Starting today, I will write regular posts about Dutch-Polish historic relations for the Dutch Embassy in Poland. The posts will appear on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, but I will copy them here as well.
We begin with the oldest known town in Poland with Dutch roots. It was founded in 1297 in Prussian lands governed by the Teutonic Knights, and named after the settlers’ homeland: Holland/t (later known as ‘Preussisch Holland’). Some have argued that the founders may have been exiles and refugees, who had escaped their homeland following the murder of Count Floris V, in 1296. It is possible that Joost van den Vondel in 1637 referred to the founding of the town in his famous Gysbreght van Aemstel, when the play’s hero is advised to escape from Amsterdam to Prussia, and to build a ‘New Holland’ there. The settlement came under Polish rule in 1466 and was later part of the Duchy of Prussia, which remained a fief of Poland until 1657. A view of the town was included in a book printed in Amsterdam in 1632. In 1945, ‘Holland’ became part of Poland once more. Its modern name is Pasłęk, near Elbląg.
*I originally wrote this post for the social media outlets of the Dutch Embassy in Poland. This was post no. 1.