Act of Abjuration (Plakkaat van Verlatinghe) on display in the House of Representatives
Since Tuesday, 6 February 2018, a replica of the Act of Abjuration (Plakkaat van Verlatinghe), the unofficial declaration of independence of the Netherlands from 1581, is on display near the Plenary Hall of the House of Representatives. The President of the House, Ms Arib, was the first to take a look at the replica. "The Act of Abjuration tells us who we are", said Arib.
By adopting the Act of Abjurtion, on 26 July 1581, the States General, the representative body of the provinces of the Netherlands, declared themselves independent from the Spanish king Philip II. This makes the Act of Abjuration one of the birth documents of the independent Dutch state. The Act of Abjuration expresses an idea that was revolutionary in those days, namely that subjects are not there for the king, but the king is there for his subjects. Recently, the Act of Abjuration was voted the number one showpiece of the Netherlands in a television show by Jort Kelder. In the final vote it defeated the microscope developed by Antoni van Leeuwenhoek and the painting "the Night Watch" by Rembrandt van Rijn.
Prominent place in the building of the House
The proclamation as number one showpiece of the Netherlands prompted the House of Representatives to give the replica of the Act of Abjuration a prominent place in the building of the House, together with a replica of the Union of Utrecht from 1579, which is considered as the first Constitution of the Netherlands. The original documents can be found in the National Archives in The Hague. The replicas were unveiled near the Plenary Hall of the House of Representatives. After some time, they will move to a showcase near the public gallery, so that visitors of the House of Representatives can also have a look at them.
According to the President of the House Arib, the Act of Abjuration was elected number one showpiece of the Netherlands for good reasons: "The Act of Abjuration is about the core values of our democracy: freedom to think and believe what you want. It is a good thing that this document is now also on display in the House of Representatives, the heart of the Dutch democracy. It tells us who we are: a country where anyone can speak out freely, where anyone can believe what they want and where there is room for the opinions of minorities."