Liberation of Leiden.
Early in the Sixteenth Century the Netherlands became part of the Spanish empire. The people of Leiden resisted a siege by the Spanish army. When the Spanish frontal attacks failed to take the town, the Spaniards tried to starve the population into submission. The decimated citizens of Leiden, however, refused to surrender. On the third of October 1574, after months of hunger, illness and starvation, Leiden was finally liberated by the Dutch rebel army. This army broke dikes around the Netherlands, flooding the country to drive out the Spanish. The people of Leiden streamed out of the Burcht and and ate food left behind by the Spanish, and supplies brought over the flooded countryside by Dutch supply ships. The third of October is celebrated (Leidens Ontzet) by the inhabitants of Leiden by eating the same food consumed during the liberation in 1574: herring, white bread, and hutspot (a stew). Of course, there also is an enormous town festival on this day.

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