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About the book
The seventeenth century is not just the period in European cultural history that largely coincides with the early Enlightenment. It is also the period known as the Golden Age in the history of the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands. In France and England people looked with apprehension upon this new, rich state, this colonial world power without a king, without a court of nobles, with self-government by a people.
René Descartes and Baruch Spinoza were dominant in philosophy, Christiaan Huygens and Antoni van Leeuwenhoek in science, Rembrandt van Rijn and Johannes Vermeer in art, and Joost van den Vondel and Pieter Corneliszoon Hooft in literature. For most of them, light was of fundamental importance. This book is about the light that in the seventeenth century was concentrated so brilliantly in a small geographical area, enabling it to gain a crucial position in world history and bringing about an unprecedented revolution.