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Jan van Speijk, also written Van Speyk, was a Dutch naval lieutenant who became a hero to the Dutch people for his efforts in suppressing the Belgian Revolution. When the Belgian War of Independence broke out Van Speijk gained an appointment as commander of a gunboat. Van Speijk despised the Belgian independence movement. He announced once he would rather die "than become an infamous Brabander". On February 5, 1831, a gale caused his boat to drift into the quay at the port of Antwerp. Belgians stormed the boat and demanded Van Speijk to take the Dutch flag down. Rather than complying, he fired a pistol (some versions say he threw a lit cigar—few if any first-hand witnesses survived) into a barrel of gunpowder in the ships armory, legendary saying "Dan liever de lucht in", which translates as, "(I'd) rather be blown up then". The total number of casualties he caused remains unknown: possibly dozens of people. Twenty-eight of the 31 members of his crew were killed in the explosion....
 
 
Jan van Speijk, also written Van Speyk, was a Dutch naval lieutenant who became a hero to the Dutch people for his efforts in suppressing the Belgian Revolution. When the Belgian War of Independence broke out Van Speijk gained an appointment as commander of a gunboat. Van Speijk despised the Belgian independence movement. He announced once he would rather die "than become an infamous Brabander". On February 5, 1831, a gale caused his boat to drift into the quay at the port of Antwerp. Belgians stormed the boat and demanded Van Speijk to take the Dutch flag down. Rather than complying, he fired a pistol (some versions say he threw a lit cigar—few if any first-hand witnesses survived) into a barrel of gunpowder in the ships armory, legendary saying "Dan liever de lucht in", which translates as, "(I'd) rather be blown up then". The total number of casualties he caused remains unknown: possibly dozens of people. Twenty-eight of the 31 members of his crew were killed in the explosion....

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