A Promise of peace: The Peace of Westphalia of 1648

The signing of the Treaty that officially created an independent Dutch republic of the United Provinces in Münster in 1648 (painting by Gerard Terborch) (© Wikipedia)

In 1648, the leading powers of war-torn Europe finally agreed on the terms of a treaty that would end 30 years of devastating military conflict between Catholic and Protestant forces. The Peace of Westphalia and the parallel Treaty of Münster marked not only the end of the Thirty Years’ War, but also the end of the Eighty Years’ War in which the Dutch fought for independence from the Catholic Habsburg rulers. This peace agreement shaped Europe for generations to come and defined the boundaries of many of today’s nation states. The programme was made to coincide with the 350th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty.

Producer: Marijke van der Meer

Broadcast October 1, 1998