The recently published issue of The Rijksmuseum Bulletin includes an article by Jan de Hond and myself entitled “The Sword and the Album. Material Memories and an Eighteenth-Century Poetic Account on the Execution of Johan van Oldenbarnevelt (1619)”. A digital copy can be found on my Academia.edu page.
In 1878 the Rijksmuseum acquired two objects related to the violent death of Johan van Oldenbarnevelt: the executioner’s sword allegedly used to behead the Land’s Advocate and an eighteenth-century album of poems about the weapon of execution. The article describes how these objects have functioned in the Oldenbarnevelt memory culture and shows how they have on new functions and meanings over the centuries – from a possible executioner’s weapon, to a republican and then national relic, to an objet de mémoire.