Major conference to mark 350th anniversary of Dutch attack on Chatham and the Medway, Amsterdam 23–24 June 2017

Dutch Attack on the Medway, June 1667 by Pieter Cornelisz van Soest, c. 1667. Greenwich Museums. Public domain.

The Vrienden van de Witt (NL) and the Naval Dockyards Society (UK)[1] announce a major international conference to be held in on 23–24 June 2017, commemorating the 350th anniversary of the Dutch attack on Chatham Dockyard and the River Medway. This action, which culminated in the capture of the flagship Royal Charles, has traditionally been regarded as one of the most remarkable feats in the annals of naval history, and as one of the most ignominious military defeats ever suffered by Britain.

The conference will be held at the Marine Etablissement (Naval Barracks) in Amsterdam, and conference proceedings will be held in English. Keynote speakers are Dr David Onnekink (Utrecht University) and Professor Henk den Heijer (Professor Emeritus, Leiden University); the summary and conclusions will be provided by Professor John Hattendorf (US Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island).

The conference will address a wide range of themes, including the causes and course of the second Anglo-Dutch war, early modern naval warfare and ideologies, the Dutch and British navies, dockyards and other naval facilities in the two countries, Dutch amphibious tactics during the Chatham attack, British responses to that attack, and the legacies and commemoration of the Dutch raid.

Other speakers are: Dr Marc van Alphen (Netherlands Institute of Military History, The Hague), Dr Richard Blakemore (University of Reading), Dr Ann Coats (University of Portsmouth and the Naval Dockyards Society), Dr Remmelt Daalder (Scheepvaartmuseum, Amsterdam), Dr David Davies (Historian and author, Society for Nautical Research, Navy Records Society), Dr Alan Lemmers (Netherlands Institute of Military History, The Hague), Dr Philip MacDougall (historian and author, NDS), Erik Odegard (Leiden University), Dr Gijs Rommelse (Utrecht University, Fellow of the Scheepvaartmuseum), Professor Louis Sicking (Leiden University/Free University) and Dr Chris Ware (University of Greenwich).

Further details can be obtained from Dr Ann Coats,, and a booking form is available on the Naval Dockyards Society website, and here: Anglo-Dutch Conference booking form


[1] The Vrienden van de Witt is a Dutch organisation which exists to commemorate and promote the legacies of the great seventeenth century statesmen, the brothers Johan and Cornelis de Witt. The Vrienden engage in a number of philanthropic activities. Further details can be found at their website (Dutch), The Naval Dockyards Society is a UK-based international organisation which aims to explore the civil branches of navies and their material culture. Further details can be found at its website,

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