Adriaen van Bergen

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The Turfschip van Breda

A Dutch skipper from Leur, Adriaen van Bergen devised the plot to recapture the city of Breda from the Spanish during the Eighty Years' War. In February 1590, he approached Prince Maurice with a Trojan horse type plan.

He often took his boat into Breda Castle, where Spanish troops were stationed, and so it was not inspected. On February 25, 70 men were secreted within the peat-filled boat, remembered by the Dutch as the Turfschip van Breda. Adriaen van Bergen however overslept, so the plan had to be delayed. The next day, Adriaen van Bergen suddenly withdrew from the operation. He had to be replaced by two nephews. With this new crew, the attack was successful and the essential fortress of Breda fell to Maurice.

Adriaen van Bergen's grandson Adriaen van der Donck played an important role at the colonization of New Netherland.

Cast silver medal by G. van Bijlaar, 1590, on the success of the "Turfschip", set in original "stekelvarkenrand" (hedgehog border) with eyelet. This way the medal proudly could be worn. Engraved initials N and I, maybe for one of the participants in the raid.

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