GHDI logo
German History in Documents and Images
return to system

Fireworks in Nuremberg in Celebration of the Agreement on the Implementation of the Treaty of Westphalia (1650)
The Peace of Westphalia marked the end of the Thirty Years War, a devastating conflict that had brought three decades of armed clashes, disease, and starvation to the German lands, laying waste to the landscape and depopulating entire regions. After five years of negotiations, the treaty was finally signed on October 14/24, 1648.* The signing of the treaty was greeted with relief on all sides; it was a momentous event and was perceived as such by contemporaries. This image shows a fireworks display in celebration of the agreement on the treaty’s implementation. The festivities took place in Nuremberg on June 4, 1650; they were held during the Executive Congress and had been organized by Swedish plenipotentiary Count Palatinate Karl Gustav von Pfalz-Zweibrücken (1622-60), who went on to become Charles X of Sweden (r. 1654-60). Copperplate engraving by an unknown artist, 1650.

* Note: Both the Julian calendar (Old Style) and the Gregorian calendar (New Style) were used in Europe between 1582 and 1752. Protestants retained the Julian calendar while Catholics used the Gregorian one. At the time, the two calendars differed by ten days. October 14, 1648, is the date of the signing of the Peace Treaties of Westphalia according to the Julian calendar; October 24, 1648 is the date according to the Gregorian calendar.