Real-life Bridgerton or Pride and Prejudice, what did it look like?

Overexaggerated or reality?

If you have seen the Netflix-hit Bridgerton, you will have seen how Daphne paves herself a way to all the galas, aristocratic visits, and romantic adventures. Or how Elizabeth, in Jane Austen's classic novel Pride and Prejudice, which has also been adapted for film, struggles with herself, love and marriage. The days of wigs and revolutions intrigue us. Do you ever wonder...what it would have been like to live in a world like that?


In Belle van Zuylen's days, it was very dark in the house. Thomas Edison did not invent the light bulb until 1879. Before that, people used candles or oil and paraffin lamps to lighten the place up. A considerable fire hazard, but besides being essential it was also highly atmospheric.

Oh, that Enlightenment...

Fortunately, a candle offered enough light to read by. And there was more than enough to read! In the 18th century, the acquisition of knowledge and study of science became increasingly important in Europe. People started thinking about the world differently. Stopped following everyone blindly and believing everything, started thinking for themselves and using common sense. That is why this period is known as the Enlightenment.

Fans, pearls, and snuff boxes

The fashion in the years around 1750 was posh and formal. Ladies always wore corsets. White pearls were popular too. By day, people used perfume instead of soap and water.

In Utrecht too...

Once upon a time, posh ladies in corsets used to parade these streets. You are standing in front of Belle van Zuylen's former winter residence. Her full aristocratic name was Isabella Agneta Elisabeth van Tuyll van Serooskerken. Her life was all about spectacle, wild affairs, tempestuous love letters, galas, extraordinary friendships and aristocratic pomp and circumstance.

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