Siege of Oudewater (1575)

Siege of Oudewater (1575)
Part of the Eighty Years' War

Depiction of the siege of Oudewater.
Date19 July – 7 August 1575
LocationOudewater, Utrecht
(present-day the Netherlands)
Result Spanish victory
Dutch Republic Dutch Rebels Spain Spain
Commanders and leaders
Spain Gillis van Berlaymont

The Siege of Oudewater was an event during the Eighty Years' War that took place in the Dutch town of Oudewater, culminating in the Oudewater Massacre ((Dutch) Oudewaterse moord).[1][2] The siege by Spanish troops started on 19 July 1575 and ended on 7 August 1575, when the town was taken by storm and plundered.[3]


In 1568 a garrison of the Spanish Army was stationed in Oudewater. On 19 june 1572 Adriaen van Swieten, a nobleman and deputy of William of Orange, entered the town with a small number of troops and convinced it to join the Dutch Revolt against Philip II of Spain.[4][5]

Siege and massacre

The siege by Spanish troops under command of stadtholder Gillis van Berlaymont started on 19 July 1575 and ended in a bloodbath on 7 August 1575. Many of the inhabitants were put to the sword, and some citizens set their own houses on fire to spite looters, leading to a major conflagration. In total as much as half the population of the town may have died.[6]


In 1615 the States of Holland authorised pensions to the 300 survivors of the massacre then still living, the last payments on which were made in 1664.[7] An annual commemoration of the massacre was instituted in 1608. It is now held each year on the first Sunday on or after 7 August.[8]


  1. Kuijpers, Erika; Pollmann, Judith; Müller, Johannes; et al., eds. (2013). Memory Before Modernity : Practices of Memory in early modern Europe. Leiden: Brill. pp. 191–192. ISBN 9789004261242.
  2. Duffy, Christopher (1996). Siege Warfare : The Fortress in the early modern World 1494-1660 (New ed.). London: Routledge. p. 72. ISBN 978-0415146494.
  3. "Oudewater". Universiteit Leiden.
  4. Bangs, Carl (1998). Arminius : A Study in the Dutch Reformation. Eugene, Or.: Wipf & Stock. pp. 39–42. ISBN 978-1579101503.
  5. Tracy, James D. (2008). The Founding of the Dutch Republic : War, Finance, and Politics in Holland, 1572-1588 (1. publ. ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 60, 99–100. ISBN 978-0199209118.
  6. Nettie Stoppelenburg, Oudewaterse Moord, Geschiedkundige Vereniging Oudewater. Accessed 2 April 2016.
  7. Marianne Eekhout, Furies in beeld. Herinneringen aan gewelddadige innames van steden tijdens de Nederlandse Opstand op zeventiende-eeuwse schilderijen, De Zeventiende Eeuw 30/2 (2015), pp.243–266.
  8. Oudewaterse Moord wordt herdacht, Zenderstreeknieuws, Nieuws uit Montfoort/Oudewater, 24 July 2015. Accessed 2 April 2016.

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