The Rapenburg in Leiden, Carel Lodewijk Hansen, 1807
On 12 January 1807 a ship laden with 37,000 tons of gunpowder exploded in the centre of Leiden. It was a national disaster: 150 people died and many houses were destroyed. King Louis Napoleon, shown at left among Leiden city officials, acted like a true father to his subjects. Three days after the explosion, he visited the scene and organized financial help. This made him very popular with the Dutch.