From the museum website, 1 September 2009
Since the second half of the 16th century the Netherlands were separated into north and south on a political, cultural and religious level. The North followed the Protestantism while the South remained catholic. This separation generated numerous breaks in the visual arts, particular new developments and specific results which also had consequences in printmaking. The North, with artists such as Rembrandt, Ruysdael and van Ostade, concentrated on historical and moral subjects, individual or group portraits but also landscapes, seascapes and genre scenes. The South, on the other hand, followed a tradition of printmaking after the great contemporary masters, such as Rubens, Van Dyck and Jordaens, keeping their interest in religious painting, the princely portraits or the ideal landscapes.