Login Petrovich van der Heyden

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Login Petrovich van Heiden (6 September 17735 October 1850) was a Dutch-born Russian admiral who commanded a squadron of the Imperial Russian Navy in the Battle of Navarino (1827). Russian: Логин Петрович Гейден; Greek: Λογγίνος Χέιδεν.

Born in Zuidlaren, in the north east of the Netherlands, as Lodewijk Sigismund Vincent Gustaaf, count van Heiden, lord of Reinestein as second son of Sigismund Pieter Alexander, count van Heiden, lord of Reinestein and Laarwoud, drost of Drenthe and Maria Frederica baroness Van Reede. Count Lodewijk van Heiden married Anne-Marie Akeleye, daughter of captain Johannes Akeleye, a Norwegian-born sea officer in Russian service. Four children [1], including their younger son count Frederick van Heiden, the future Governor-General of the Grand Duchy of Finland.

Joined the Dutch Navy at nine, promoted to Lieutenant-at-sea at sixteen. Made several journeys to the Dutch overseas territories during his six years in active duty. Always remained a faithful Orangeist and accompanied stadtholder William V on his flight from Scheveningen to England. Was captured upon his return and locked up in the ill-reputed Gevangenpoort prison in The Hague. He was questioned harshly several times but always refused to give any details on William's passage. He was set free after two months on instigation of the French general Pichegru. Van Heiden resigned his commission and returned to Zuidlaren.

1795 - Offered the Russian Emperor his services in and so gets appointed Captain-Lieutenant at sea at only twenty-two. He quickly rises through the ranks. Until 1803 commissioned at the Black Sea and promoted to Captain at sea 2nd class. When married, settled in Estonia, then one of Russian Baltic provinces
1808 - Promoted to 1st class and awarded command of the Russian flotilla in Viapori in the war against Sweden. Defeated the Swedes in the Battle of Kemiö Island and in the Riilahti strait together with Lieutenant-Commander Pyotr Dodt.
1809 - Squadron commander in New Finland (the Grand Duchy of Finland).
1813 - Promoted to Commodore after the siege of Danzig. Decorated several times during this period apparently partly to keep him in the Russian ranks.
1826 - Given command of the Russian fleet in the Mediterranean (with Mikhail Lazarev as deputy). On 20 October 1827 he was the commander of the Russian squadron in the Battle of Navarino against the Turks during the Greek War of Independence - one of the most important sea battles in history. It ended with the defeat of the Turko-Egyptian fleet and the destruction of the feared artillery at the fortress of Navarino. Van Heiden narrowly escaped death when the quarter-deck where he was standing was shattered by a canon-ball. The victory meant promotion to Vice-Admiral and several more decorations. His international prestige grew: the Greeks considered him their redeemer from the Turks and lovingly called him Baba (Father). In Athens one of the roads to Victory Square is named after Van Heiden. There is also a statue, and in 1927 his portrait was on a Greek stamp.

At the height of his fame, respected everywhere and by everyone, decorated with numerous European medals, he was summoned by the Tsar to become military Governor of Kronstadt (on the Island of Kotlin in the Gulf of Finland between Estonia and Saint Petersburg) and Reval (Tallinn, then and now capital of Estonia). The population loved him and, as the Greeks did, called him Baba (Father).
1832 - Returned to the Netherlands for the last time. He was welcomed by the monarch. King William I lent him an armoured steamship to visit several important cities, as well as his home town, Zuidlaren. Guards of honour accompanied him to the town hall and a large banquet was held at Laarwoud. He stayed at the estate for some time, but couldn't reaclimatise and shrank into himself. He only appeared in public to sail the Zuidlaardermeer lake. He left for the New World, but was disappointed and eventually returned to Tallinn. In Estonia became ill with edema. He died in 1850, 77 years old. He rests, contrary to his wish to be buried in Zuidlaren, in Tallinn.

Van Heiden is said to be the person “Berend Botje” in the Dutch lullaby “Berend Botje ging uit varen (met zijn scheepje naar Zuidlaren)” telling about a person that went away to America and never returned again.


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