As a history student learning about the seventeenth century (or any other period of the past to be honest) I often wondered: How do these people writing about history really know what happened? Obviously this is a hairy question with many different answers, many involving good primary sources.

Screenshot from the "Tijdinghe uyt verscheyde quartieren" in 1619

Screenshot from the “Tijdinghe uyt verscheyde quartieren” in 1619

My follow up question was sometimes: Did they read the newspaper from that period or something? Well, they probably did. I was never very good at checking the references.

Anyway, yesterday we got a visit from the people who developed Delpher. a project which has digitized over a million books, newspapers and magazines from the seventeenth, eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Now anyone can trace the thirty years’ war (1618-1648) through the Dutch news from that period. At least that’s what I would do with it, there are of course many other things to explore with this amazing collection.


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