Jan van Speijk Debating whether to Set Fire to the Gunpowder

During the Belgian Revolution, Jan van Speijk was in command of a Dutch gunboat. When on 5 February 1831 the ship was in danger of falling into rebel Belgian hands, he decided to set fire to a keg of gunpowder. That moment is depicted here: Van Speijk has made up his mind, and his crew take to their heels. Van Speijk’s act of courage made him a national hero in the Netherlands.

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