Netherlands History

By | January 9, 2023

Holland – national flag

Netherlands 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 Roman murals.

Holland – history

According to a2zgov, 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 actual history.

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,

Historical overview
ca. 100000 BC Moustérien culture.
approx. 12500 – 12000 BC Hamburg culture. Hunting for reindeer.
approx. 5000 BC Ribbon ceramic culture. Agriculture in East Holland; longhouse buildings.
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.
12 BC The Romans subjugate the Batavians and the Frisians.
400- Franks and Saxons repress the Romans. The Netherlands becomes part of the Frankish Empire. Christianity is gaining ground.
843 The Netherlands becomes part of the kingdom of Lothar I (Lotharingia).
1384 Philip II the Bold of Burgundy takes over Flanders.
1464 Deputies from the provinces gather and the General States are formed.
1493 The Netherlands becomes part of the Habsburg possessions.
1548 The Reichstag in Augsburg. Charles V’s heir is recognized as common head.
1550- Calvinism is gaining ground.
1568-1648 The Dutch War of Independence against Spain.
1579 Arrasunionen and Utrechtunionen, leading to the formation of resp. The Spanish Netherlands and the United Netherlands.
1609-21 Ceasefire.
1648 The Westphalian Peace. The independence of the Netherlands is recognized. The golden age of the Netherlands.
1665-67 War against England and loss of North American possessions.
1688 Staff union with England. War with France.
1713 Utrechtfreden.
1810 The Netherlands is incorporated in France.
1814-15 Vienna Congresses; the present Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands will have a common king.
1830 Belgium secedes. Luxembourg remained in the staff union until 1890.
1848 Liberal Constitution.
1873-1903 Colonial wars in Asia and Indonesia.
1914-18 World War 1; The Netherlands is neutral.
1917 Ordinary suffrage for men, from 1919 also for women.
1939 The Socialists enter government for the first time.
1940-45 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.
1948 Benelux customs union with Belgium and Luxembourg; expanded in 1960 into an economic union.
1949 Co-founder of NATO.
1951 Co-founder of the European Coal and Steel Community.
1957 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 States-General.

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 Years’ War.

The Dutch War of Independence and the formation of the United Netherlands and the Spanish Netherlands (1568-1648)

Governors and regents after 1581
1581-84 William 1.
1585-1625 Moritz
1625-47 Frederik Henrik
1647-50 Wilhelm 2.
1650-72 period without a governor
1672-1702 Wilhelm 3.
1702-47 period without a governor
1747-51 Wilhelm 4.
1751-95 Wilhelm 5.
1795-1806 Batavian Republic
1806-10 Louis 1
1815-40 William 1.
1840-49 Wilhelm 2.
1849-90 Wilhelm 3.
1890-1948 Vilhelmina
1948-80 Juliana
1980-2013 Beatrix
2013- Willem-Alexander
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.