Sun. May 19th, 2024

The people who lived in the Netherlands were called the Dutch. The land was originally inhabited by Germanic tribes. A portion of the land became a Roman province that was conquered by Julius Caesar in the first century BC. Later, the land became part of the empire of the Franks, then the House of Burgundy, and eventually became part of the Habsburg Empire.

In the 16th Century the land came under Spanish Rule and the Dutch revolted. Their leader was Willem of Orange and in 1581 the Republic of the United Netherlands was formed.

During the 17th century the Netherlands became an international power known for its strong navy. The Dutch empire expanded throughout the world through various colonies on nearly every continent. Also during this time, the arts in Netherlands was at its peak with notable artists such at Rembrandt and Vermeer.

In later years, Dutch power declined. Wars with Spain, France, and England weakened the country.

1. The Era of Anglo-Dutch Wars


Allegory on the flourishing of the Dutch fishery after the Second Anglo-Dutch War photo by unknown author Wikimedia

It is also called Dutch Wars, Dutch Engelse  Oorlogen, four 17th- and 18th-century naval conflicts between England and the Dutch Republic. The first three wars, stemming from commercial rivalry, established England’s naval might, and the last, arising from Dutch interference in the American Revolution, spelled the end of the republic’s position as a world power.

The First Anglo-Dutch War (1652–54) began during a tense period following England’s institution of the 1651 Navigation Act. It was aimed at barring the Dutch from involvement in English sea trade. An incident in May 1652 resulting in the defeat of a Dutch force under Adm.

Maarten Tromp led England to declare war on July 8 (June 28, old style). The Dutch under Tromp won a clear victory off Dungeness in December, but most of the major engagements of the following year were won by the larger and better armed men-of-war of England.

In the summer of 1653 off Texel (Terheide), in the last battle of the war, the Dutch were defeated and Tromp killed, with both sides suffering heavy losses. The war was ended by the Treaty of Westminster (April 1654).

The commercial rivalry of the two nations again led to war in 1665 (the Second Anglo-Dutch War of 1665–67), after hostilities had begun the previous year and the English had already captured New Amsterdam (New York). England declared war in March 1665 and won a decisive victory over the Dutch off Lowestoft in June.

The Third Anglo-Dutch War (1672–74) formed a part of the general European war of 1672–78 (see Dutch War). England and the Dutch Republic had been allied for a century when they again went to war (the Fourth Anglo-Dutch War of 1780–84) over secret Dutch trade and negotiations with the American colonies, then in revolt against England.

The English declared war on December 20, 1780, and in the following year quickly took key Dutch possessions in the West and East Indies while imposing a powerful blockade of the Dutch coast. In the only significant engagement of the war, a small Dutch force attacked a British convoy in an indecisive clash off Dogger Bank in August 1781.

The republic was never able to assemble a proper fleet for combat, however. When the war ended in May 1784, the Dutch were at the nadir of their power and prestige

2.Netherlands regained  independence

Parade of Independence during Independence Day 2010 photo by Star scream Wikimedia

Until 1795 the Netherlands was a republic comprising a federation of seven autonomous provinces. During the French occupation, the Dutch Republic was transformed into a modern unitary state, the Batavian Republic (1795-1806).

It then became a Kingdom, when the Emperor Napoleon installed his brother Louis as King of Holland (1806-1810). The Netherlands regained its independence in 1813, and the first Constitution for the Kingdom of the Netherlands dates from 1814.

3.Dutch women got the right to vote

Netherlands was created through the Dutch War of Independence. It began in 1568 and ended with the Treaty of Westphalia. Women had a limited number of rights, including the right to enter contracts and the right to control their own dowries.

Though they were still legally subordinate to men, widows such as Volcxken Diericx, an Antwerp publisher, and Aletta Hannemans, a Haarlem brewer, were allowed to continue their husband’s business. Girls had no right to an education, and before widowhood, women were not allowed to own property or to participate in government.

Women won the right to stand for an election as a candidate in 1917. They gained full suffrage in 1919. This was relatively early compared to most other European nations; only Finland and Sweden had given women the vote earlier.[4] Women had in part gained the vote to a political compromise “package deal” between socialists, liberals, and “confessionalist” parties

4.KLM launched the world’s first scheduled air service

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (KLM), marked the 40th anniversary of launching scheduled passenger services to the Kingdom of Bahrain photo by Bahrain International Airport Wikimedia

The birth date of KLM and Air France was 7 October. It was the first in 1919, bearing the name Koninklijke Luchtvaartmaatschappij for The Netherlands and Colonies, and the second in 1933, resulting from the combination of five French airlines, Air Union, Air Orient, Société Générale de Transport Aérien (SGTA), CIDNA and Aéropostale.


In 1920, KLM operated its first flight between London and Amsterdam with an Airco DH 16 piloted by Jerry Shaw, KLM’s first official pilot. As from 1921, the airline introduced regular routes that progressively served Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Brussels, Paris, London, then Bremen, Copenhagen and Malmö, with Fokker aircraft.

5. Olympic Games were held in Amsterdam

The Olympic Stadium, Amsterdam photo by Frits De Jong  Wikimedia

In 1928 Olympic Games, athletic festival held in Amsterdam. That took place May 17–Aug. 12, 1928. The Amsterdam Games were the eighth occurrence of the modern Olympic Games.

A total of 46 nations were represented by 2,883 athletes, including 277 women. The 1928 Games were memorable because they introduced a series of Olympic firsts. The number of female competitors more than doubled, Asian athletes won gold medals for the first time and the Olympic flame made its first appearance in the modern era.

6. The German invaded the Netherlands

On 10 May 1940, the German army invaded the Netherlands. It was the start of five days of fighting that resulted in the occupation of the Netherlands.

The invasion of the Netherlands saw some of the earliest mass paratroop drops, to occupy tactical points and assist the advance of ground troops. The German Luftwaffe used paratroopers in the capture of several airfields in the vicinity of Rotterdam and The Hague, helping to quickly overrun the country and immobilise Dutch forces.

After the devastating bombing of Rotterdam by the Luftwaffe on 14 May, the Germans threatened to bomb other Dutch cities if the Dutch forces refused to surrender. The General Staff knew it could not stop the bombers and ordered the Dutch Army to cease hostilities. The last occupied parts of the Netherlands were liberated in 1945.

7.The Diary of Anne Frank was published

Photo of Anne Frank for actor in 2004 photo by Ryan McClellan Wikimedia

It was also known as The Diary of Anne Frank. This is a book of the writings from the Dutch-language diary kept by Anne Frank while she was in  two years with her family during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands.

The family was apprehended in 1944, and Anne Frank died of typhus in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945. The diary was retrieved by Miep Gies, who gave it to Anne’s father, Otto Frank, the family’s only known survivor, just after the Second World War was over.

The diary has since been published in more than 70 languages. It was first published under the title Het Achterhuis. Dagboekbrieven 14 June 1942 – 1 Augustus 1944 (The Annex: Diary Notes 14 June 1942 – 1 August 1944) by Contact Publishing in Amsterdam in 1947.

The diary received widespread critical and popular attention on the appearance of its English language translation, Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Doubleday & Company (United States) and Vallentine Mitchell (United Kingdom) in 1952.

Its popularity inspired the 1955 play The Diary of Anne Frank by the screenwriters Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, which they adapted for the screen for the 1959 movie version. The book is included in several lists of the top books of the 20th century.

8. The Netherlands joined the European Economic Community

After the Second World War peace and stability in Europe were sorely needed. European countries decided to work together on economic matters, on the principle that countries that depended on one another would not go to war.

In 1952 the Netherlands joined Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg and West Germany in establishing the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). The ECSC contributed to economic growth and ensured greater employment and prosperity.

9. Queen Juliana retired and  was succeeded by her daughter Beatrix

Queen Juliana photo by Pvt Pauline Wikimedia

On April 30, 1980, the day of her 71st birthday, Queen Juliana signed the Act of Abdication and her eldest daughter succeeded her as Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.

Juliana remained active in numerous charitable causes until well into her eighties .Although she declined the title “Queen Mother,” many people in Holland looked upon her as “mother of her country.

 10. The world’s first same-sex marriage took  place in Amsterdam

Same-sex marriage in the Netherlands has been legal since 1 April 2001.A bill for the legalization of same-sex marriage was passed in the House of Representatives by 109 votes to 33 on 12 September 2000 and by the Senate by 49 votes to 26 on 19 December 2000.

The law received royal assent by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands on 21 December 2000 and took effect on 1 April 2001. The Netherlands was the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage.

Same-sex marriage has been legal in Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba, special municipalities of the Netherlands, since 10 October 2012. The three other constituent countries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten, do not perform same-sex marriages.



By Lala