Johann Heinrich Keller, Inname van Brielle door de watergeuzen op 1 april 1572 (Capture of Brielle by the Sea Beggars on 1 April 1572), 1759
In 1759 Johann Heinrich Keller painted an important moment in the history of Brielle and of our country: the capture of Brielle by the Sea Beggars on 1 April 1572. The Eighty Years’ War - the uprising by the Netherlands against the Spanish King Philip II, also known as the Uprising  - was in full flow at that time. William of Orange led the uprising from Dillenburg (Germany), and thereby receive considerable assistance from the Sea Beggars.

The Sea Beggars were people who had fled from the rule of the Duke of Alva. They roamed the seas and attacked ships. In 1572 the English Queen Elisabeth I banned them from landing at English ports, so they decided to travel to northern Germany. En route they were surprised by a fierce storm and were forced to change course. On 1 April 1572 the fleet led by Willem Bloys van Treslong anchored off Brielle.
Together with commander Admiral Lumey, Bloys van Treslong decided to capture Brielle. The city was seized in the name of William of Orange. On 5 April town carpenter Rochus Meeuwisz prevented the town from falling back into Spanish hands: on that day he cut open the Nieuwlandse flodgates, as a result of which the land around the town was flooded (inundation) and the enemy’s attack could be repelled. Brielle was the first taste of freedom (Libertatis Primitiae) and Alva lost his spectacles (an pun on the word ‘bril’, Dutch for ‘spectacles’).

Brielle was the first town to be captured from the Spaniards. This was followed by towns such as Vlissingen (Flushing) and Alkmaar. An ever greater area fell into the hands of the Beggars and William of Orange. The Spaniards were losing ground.