CIVILIZATION VI: RISE AND FALL - QUEEN WILHELMINA LEADS THE NETHERLANDS

Imagine knowing at four years old that you’re next in line to lead the Dutch. That’s exactly what happened for Queen Wilhelmina, whose rule of the Netherlands began when she turned 18. Queen Wilhelmina saw the dawn of the 20th century, the economic collapse of the 1930s and led through both World Wars.

Her nearly 58-year reign is often remembered for her role maintaining Dutch neutrality during World War I and inspiring the Dutch resistance during World War II. Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom described the young Wilhelmina as pretty, polite, and intelligent, but Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany could attest to her wry wit. During a meeting prior to World War I, the Kaiser commented that his guards were “seven feet tall,” while Queen Wilhelmina’s were “only shoulder high.” She elegantly responded, “Quite true, Your Majesty, your guards are seven feet tall, but when we open our dikes, the water is ten feet deep!” The Netherlands maintained neutrality for the duration of World War I thanks to negotiations with the German Emperor—perhaps he remembered her threat. Despite Dutch neutrality, Wilhelmina supported a strong defense policy throughout the Great War.

The Dutch, well known for their trading, were blockaded by Allied forces by the close of WWI despite their claims of neutrality. Amidst all this, and around the wreckage of the world economy, Wilhelmina’s prudent investments would see her become one of the wealthiest people in the world. At least until Germany invaded the Netherlands on May 10th, 1940.

Queen Wilhelmina declared a “flaming protest” at the attacks on her territory. She fled the Netherlands, taking refuge in England and sending her family to Canada for the war’s duration. Her departure was a calculated rather than cowardly move— if she remained, her people would assume collaboration. Wilhelmina’s departure declared her resistance. Her government-in-exile remained in London until the war’s end, and she encouraged occupied territories to remain strong on Radio Oranje. Spurred on by her words, the Dutch resistance fought on until her return in 1945. 

 

UNIQUE UNIT: DE ZEVEN PROVINCIEN

The Dutch-built De Zeven Provinciën (“The Seven Provinces”)-class ships were not only devastating to enemy ships, but could lay siege to harbor cities. These powerful ships of the line were nearly half the length of a football field (either variety), armed with a minimum of 80 guns spread across two gun decks. They served as the naval backbone of multiple battles in the Anglo-Dutch wars—battles nobody expected a mercantile power to win. Nevertheless, these ships proved the Dutch could hold their own against other (presumably) mightier naval powers.

UNIQUE IMPROVEMENT: POLDER

The Dutch are respected not just for their trade empire, but for their ingenuity as well. Polders are low-lying land tracts encircled by dikes. The only way water enters the area is through manually operated devices. They result in land reclamation efforts, creating flood plains separated from the sea and drainable marshes. While there are obvious benefits like extra land to grow food and increased production, Polders also served a military purpose. As Wilhelmina alluded to Kaiser Wilhelm II, opening the sluice gates at high tide and sealing them at low tide created an inaccessible swamp the German army couldn’t cross during WWI.

UNIQUE CIV ABILITY: GROTE RIVIEREN

Literally translated – “Great Rivers” refers to waterways that have been a natural dividing line across the Netherlands. These rivers formed the boundaries between states and even served as a way to mark the edges of empires. The navigable rivers and canals built around them were the foundation upon which the Dutch built their culture – and massive mercantile fleets. That’s why the Netherlands gain major adjacency bonuses for Campuses, Theater Squares and Industrial Zones if near a river. 

UNIQUE LEADER ABILITY: RADIO ORANJE

 Wilhelmina broadcast a voice of resistance for the Dutch during WW II – “Radio Oranje” – inspiring her people from afar. Since the Dutch are world-renown for their trade routes and merchant ships, put them to good use with Wilhelmina’s ability. After establishing trades routes to and from foreign cities, you’ll gain Culture bonuses.

Wilhelmina is one of the nine new leaders coming with Civilization VI: Rise and Fall when the expansion releases on February 8, 2018.

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