Length: 176,35 meters, over all
Beam: 29,20 meters
Draft: 5,55 meters
Displacement: 16680 tons, full load
4 x diesel
generators (3,7 MW, each);
2 x POD's at 5,5
1 x bow thruster
Speed: 19,5 knots, max.
Crew: 146 + 547 Marines
Aviation/Hangar: flight deck (58 x 25 meters) and
hangar (600 m2) -
for a mix up to
6 medium weight
helicopters: NH-90 or Lynx or Sea King;
4 heavy weight
helicopters: EH-101 Merlin or CH-47D Chinook;
Well-deck: 575 m2;
vehicle-deck: 960 m2;
vehicle-deck: 1140 m2;
stores: 770 m2;
Johan de Witt will be the
second LPD in use by the Royal Netherlands Navy. The main mission
of the Johan de Witt will be the transport and disembarkation of a fully
equipped battalion marines to the objective area using organic landing assets
such as helicopters and landing craft or existing port facilities.
In addition the ship is provided
with Combined Joint Task Force facilities (CJTF), involving 402 men.
With the required
capabilities the ship is also well suited for secondary missions such as
military sealift or disaster relief.
Johan de Witt will have a larger vehicle transport capacity than the
Rotterdam, which has demonstrated full functionality for dock and helicopter
operations in all weather conditions.
The platform of the Johan de Witt has been designed with generous operational
spaces, deck areas and mobilisation and access routes to ensure swift
adaptation to various tasks.
The vessel has facilities for extensive medical and surgical care.
Johan de Witt (born: September
24, 1625 in Dordrecht / died: August 20, 1672 in The Hague) was a key figure
in Dutch politics at a time when the Republic of the United Provinces was one
of the Great Powers in Europe, dominating world trade and thus one of the
wealthiest nations in the world.
Johan de Witt was born as the son of Jacob de Witt, an influential burgher
from the patrician class in the city of Dordrecht which, in the seventeenth
century, was one of the most important cities of the dominating province of Holland.
Johan and his older brother Cornelis de Witt grew up in a privileged
environment in terms of education, his father having important scholars and
scientists, such as Isaac Beeckman, Jacob Cats, Gerhard Vossius and Andreas
Colvius as good acquaintances. Jacob de Witt greatly valued stoicism.
Johan and Cornelis both attended the latin school in Dordrecht, which
impregnated both brothers even more with the values of the Roman Republic. As
Johan proved to be a highly gifted student, he was awarded by being allowed
the role of Julius Caesar in a school play.
After having attended the Latin school in Dordrecht, he studied at the
University of Leiden where he excelled at mathematics and law. He received
his doctorate from the University of Angers in 1645. He practiced law as an
attorney in The Hague as an associate with the firm of Frans van Schooten.
In 1650 he was appointed leader of the deputation of Dordrecht to the States
of Holland, the same year stadtholder William II of Orange died. In 1653 De
Witt became raadpensionaris of Holland and, as such, the factual leader of
this governing body in 1653. Controlling Holland, the most powerful province,
he served as the most important administrator in the Republic of the United
Provinces as a whole. Being the most influentian administrator of the United
Provinces, the raadpensionaris of Holland was also referred to as the Grand
Pensionary. Johan applied his mathematical knowledge to the Republic's
financial and budgetary problems.
Johan de Witt brought about peace with England after the First Anglo-Dutch
War with the Treaty of Westminster in the year 1654. The peace treaty had a
secret annex, the Act of Seclusion, forbidding the Dutch ever to appoint
William II's infant son as new stadtholder. This annex had been attached on
instigation of Cromwell who felt that a relative the executed Charles I
((William III was a grandson of Charles) in power in Holland was not in the
interests of England. De Witt did his utmost to prevent any member of the
House of Orange from gaining any power, convincing many provinces to abolish
the stadtholderate entirely. Influenced by the values of the Roman republic,
he bolstered his policy by publicly endorsing the theory of republicanism. He
is known to have contributed personally to the Interest of Holland, a radical
republican textbook published in 1662 by his supporter Pieter de la Court.
De Witt's power base was the wealthy merchant class. The people supporting
him were called the "States faction", opposed by the "Orange
faction" that was popular among the artisan class. This antagonism
paralleled a division between moderate and intolerant Calvinists. In the
period following the Treaty of Westminster the Republic increased in wealth
and influence under De Witt's leadership. De Witt created a strong navy,
appointing one of his political cronies, Lieutenant-Admiral Jacob van
Wassenaer Obdam, as supreme commander of the confederate fleet. Later De Witt
became a personal friend of Lieutenant-Admiral Michiel de Ruyter. The Second
Anglo-Dutch War began in 1665, lasting until 1667 when it ended with the
Treaty of Breda, in which De Witt negotiated very favorable agreements for
the Republic after the partial destruction of the British fleet in the Raid
on the Medway, originally conceived by De Witt himself.
His pro-French policy however would prove to be his undoing. In the Dutch
rampjaar (disaster year) of 1672, when France and England during the
Franco-Dutch War (Third Anglo-Dutch War) attacked the Republic, the Orangists
took power by force and expelled him. Recovering from an earlier attempt on
his life in June, he was assassinated by a carefully organized lynch
"mob" after visiting his brother Cornelis de Witt in prison. He was
decoyed into this trap by a forged letter.
After the arrival of Johan de Witt the city guard was sent away to stop
plundering farmers, the farmers were not found. Without any protection
against the assembled mob the brothers were doomed. They were taken out of
the prison and on their way to the scaffold killed. Immediately after their
death the bodies were mutilated and fingers toes and other parts were cut
Nowadays most historians assume that his adversary and successor as leader of
the government stadtholder William III of Orange was involved. At the very
least he protected and rewarded the killers.
Besides being a statesman Johan de Witt also was an accomplished
mathematician. In 1659 he wrote "Elementa Curvarum Linearum" as an
appendix to his translation of René Descartes' "La Géométrie".
In 1671 his "Waardije van Lyf-renten naer Proportie van Los-renten"
was published ('The Worth of Life Annuities Compared to Redemption Bonds').
This work combined the interests of the statesman and the mathematician. Ever
since the Middle Ages a Life Annuity was a way to "buy" someone a
regular income from a reliable source. The state for instance could provide a
widow with a regular income until her death, in exchange for a 'lump sum' up
front. There were also Redemption Bonds that were more like a regular state
loan. De Witt showed - by using probability mathematics - that for the same
amount of money a bond of 4% would result in the same profit as a Life
Annuity of 6% (1 in 17). But the 'Staten' at the time were paying over 7% (1
The publication about Life Annuities is seen as the first mathematical
approach of chance and probability.
The drop in income for the widows contributed no doubt to the "bad
press" for the brothers De Witt. Significantly, after the violent deaths
of the brothers the 'Staten' issued new Life Annuities in 1673 for the old
rate of 1 in 14.
In addition, in his Elementa curvarum linearum, De Witt derived the basic
properties of quadratic forms, an important step in the field of linear
In Popular Culture
The lynching of the De Witt Brothers is depicted with a dramatic intensity in
the first chapter of The Black Tulip, a historical fiction novel written by
Alexandre Dumas, père in 1850, and this event has implications for the whole
plot line of the book.
In its time, Dumas' book has helped make this tragedy known to a French
readership (and a readership in other countries into whose languages the book
was translated) otherwise ignorant of Dutch history.