Holland - national flag
The Dutch national flag originates from the 1500's revolt against Spain under
the Princes of Orange. The flag was first ratified by decree in 1937. The
original colors were orange, white and blue, Orange's liberation
colors. approximately In 1630, the orange stripe was replaced with a red one. The
Dutch tricolor has been a model for many later tricolors, including France's.
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Holland - prehistory
The oldest finds are approximately 100,000 years old; they date from the last
interglacial period and belong to the culture moustérien. From the last part of
the ice age, many settlements are known from the reindeer hunters of the Hamburg
culture, approximately 12,500-12,000 BC In Mesolithic times, approximately 9300-5000 BC,
the hunter-gatherer population lived on the banks of lakes and rivers. Tools
made of flint and bone are very similar to the Danish Maglemose culture. At
Bergumermeer in North Holland, a settlement with a number of semi-circular
cabins dated to approximately 6000 BC From Pesse in the province of Drenthe comes
Europe's oldest boat, a 3 m long tribal boat, carbon 14-dated to approximately 6500
BC Agriculture was introduced in East Holland approximately 5000 BC with longhouse
villages as at Elsloo; these belonged ribbon ceramic culture. In the coastal
areas of West Holland, the Mesolithic way of life continued for more than 1000
years. With the funnel cup culture from approximately 4000 BC agriculture expanded
beyond larger parts of the Netherlands, and shortly before 3000 BC. a number of
burial chambers were built in North Holland. From 2000-tkKr. single graves are
known from string ceramic culture and bell goblet culture; in these tombs
appear the oldest copper daggers.
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The Bronze Age began approximately 2000 BC, and the bronze finds show influences
from France, England and the Nordic countries. The buildings consist of groups
of longhouses and round cottages. The Iron Age began approximately 700 BC, and during
this period the marsh areas were permanently occupied and the characteristic
terp villages emerged. These settlements are attributed to the Frisians. With
the expansion of the Roman Empire, the Rhine became the border, so that the area
south of the river became Roman, while the area north of the Rhine belonged to
"Free Germany". Here you can see a continuous settlement on the mounds of the
marsh areas. The influence of the Roman Empire was clear, however, most
prominent at the large farm Rijsvijk from the first half of the 200's, which is
located just north of the Rhine, and whose main building was decorated with
Holland - history
With the incorporation of the area into the Roman Empire in the 1st century
BC, from which we have written sources, it can be said that it enters into the
Under Romans, Franks and Carolingians (57 BC-1384)
In 57 BC. Caesar penetrated the Rhine and the territories that today make up
Belgium and Luxembourg. The area south of the Rhine around the river Waal, where
the Batavians lived, was incorporated into the Roman Empire after Caesar's
conquest of Gaul, while the Romans mostly contented themselves with trade
contacts with the Frisians to the north. After the gradual dissolution of the
Roman Empire in the 400-t. the Franks took power in the former Roman
provinces. These became part of the Frankish Empire, and thereafter Christianity
gained ground. By the division of the Frankish Empire in 843, the Netherlands,
with the exception of Flanders, became part of Lothar I's empire, which
stretched from the North Sea to the Mediterranean, and by a new division in 959,
they became part of Lower Lotharingia. Since then, the Netherlands has been
divided into a number of small entities, which gained extensive independence
from the princely power as well as privileges in return for appropriations,
|ca. 100000 BC
|approx. 12500 - 12000 BC
||Hamburg culture. Hunting for reindeer.
|approx. 5000 BC
||Ribbon ceramic culture. Agriculture in East Holland; longhouse
|approx. 2000 BC
||String ceramic and bell goblet culture; influences from, among
others, England and the Nordic countries.
|approx. 700 BC
||Iron Age. The marsh areas are inhabited by Frisians.
||The Romans subjugate the Batavians and the Frisians.
||Franks and Saxons repress the Romans. The Netherlands becomes part
of the Frankish Empire. Christianity is gaining ground.
||The Netherlands becomes part of the kingdom of Lothar I
||Philip II the Bold of Burgundy takes over Flanders.
||Deputies from the provinces gather and the General States are
||The Netherlands becomes part of the Habsburg possessions.
||The Reichstag in Augsburg. Charles V's heir is recognized as common
||Calvinism is gaining ground.
||The Dutch War of Independence against Spain.
||Arrasunionen and Utrechtunionen, leading to the formation of
resp. The Spanish Netherlands and the United Netherlands.
||The Westphalian Peace. The independence of the Netherlands is
recognized. The golden age of the Netherlands.
||War against England and loss of North American possessions.
||Staff union with England. War with France.
||The Netherlands is incorporated in France.
||Vienna Congresses; the present Belgium, Luxembourg and the
Netherlands will have a common king.
||Belgium secedes. Luxembourg remained in the staff union until 1890.
||Colonial wars in Asia and Indonesia.
||World War 1; The Netherlands is neutral.
||Ordinary suffrage for men, from 1919 also for women.
||The Socialists enter government for the first time.
||WW2; Holland occupied by Germany; government and the royal family
flee to England. Southern Holland was liberated in 1944, the rest of
Holland on 5 May 1945.
||Benelux customs union with Belgium and Luxembourg; expanded in 1960
into an economic union.
||Co-founder of NATO.
||Co-founder of the European Coal and Steel Community.
||Co-founder of EC.
|1970's and 1980's
||Economic crisis; government budget deficits and high unemployment.
Under Burgundian and Habsburg rule (1384-1556)
In 1384 the Duke of Burgundy came into possession of Flanders, and in the
following century the Burgundian dukes tried to acquire the other Dutch
provinces and to centralize the regime. They had to take into account the
privileges of the provinces, and from the 1460's onwards, the provinces' joint
estate representation, the General States, met regularly. When Charles the
Bold of Burgundy fell in 1477, his daughter Mary of Burgundy had to sign a
treaty securing the privileges of the estates. In the same year she married
Maximilian of Habsburg, who in 1493 became German-Roman emperor as Maximilian
1. The Netherlands thus became part of the possessions of the Habsburgs.
Maximilian's grandson Karl was elected in 1519 as German-Roman emperor
as Charles V and inherited Spain after the grandfather. Charles V
purposefully united the Dutch provinces and continued Maximilian's policy, which
gave the Netherlands a special position within the German Empire.. At the
Reichstag in Augsburg in 1548, the Netherlands, the "Burgundian constituency",
was given this special position, as they were not subject to the Reichskammer
court, but were to make contributions to common national expenditure and to the
army. By the so-called Pragmatic Sanction of 1549, the estates of the provinces
recognized Charles II's heir as common head, just as they agreed to stand under
existing central institutions. With these two provisions, the Netherlands became
a political entity. Charles V had re-established some of the central
institutions that the estates had abolished after the death of Charles the Bold
in 1477. The political leadership lay with a governor-general, assisted by a
council of state and a secret council. Furthermore, there was a finance chamber
and an appellate court, and in each province a governor and a provincial
assembly of estates, whose composition varied from province to province. The
provincial assemblies sent representatives with a bound mandate to the
From the 1520's, there were several Protestant groups in the Netherlands, and
from around the mid-1500's. Calvinism won out.
Beginning struggle for independence (1556-68)
At the abdication of Charles V in 1556, his son Philip II took over Spain,
etc., while the year before he had been handed over to the Netherlands. Philip
II accelerated centralization and created a new ecclesiastical division with the
establishment of dioceses, and the persecution of Protestants was intensified by
the introduction of heresy laws; at the same time, the Dutch provinces came to
pay more for the military engagements of Philip II and Spain. There was also a
growing criticism of the Spanish military presence in the Netherlands as well as
of the political and official disregard of the Dutch. Dissatisfaction grew, and
in 1565 a group of nobles demanded that heretical legislation be relaxed. These
so-called geusers('beggars') in 1566 handed over the demands to Philip
II's governor general of the Netherlands, Margrete of Parma, and the same year
the Calvinists carried out a picture storm. The unrest subsided, but in 1567
Philip II sent Duke Fernando Alvarez de Toledo Alba to the Netherlands to
finally defeat the rebellion. Alba set up a heretical court, the Blood Council,
which handed down a series of death sentences. The harsh conduct, however, only
increased the resistance, and a skirmish at Heiligerlee in 1568 can be seen as
the beginning of the Dutch War of Independence 1568-1648, also called the Eighty
The Dutch War of Independence and the formation of the United Netherlands
and the Spanish Netherlands (1568-1648)
|Governors and regents after 1581
||period without a governor
||period without a governor
|1 : 1810-14, Holland was incorporated into
the French Empire.
The governor of the provinces of Holland and Zeeland, the by name Catholic
William I the Silent, Prince of Orange, became from 1572 leader of the Dutch
revolt and converted to Calvinist doctrine. With the Pacification of Ghent in
1576, William sought to unite all provinces; however, the agreement was
short-lived. The Spanish army commander Alessandro Farnese not only recaptured
large areas in the 1580's, but he also succeeded in splitting the predominantly
Catholic southern provinces from the northern ones. With the Arras Union in
1579, the ten southern provinces joined an alliance that remained loyal to Spain
(the Spanish Netherlands), while the seven northern provinces in the same year
formed the Utrecht Union, which continued the struggle for religious and
national rights. This created a split that laid the foundations for later
Belgium and Luxembourg in the south, while the seven northern provinces, the
Netherlands, Zeeland, Gelderland, Utrecht, Friesland, Groningen and Overijssel,
became the basis of the later Netherlands. Later, the area of Drenthe also
gained provincial status.
In 1581, the Utrecht Union deposed Philip II as head, and under the name of
the United Netherlands, the union countries continued to fight for full
independence from Spain. By virtue of its prosperity and its large population,
the province of the Netherlands dominated the co-operation between the seven
provinces, and the council pensioner in the Netherlands became the de facto
leader of foreign policy. It was a federal structure in which a number of
decisions remained with the political assemblies of the individual
provinces. The presidency of the General States alternated between the
provinces. After the removal of Philip II, the post was offered to several
foreigners, Duke of Anjou, brother of the King of France. Wilhelm I and
from 1585 his son Moritz of Oranje was commander-in-chief and, together with the
Dutch council pensioner, had the day-to-day political leadership.
The northern provinces' struggle against Spain had a number of economic,
social, religious and political reasons and also became part of a larger
European showdown between Spain and its opponents. The Dutch had at times
received support from German Protestant princes and from France, and in 1585-88
England intervened militarily in the conflict when it sent an auxiliary corps to
the area. When the conflict became the longest in early modern times, it was
partly due to the Spanish Empire simultaneously waging war on other
fronts. Eventually, both sides were so war-weary that a 12-year truce could be
concluded 1609-21, in which Spain de facto recognized the independence of the
United Netherlands. When the fighting resumed, the Dutch freedom struggle became
part of the Thirty Years' War. In the beginning, their warfare went badly, but
under the leadership of the militarily capable governors Moritz of Orange
1585-1625 and Frederik Henrik 1625-47 as well as with military support from
France, it succeeded in maintaining an area largely similar to present-day
Holland. In the 1640's the war subsided, and in 1643 the Peace Party came to
power. Eighty years after the beginning of the unrest, the United Netherlands at
the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 was also formally separated from the German
Empire and recognized by Spain and the other European countries as a sovereign
state, just as they could retain conquered Portuguese colonies.
The protracted strife had created internal divisions between the Peace Party,
which found particular support among the Dutch merchants, and the governors of
the House of Orange, who as commander-in-chief had used the war to expand their
power and therefore supported a military solution to the conflict. In the late
1500-t. the United Netherlands had been led by the governor as well as the
provincial Dutch council pensioner, Johan van Oldenbarnevelt. During the
armistice, relations between the governor and the representative of the Dutch
bourgeoisie, who wanted peace, became increasingly tense, and in 1619
Oldenbarnevelt was executed and the power of the governor grew.
The heyday and decline of the United Netherlands (1648-88)
When the United Netherlands gained international recognition for its
sovereignty in 1648, the conflict over the size of the military continued
between William II of Orange, governor 1647-50, and the representatives of the
province of the Netherlands, the rulers. By military force, William put his will
through; when he died in 1650, a period followed until 1672 without a governor.
The United Netherlands had by just 1 1/4mio. residents
developed into the world's leading maritime and trading nation with colonies in
the East Indies, Africa and America. Despite a well-developed agriculture, food
such as grain from the Baltic Sea area had to be imported, where Dutch ships
also fetched timber, tar, copper, etc. Conversely, textiles, paper, soap and
colonial goods such as cocoa, pepper, sugar and tobacco were exported. Until the
outbreak of the revolt in the mid-1500's. the southern Netherlands (now Belgium
and Luxembourg), led by Antwerp, had been the center of economic power, but then
the center of gravity shifted to the north. Amsterdam became not only the seat
of the United States' large transit trade, but also an international financial
center with a stock exchange. Many foreigners visited the United Netherlands to
study the art of fortification and war; dairy farming as well as cultivation
methods and crops set a model for the rest of Europe in the same way as
architecture and the art of painting in this "Golden Age of the
Netherlands". After the peace of 1648, the Dutch cities experienced a great deal
of construction activity, and Amsterdam became the first European city to be
provided with extensive public street lighting.
However, the leading position of the United Netherlands in trade was
fragile. The profit margin on transit trade declined as other countries acquired
competitive vessels, just as Dutch herring fishing in the North Sea
declined. Equally crucial, however, was the English Navigation Act of 1651,
which meant that trade in England could only take place on English or on the
ships of the producer country. This led to wars with England 1652-54 and
1665-67, in which the United Netherlands lost its North American possessions but
retained Dutch Guiana (Suriname) in South America. During these years, council
pensioner Jan de Witt was the real leader of the Netherlands. Dissatisfaction
with his leadership grew when France and England in 1672 attacked the
Netherlands, which was invaded in the so-called Dutch Revenge War.. The war
meant that the economic importance of the United Netherlands diminished and Jan
de Witt was killed by a crowd. William II's son, William III of Orange, was
elected governor in 1672. In 1674, peace was made with England, and with the
help of Brandenburg, the German-Roman emperor and Spain, in 1678 the Dutch were
able to make a favorable peace with France in Nijmegen.
Staff Union for the Peace of Utrecht (1688-1713)
William III had married Mary, daughter of the English King James II, in 1677,
and after The Glorious Revolution in England in 1688, the couple ascended the
English throne, uniting England and the United Netherlands into a staff
union. The peace with France was short-lived; 1688-97 the war continued, and in
1702 the United Netherlands was involved in the War of the Spanish
Succession. In the same year William III died, and until 1747 there was no
governor. The power lay with a small bourgeoisie with the provincial Dutch
council pensioner Anthonie Heinsius as the actual leader of foreign policy. The
United Netherlands' gain at the Utrecht Peace in 1713 after the War of
Succession was limited; however, a barrier treaty gave them the right to place
some garrisons on the border between France and the Spanish Netherlands, which
in future would belong to Austria.