Rembrandt, Elsje Christiaens and a stats oddity

Does anybody have any idea why 150 people, most of them in Norway and Denmark, felt the need to search for “Elsje Christiaens”, an 18-year-old Danish girl who was executed in Amsterdam in 1664 for beating her landlady to death with an axe and portrayed by Rembrandt van Rijn after her execution, today of all days? Was there a film or a documentary about Elsje’s life on TV in Norway tonight?

At any rate, some 150 people – mostly from Norway and Denmark – googled “Elsje Christiaens” today and found this post from March 2011, a linkdump which includes a link to an interview with Dutch novelist Margriet de Moor who wrote a novel about Elsje Christiaens and Rembrandt van Rijn.

Normally, when your stats suddenly take off, there is a traceable cause, e.g. a link from a popular blog. Even the sudden explosion of interest in Strunk and White in combination with sex had a traceable cause, namely a joke about Strunk/White fanfiction in the popular XCKD cartoon.

This sudden interest in Elsje Christiaens, however, just leaves me baffled. Even googling doesn’t reveal anything, except that I’m far from the top search result for the term.


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