Dutch 44-gun warship, anonymous, 1648
Dutch warships were relatively small in the mid-17th century. This proved to be a problem, particularly during the First Anglo-Dutch War (1652–1654): they were no match for England’s larger, more heavily armed ships. An extensive and successful fleet-building programme was subsequently implemented. However, Dutch ships always remained smaller than those of other countries, largely due to the shallow waters around the Netherlands.