The Guardian

'A little miracle': Dutch statesman's diary found 200 years after it was lost

Johan van Oldenbarnevelt chronicled final months before he was beheaded on 13 May 1619
Johan van Oldenbarnevelt’s diary chronicling his final months until his death was recently found after being lost for 200 years. Photograph: Ralf Silvius/Flehite Museum

Johan van Oldenbarnevelt is arguably the greatest Dutch statesman, as one of the founding fathers who helped liberate the Netherlands from Spanish rule, but for 200 years the whereabouts of a diary chronicling his final months before he was beheaded has been a mystery.

The prose – written over an eight-month period between 1618 and 1619 – was last seen in 1825 when a pastor, the Rev Adrian Stolker, studied the manuscript and made a

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