Soooo…I’m really, really bummed that Germany didn’t make it. BUT, a lot of people are pretty pleased about the final Spain-Netherlands matchup, and there’s something pleasing about two countries who’ve never won the cup making history. Whatever. I blame the octopus.
Anyway, being just a bit of a geek, I thought of the biggest Spain-Netherlands confrontation in history, the 80 Years War (1568-1648), the war in which the United Provinces managed to wrest their independence from the Habsburg Empire. Here are some web resources on this conflict, which was a very protracted affair, and one which has fascinated military historians for some time. Geoffrey Parker’s studies, The Dutch Revolt and The Army of Flanders and the Spanish Road are still the classic studies.
Two well-done amateur sites are Steven’s Balagan and Lee Offen’s History Reconsidered, both of which have a good deal of information nicely presented. There are also several professional sites of interest to the historian and enthusiast: the Institute of Netherlands History has cataloged the correspondence of William of Orange, the great Dutch leader, and the University of Leiden has a complete site dedicated to the war, De Bello Belgico (click the English language option, which isn’t as complete as the Dutch, so polish up your Dutch).
Anyway, here’s to what should be a great World Cup final, doubtless more peaceful than this earlier conflict. Sports as a substitute for warfare has always struck me as a Good Thing.