Until the early 20th century, nearly every town had its own barracks. It was quite normal to see soldiers in uniform in the streets. That uniform was not olive drab, but often had vivid colours that caught the eye. Every regiment and every rank had to be clearly identifiable, even on the battlefield. Army and society were closer to each other than nowadays, though - at the same time - the army was a world unto itself, with its own rules, its own historians and its own artists.
This collection illustrates military life from the 16th to the middle of the 20th century. With uniforms from the age of chivalry to 1900. Battles fought during the Eighty Years' War and later can be followed in drawings and prints. Photographs feature the police actions of 1947 and 1948/1949 in the then Dutch East Indies and the mobilizations of 1914 and 1940. Sketches, ego documents and exercise books give a picture of life in the barracks.