Holland. (In fact, there was an eighth province, the County of Drenthe, but this area was so poor it was denied representation in the States General.) Today the Netherlands, though a kingdom with a ruling king and queen, still holds the States General in honor and though one country, the different provinces (12 today) are still there. They all pretty much melted into one, but there is one province, Frisia or Friesland, that still holds a certain form of independence in culuture and even language.
Maybe because of the simple nature of the inhabitants, maybe because of the fact the Netherlands never were – and still aren’t – a very big country, the Dutch have always been more negotiators than conquerors. Don’t get me wrong, they are fighters, but they are not aggressors. A fact that we can see in the nations rich history, but also today, in the current demographic composition. The Dutch society is one of the most racial and cultural mixed societies in the world. There are many examples of that but if one place comes to mind where we can have a perfect visual representation of todays Dutch society it is probably Gert Kist’s photography website Malemodel.nl. Here we find hundreds of young men, some foreign but most Dutch, that are a living example of how the Dutch have evolved over the centuries, not in the least due to their expansion drift that dates back to that Golden Age. And if there is one example that brings all of this history perfectly together, it is probably Gert Kist’s latest addition Filipe.
Though Gert Kist seems to have a preference for models that are between 18 and their mid twenties, he had no problem making an exception for Filipe. Filipe is 30 years old and lives in the most northern Dutch province Friesland. As mentioned before, Friesland is pretty much the only one of the original 7 Low Countries that still holds a certain individuality. One can notice it in the local culture, hear it in the language, but also see it in the physical appearance of the men, who are mostly blond. Filipe however is dark-haired, which is all together not that strange if you know that he is – yes, indeed, Portuguese. Living in the Netherlands since early childhood, Filipe is also a perfect example of that typical Dutch ability of integration and cultural acceptance. And like the Dutch, he possesses that fighting spirit: Filipe trains hard to stay in (perfect) shape and also works as personal trainer, kick boxer and safety guard. Looking back at the rich history of the Dutch, it truly seems that Gert Kist has found in Filipe the perfect specimen of Holland’s glory. Who ever said that the Golden Age was finished… -BM-
GERT KIST | BEAUTIFULMAG