Two ‘walking sticks’ of Van Oldenbarnevelt, anonymous, 1600 - 1625
The elderly statesman Johan van Oldenbarnevelt was supposed to have used one of these walking sticks to support himself as he climbed the scaffold on May 13 1619 to be beheaded. He had been condemned to death after a political trial. In the previous twenty years, he had been one of the driving forces in the young Dutch Republic. The sticks were preserved as relics. In 1657 Vondel wrote a moving poem about one of them.