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the lost kingdom. william I and belgium

15.10.2015 28.03.2016
Willem752 572

Perhaps you already knew that the Belgians were Dutch for a short while. But why was William I given nicknames like the Canal King and King Cheese? And why did the Belgians want William out and then back again? Find out in The Lost Kingdom.

In 2015 it will be 200 years since the Netherlands and what was to become Belgium were unified in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The kingdom held out for 15 years, from 1815 to 1830. For a short while the ‘Belgians’ and the Dutch inhabited one and the same state. Though King William I reigned as an enlightened despot, he also did a great deal to develop the industry, the infrastructure, education and cultural life.

But why did the South feel so differently about King William I from the North? How did William I come by nicknames like the Copper King and the Canal King? Why did the Belgians daub this slogan on street walls around 1830: “We want William out - should William grow wiser - we want William back”? What was the long-term significance of this period for Belgium?

The STAM exhibition The Lost Kingdom. William I and Belgium provides all the answers, and more. Telling quotes, cartoons, historical objects and interactive multimedia give visitors a sense of the zeitgeist of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands and the early years of the independent Belgium. An interactive game makes us reflect on the differences and similarities between the Belgians and the Dutch today.

With the cooperation of the National Archives of the Netherlands, The Hague, and lenders at home and abroad.

photographs by michiel hendryckx

Photographer Michiel Hendryckx establishes a link with the present day. In a new series of photographs he captures vestiges of the period of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands, in Belgium and the Netherlands. Photo: Michiel Hendryckx / De Leeuw van Waterloo.

loans from home and abroad

The exhibition will comprise exceptional objects, documents, paintings and prints from STAM’s own collection and from museums and heritage institutions at home and abroad, including:

the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the Royal Archives and the National Archives in The Hague, the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, the Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and of Military History, the Royal Library of Belgium, the Royal Collection, the Musical Instruments Museum, the National Bank of Belgium, the Print Collection of the University of Antwerp, the archives and collections of the University of Ghent and the Diocese of Ghent, and Ghent City Archives.

Objects in this exhibition

Also at STAM

Ghent City Museum

Godshuizenlaan 2 - 9000 Gent
09 267 14 00

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