Dutch history in a nutshell

Prehistoric times

In these surroundings mainly Neanderthals live. They were nomadic hunters and collectors. Later men appeared living from primitive agriculture and cattle breeding in one and the same spot.

Roman times

Julius Cesar mentions some tribes in this aria such as the Menapi, the Batavi and the Frisafones.

The present Netherland is under Roman influence as far as the river Rhine. The first cities and amongst them Utrecht are founded.

Early, middle and late medieval times

The Frisian tribes lived along the coast; The Franks in the south and the Saxons in the east. Charles the Great subdued  these tribes. The feudal system was introduced with knights and vassals.

During the 10th, 11th and 12th century urbanization occurs in the Southern Netherlands and later on in the present Netherlands. Society exists of three classes. Nobility, clergy men and civilians.

In the 13th, 14th and 15th century (parts of) the country were ruled by Burgundian  kings and later by the House of Habsburg.

In the 13th century the so called Binnenhof was built. It is nowadays the seat of the Dutch gouvernment.

The Eighty Years War

The revolt against the authoritarian regime of King Phillips of Spain resulted in a war that lasted from 1568 until 1648. It was in fact a religious and moral conflict. The people were led and supported by the nobleman Prince William of Orange. Later he was called the Father of the Fatherland. The war ended with a declaration of independence and the nation called The Republic of the United Netherlands was born.

The Golden Age and the VOC

The 17th century was a time of unknown prosperity. Amsterdam developed itself as the center of the world.  The new Republic with its VOC merchant fleet and East sea expeditions became very rich and a mighty colonial power which was expanded in the next century.

Founded in 1602, the Dutch East India Company (Dutch: Verenigde Oost- Indische Compagnie or (VOC) trading in Asia, flourished and dominated for two centuries. It was the first public company ever to issue negotiable shares and it developed into one of the biggest and most powerful trading and shipping concerns. The VOC had its own shipyards, the largest being in Amsterdam. Her larger ships were the biggest movable vehicles on earth in those days. This spectacular trade made the Dutch Republic the world’s key commercial hub. Important towns in Holland and Zeeland had a so called VOC Chamber meaning they were represented at the board of the company.

In the Netherlands advanced windmills appeared all over the place and were used for all kind of purposes. You might regard this as a industrial revolution.

The French Time

Napoleon occupied the country and it was known as the Batavian Republic. Later he appointed his brother Lois Napoleon as the first king of the Netherlands. The battle of Waterloo (1815) put an end to this.   

The Kingdom of the Netherlands

In 1815 the Kingdom of the Netherlands was founded and existed of the current Netherlands, Belgium and Luxemburg. In 1830 Belgium declared itself independent and much later Luxemburg separated. From 1850 on the country industrialized rapidly and gradual the present, modern Netherlands appeared.


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