Celebrating Peace shows how peace treaties gave a significant boost to the Dutch national identity. Each war’s end brought space for thoughts of the future, of a better society, and the peace was celebrated with exuberant parties, cannon salvos, fireworks and songs of praise. Writers and poet-statesman gave voice to their patriotism and extolled the virtues of Dutch sea and war heroes. There were also the first signs of an emergent self-awareness as Europeans; peace was the glue between nations.
But in each treaty lurked the germ of new war. The former enemy was treated with contempt. A debate rose up on the precise nature of an ideal Netherlands. No matter which side Dutch writers took, a national identity took shape in their words.