Photo Erik and Petra Hesmerg

Monument to Michiel de Ruyter

(1607−1676)

1681, Rombout Verhulst, various types of marble

Monument to Michiel de Ruyter
Photo Erik and Petra Hesmerg

The Netherlands’ greatest naval hero is Admiral De Ruyter. He was a role model for Dutch men: unpretentious, courageous, and clever. It is sometimes forgotten that his heroic deeds helped to safeguard the Atlantic slave trade. Besides serving the Dutch Republic, Michiel Adriaenszoon also worked in the service of the King of Denmark, who knighted him in 1660. Depicted above the mausoleum is the admiral’s family coat of arms. The three women personify Fame and Michiel’s primary virtues: Caution and Strength. The central figure is Fame with her trumpet, on the left is Caution with a mirror, a serpent (representing Minerva, goddess of wisdom), and a rooster. Strength, on the right, leans against a column with the headdress of the Egyptian goddess Isis. The sculptor Rombout Verhulst based his design for the portrait of Michiel de Ruyter on a death mask of the admiral.