Russia and Europe: The Koenraad van Klenk Embassy to Moscow (1675-76)

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diplomacy, Russia, Dutch Republic (United Provinces), Tsar Aleksei Mikhailovich, Koenraad van Klenk, Balance of power, Stadtholder William III, Concert of Europe

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In this article based on Russian, Dutch, German, English, and Latin sources, Kees Boterbloem shows how the Dutch Embassy led by Koenraad van Klenk that visited Muscovy in 1675 and 1676 unfolded to the satisfaction of both the Russian hosts and their Dutch guests. This was in large measure the result of van Klenk’s expert knowledge about Muscovy and his sober assessment of the foreign policy priorities of Tsars Aleksei and Fyodor as well as his own country’s government. Meanwhile, the evidence regarding the embassy and its historical context are testimony to of a sudden intensified Muscovite interest in Europe and European interest in Muscovy. It suggests that Muscovy was no longer an “Orientalized” or “barbaric” outsider and had entered the Concert of Europe a generation before historians propose that Peter the Great “opened Russia’s window to the West.”

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Journal of Early Modern History, v. 14, issue 3, p. 187-217