Leiden Special Collections Blog

The canon of the Netherlands as a Game of goose

The canon of the Netherlands as a Game of goose

It must have been a passionate Dutchman who had the idea of shaping the history of the Netherlands like a Goose game.

One of the games of old times in the Netherlands is the Game of goose. It must have been a passionate Dutchman who had the idea of shaping the history of the Netherlands like a Goose game. Just by playing it, one would learn about the history of one’s own country, from the arrival of the Batavians until… the closing year as designated by the publisher. This board game is a recent acquisition of Leiden University Libraries and ends with 1815, the year of the Battle of Waterloo (20055 25: 18). Though shaped as a game, all events and heroes represent the canon of the Netherlands.

This game board shows the princes of Orange, but not their adversaries Van Oldenbarnevelt or De Witt. The more the game progresses into the modern period, the more detailed the calendar is. A pit, as there is in a real Goose game, is of course absent in the national history. And 1815 is a wonderful finish: Napoleon defeated – the victory was ours!


Collection Leiden University Libraries (20055 25: 18)

Image licensed Creative Commons License

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