Peace finally concluded, after eighty years of war with Spain the Republic accorded full recognition abroad as an independent state.
The grim struggle of the fewer thans about less than one million inhabitants of the delta area on the North Sea again
This is all more remarkable that was precisely during that dogged war that this Republic developed not only into a powerful and prosperous trading nation, but also, and this is what we are concerned within the present context, into a cultural power the like of which was scarcely known elsewhere. All branches of art came to great fruition here. The is no question of a decline. The standard of its artistic products was maintained, both as regards, quantity and quality and also in respect of of originality.
It is true that the architects, the sculptors and those working in the applied arts were subject to influences from abroad, but they managed to assimilate the into something that was entirely their own, a characteristically Dutch art. Nor was that specific character lost even during the lengthy period of French domination from 1795 to 1813, which put an end to the still relatively young Republic During this period too the Dutch artist remained completely himself.
Each region had its own character, which also found expression in the silversmithing practised there. The fact that among those Provinces the region of Holland was by far the most influential explains why Holland has continued, most erroneously, to be identified with the Netherlands right up to the present day.
SILVER OBJECTS COULD EASILY BE CONVERTED INTO M O N E Y.
Silver was estimated according to the weight, and to this were added the cost of making it and possible extra charges for such things as engraving, but these costs were always much less than that of the silver as material.
Only during the 19th century was this link between silver and money gradually lost. One finds a similar situation today in the case of diamonds, which are bought partly because of their beauty, but also as an investment.
It can be said that there was no actually much difference between silver coins and silver objects; the value of both was determined by their weight and both could easily be converted into money.
It is not surprising that in the wealthy Netherlands of the 17th and 18th Centuries an enormous quantity of often very large silver objects were made; apart from their beauty they displayed, just as clearly as a bag of money, the financial strength of their possessor.