Disagreement over the script was not the only issue causing trouble during production. Director of photography Jan de Bont and actress Monique van de Ven had become a couple since meeting on the set of Turkish Delight (1973). De Bont was very uncomfortable with his wife's nude shots, which caused a tense atmosphere on the set. At one point, a local prostitute was hired to stand-in for van de Ven during a nude scene. Also, director Paul Verhoeven's wife Martine, a psychologist, was brought on the set to ease some of the tensions.
Director Paul Verhoeven experienced immense pressure to come up with a worthy follow-up for his critically and commercially successful Turkish Delight (1973). He clashed repeatedly with producer Rob Houwer over the screenplay and didn't get the budget to make the film on the epic scale he had intended. He has been quoted as saying that if he could ever redo one of his movies, it would be this one.
Filming was done in The Hague, Utrecht, Amsterdam, Leiden and Brussels to provide an appropriate 19th century setting. Even so, many times a baker's car or basket weavers had to be placed strategically to hide 20th century antennae, parking meters and supermarkets from view.
Paul Verhoeven had agreed to do the movie based on a elaborate synopsis, in which the story of the protagonist Keetje was told in parallel with a period drama depicting the social circumstances and political unrest of the time. With preproduction well under way, he and Gerard Soeteman elaborated the synopsis into a complete script, but it was vetoed as being too expensive by producer Rob Houwer. He ordered them to focus on the personal drama and remove most of the social issues, including several scenes of mass rebellion and revolt that were Verhoeven's main reasons for taking on the project.
One scene that was scripted but not filmed showed Keetje meeting the Dutch king Willem III during a parade, where he secretly pinches her bottom as she looks away. The real Willem III was infamous for being an ill-mannered womanizer.
The trivia item below may give away important plot points.
The original ending would have shown Keetje as a rich and older lady walking the streets, when she is suddenly confronted with a group of beggars asking for money. She runs away from them (as if running away from her own past) but they follow her, until she finally reaches her house and closes the windows to silence their yelling. The epilogue was meant to show that Keetje had come full circle, and had become one of the people she used to despise, but producer Rob Houwer wanted to show Keetje only as a young woman. The new ending that was screened was open-ended, showing Keetje bringing the wounded André home and about to enter his castle, but a negative response prompted an additional scene which ended with a text scroll describing her further life.