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Belgium as a Lion
In the 16th and 17th centuries, maps of the Low Countries frequently were drawn in the form of a lion, known by its Latin designation, Leo Belgicus. The “Belgian” lion usually included all of the 17 provinces variously referred to as the Netherlands or the Low Countries, even though the seven provinces of the north broke away in 1581 to form the Dutch Republic. Symbols of Dutch patriotism, these maps often appeared in 17th-century Dutch paintings, hanging on the walls of inns or private homes, as in Jan Vermeer’s ...
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