With the 17th-century Netherlands under attack from England and its allies, and the country itself on the brink of civil war, humble naval commander Michiel de Ruyter is called upon to lead the Dutch fleet in a battle for freedom and unity.
Miscellaneous Next to the front door of the 'Amsterdam' house of Michiel the brown ANWB-shield is visible (with an explanation from the tourist board).
Miscellaneous The stone in the front gable of the 'Vlissingen' house of Michiel contains the date '1938'.
Miscellaneous When the camera zooms out from the aerial view of the French invading a city to a view from above the clouds, which then blends into a map, the view from space is actual modern day satellite photography. It shows many features and landmasses which did not exist in the 17th century. Most notable the whole province of Flevoland, the Maasvlakte near Rotterdam, the islands of Zeeland were not yet connected, various dams and bridges, and the greenhouses in the Westland.
Miscellaneous Three of the ships used in the production (Etoile, Shtandart, Utrecht) were 18th century ships, while the story is taking place in the 17th century.
Miscellaneous Neeltje uses the term "Lynching". The term was first used around the era during the American revolution.
Factual Mistake Michiel de Ruyter didn't actually die on the spot when he's hit by a cannon ball. He died from his injuries later.
Factual Mistake Michiel de Ruyter is shown as being present in The Hague at the lynching of the De Witt brothers but he was not in The Hague, as also a mob who tried to find him in reality discovered.
Factual Mistake In the movie Michiel's wife was at the funeral in Amsterdam. In reality she was not there at all. In those days it was normal that the widow did not attend the funeral. Michiels son Engel, a son-in-law and a grandson represented the family.
Paintings from the 17th century served as an inspiration for the design. In the beginning of the movie, when Klaartje the family maid pours milk, it is almost an exact replica of the famous painting 'The Milkmaid' by Johannes Vermeer.
One of the classic ships used in production of this movie a an accurate replica of "De Batavia". This is in fact a cargo ship, which sunk of the coast of Australia 1629. The building of this replica took place at the "Bataviawerf" in Lelystad, The Netherlands and was finished in 1995. The next project was a replica of Michiel de Ruyters actual ship "De Zeven Provincien" but this build has stalled due the lack of funds.
A special island was created in a lake (Markermeer lake) for filming on real ships.
In order to make the film accessible for school classes and families who want to see it in the cinema, a 12+ version with a few cuts in the most explicit scenes was also released.
In the movie the prince orders to give de Ruyter the best grave possible, in fact the the Ruyter family financed the grave of the admiral themselves.
The script development and research took six years to complete.
In the beginning of the movie, there are actual dutch marines(active in service) used as actors for shots on a ship.
The Battle of Scheveningen which opens the movie took place on July 31, 1653, while the final scene happened on March 18, 1677. This means that in reality, the events depicted in the movie spanned almost 24 years, but artistic license was taken in condensing the story and action to a few years at most (notice for example that the children in the movie hardly age).
Over 10,000 shots were recorded with four cameras during 46 shooting days.
In total, the VSX has delivered 3,000 man-days.
During the premiere at the Maritime Museum Amsterdam, a few dozen people protested against 'the glorification of a colonial sea villain' referencing De Ruyter's supposed involvement in Dutch slave trading.
3 days after release date awarded with "Gouden film" award, by the "Nederlands Film Festival" and "Nederlands Filmfonds". The "Gouden film" award is given to movies which have been seen by more than 100,000 visitors.
The house and the garden that depicts Michiels house in Amsterdam, including the view of the small bridge and ports is actually located in Zierikzee, a small town in the province Zeeland, Netherlands. The interior shots where largely done somewhere else. The garden was also used in the final episode of the 2014 season of the Dutch children program Wie Is De Mol? Junior.
The British Union Jack flag flown by English ships in the film may appear to be an anachronism, but in fact it's historically accurate. This is the version adopted in 1601 combining the flags of England, Scotland and Wales. The modern version of the flag, adopted in 1801, includes the thin red saltire ("x") of Northern Ireland, which is correctly omitted in the film.
To cut costs, director Roel Reiné filmed the scene where the De Witt brothers are lynched with a mob of 400 extras, of whom only 150 wore period costumes. The remaining 250 wore jeans and dark shirts, but by keeping the crowd in motion and using special camera tricks and editing, they are almost impossible to notice.
In the Netherlands, the movie comes in two versions in the cinema. One of the versions lack explicit images of a lynching and also the death scene of the main character is made less horrific. This version has certification: 12 years and younger.
Sign up and get access to some cool features. Create watchlists, check in at movies, rate them or even write whole reviews! You can also share literally everything on Moviebuff with your friends, enemies, frenemies, family, babysitter or pets. Is that enough incentive for you?