syds van botnia, 1576
Syds van Botnia was a powerful man, as may be concluded from his clothes, coats of arms, jewellery and, perhaps most of all, his charisma in this portrait. A conspicuous detail is the gold bird’s claw hanging on the broad ribbon around his neck. It served to remove threads of meat from between his teeth, like a toothpick. To show off that he could afford to buy meat, he wore it as a piece of jewellery and a status symbol.
Syds van Botnia, grietman of Wymbritseradeel, Master of the Portraits of the Exiles, 1576
Around 1600, Syds van Botnia was chairman of the waterboard, a member of the Provincial Executive Council and grietman of the municipality of Wymbritseradeel. The function of a grietman was comparable to that of a mayor now. At the time, the province was divided into large municipalities which were called grietenijen.