This story looks at one key element that shaped Dutch culture and society.
The Seventeenth century was the golden age of Dutch painting. The growing strength of the Dutch economy encouraged a strong art market.
There were a remarkable number of artists producing an unparalleled range of subjects. These were bought by the middle classes as well as the wealthy and nobility.
The strong economy and prosperous society were to a large extent the products of maritime mercantile wealth. One that was protected by a powerful navy that was for a period the foremost in Europe.
Trading links were profitably developed to all quarters of the globe.