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Action at Bergen
1666
Willem van de Velde the Younger

Action at Bergen 1666 Willem van de Velde the Younger

An incident following the Dutch defeat at Lowestoft, which was the first fleet action of the Second Dutch War, 1665–1667.
A returning Dutch East India and Smyrna fleet was forced to put into Bergen, Norway, a neutral port for refuge since the English were blockading the Dutch coast. The English were anxious to capture such a rich prize and entered into a compact with the Danish king (Norway then being under Danish rule).

In return for ordering the shore batteries of Bergen not to interfere when the English squadron appeared, he would receive a half share of the spoils. Unfortunately the governor of Bergen did not receive this instruction in time and so the English faced fire from the shore batteries and the guns of the Dutch Indiamen and were forced to retire. Twelve Dutch Indiamen are shown spread across the canvas.

There was not room for all to be anchored in line and so only four are broadside to the enemy and in action. On the left several more are moored bow on, engaging with their chase guns. There are some lateen-rigged Danish vessels on the right of the harbour and the Danish shore batteries can be seen in action on the extreme left and right of the painting. The English squadron can only be glimpsed in the centre background and are almost totally obscured by the smoke of their
own guns.

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