Wednesday 10 August 2022

Oldest skeleton ever found in the Netherlands goes on show

The new section of the museum will be interactive: Photo: Open Air Museum, Arnhem

The oldest skeleton ever found in the Netherlands is going on show for the first time at the open air museum in Arnhem as part of an exhibition about the history of the Lowlands.

The skeleton belongs to a 60 year-old woman who lived around 7,500 years ago and who had several children.

It was dug up in 1997 during work on the Betuwe railway line and was named Trijntje, a play of words on the name Trijntje and treintje (train). Trijntje represents the first of the ten periods in the Canon van Nederland, a division of Dutch history which was  drawn up in 2006 to aid history education in schools.

Historian Leendert Louwe Kooijmans told broadcaster NOS Trijntje’s bones are remarkably well-preserved. ‘In sand our bones turn to dust within a thousand years. But in bog and clay, where we found Trijntje, bones aren’t affected by oxygen. The more fragile bones are lost but her legs and skull have survived very well,’ he said.

The museum has turned the Canon into an interactive exhibition highlighting the highs and lows of Dutch history with artifacts from all periods.

Read more

Ten key periods in Dutch history which made the Netherlands what it is today

Thank you for donating to

The team would like to thank all the generous readers who have made a donation in recent weeks. Your financial support has helped us to expand our coverage of the coronavirus crisis into the evenings and weekends and make sure you are kept up to date with the latest developments. has been free for 14 years, but without the financial backing of our readers, we would not be able to provide you with fair and accurate news and features about all things Dutch. Your contributions make this possible.

If you have not yet made a donation, but would like to, you can do so via Ideal, credit card or Paypal.