According to estatelearning, the Netherlands is located in northwestern Europe, bordered by Germany to the east, Belgium to the south and the North Sea to the west. The total area of Netherlands is 41,543 square kilometers (16,040 sq mi). The terrain consists mostly of low-lying flatlands with some hills in the southeastern region. The highest point in Netherlands is Vaalserberg at 322 meters (1,056 ft) above sea level. Netherlands has a temperate climate with temperatures ranging from an average low of 0°C (32°F) during winter months to an average high of 22°C (72°F) during summer months. Rainfall occurs mainly between October and March with some areas receiving up to 1,000 mm (39 in) annually.

The history of the Netherlands dates back to ancient times, when the southern parts of the country became part of the Roman Empire. During the migration period, the country became part of the Frankish Empire, and eventually the German-Roman Empire.

The Netherlands (roughly today’s Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg) had a largely common history up to the 16th century. During this century, the Netherlands became an independent republic, while today’s Belgium remained under the Habsburg House. The Dutch Republic became very wealthy and was long the economic center of Northern Europe. In 1815, after the Napoleonic Wars, the Netherlands became a monarchy, and the 19th century provided ever more economic development.

The Netherlands remained out of World War I, but was occupied by Germany during World War II. The post-war era has been characterized by decolonization and cooperation with other countries through the EU and NATO.

  • Countryaah: Check to see the location of Netherlands on the world map. Also covers major mountains, rivers and lakes in Netherlands.

Antiquity and the migration period

History Timeline of Netherlands

When Caesar in 57 BCE. subsided the Netherlands, lived the Gallic- Celtic tribes south and north of the Rhine. A common term for them was the belgae, with nervii as the main tribe. North of the Maas, especially between the Waal and the Rhine, the Batavians continued, and north of these again the Frisians. Under Emperor Augustus, in 15 BCE, the Netherlands south of the Rhine became a Roman province named Gallia Belgica.

When the Franks began to cross the Rhine in the late 200’s, the old tribal names had disappeared. To see more information other than history, please visit Abbreviationfinder to learn more about climate, population, government, and economy for the country of Netherlands. A Franconian tribe, the Sals, held under Chlodvig (481-511) all of the southern and central Netherlands, the coastal coastal lands between Schelde and Ems, while the Saxons held most of the later provinces of Gelderland, Overijssel and Drenthe. The Franks became Christians and came into conflict with the pagan Frisians and Saxons, who were only Christianized when Charlemagne laid them down.

The settlement in Verdun in 843 linked the Netherlands, with the exception of Flanders, to Lothar’s Middle Franconian kingdom (Lotharii Regnum), which later entered the Eastern Franconian kingdom, and after 953 belonged to the Duchy of Lower Lorraine. The history of the Netherlands was from then on the history of the individual bilateral states in which the Lower Lorraine was gradually divided: Holland, Brabant, Gelderland, Limburg, Utrecht, Liège, Flanders, Hainaut, Namur and Luxemburg.

The Middle Ages

As early as the 11th century, the feudal creature was firmly established in this part of Europe. However, from the 1100s the cities grew: in Flanders Ghent, Bruges and Ieper, in Brabant Antwerp, Leuven, Brussels and Mechelen, in Holland Dordrecht, Leiden, Haarlem, Rotterdam and Delft. The cities of Flanders were the richest, with a strong bourgeois self-government, stinging themselves against the landowner. The Flemish wool industry was famous and Bruges became the center of European trade.

An important role was the Diocese of Utrecht, which in the 1000s extended its power so that the Netherlands north of the Rhine-Maas Delta was almost identical to the diocese. But when the Worms Concordat in 1122 deprived the kings of the empire of their influence on the diocesan appointments, it became more difficult for the bishop to maintain his position of power. The counties of Holland and Gelderland pressed on from two sides, and after 1150 it quickly declined. In vain, the bishops set out to oppose the land expansions of Gelderland, and the first bishopric was divided into two: Nedersticht (the present province of Utrecht) and Oversticht (the present province of Overijssel). On the other hand, the First Diocese could from time to time serve on the battle between Holland and Gelderland, which first ended during the reign of Mary the Kingdom (1481). On the initiative of Emperor Charles 5, the bishops’ princely powers of attorney ceased in 1528, and the diocesan priests became part of the Dutch state unit.

In the High and Late Middle Ages, the battle against the sea began, and the first large dikes were created. The land wins at the expense of the sea have continued to our own time. Urban life in the northern Netherlands could not compare with Flanders, and the population surplus created great emigration to eastern Germany, in connection with the German eastern expansion, where the Slavic tribes were now being forced away.

The Burgundian-Habsburg era

During Philip the Good (1419–1467), the gathering of the Dutch provinces began, with strong opposition from the privileged Flemish cities of Bruges and Ghent. Bruges was coerced in 1438, and Ghent was coerced in 1453. Philip established two important central institutions, a “Grand Council” in Mechelen as the highest court, and the State General (General) in Brussels (1465). Son of Karl the bold continued collection of the Netherlands. In 1477, Charles’s daughter Maria married Maximilian of the Habsburg House, who, after her early death in 1482, ruled over his beautiful son Philip until he himself assumed power in 1494. He abolished the privileges the State General had acquired under Mary.

When Philip died in 1506, the Netherlands inherited the son Karl, the later Emperor Karl 5. Under him the unification of the Netherlands was completed by the incorporation of Gelderland in 1543. He established a central government in 1531 and strengthened the unity of the Netherlands at the Augsburg Convention in 1548, which guaranteed that the Netherlands was indivisible and independent of the empire. But the centralization policy still aroused opposition from the wealthy Flemish trade and industrial cities, which would not give up their freedom. The great discoveries created new trade routes, and the economic center of gravity moved north; from Bruges to Antwerp and from Antwerp to Amsterdam. Holland and Zeeland built up an extensive Baltic trade. The new business world, which was steadily growing, eventually created a wealth that could put political and religious opposition to Spain behind (see William of Orange and Egmont).

When the Habsburg Empire was divided into an Austrian and a Spanish part, the Netherlands came under Spain and King Philip 2. During the duke of Alba’s hard rule in 1567–1573, the battle developed into popular travel and regular rebellion (see Geuser). The rebellion began in the south, where there were most Calvinists. In the Netherlands, Calvinists made up only five percent, but they knew to occupy important positions as the rebellion became more and more religious in nature, and southern Calvinist leaders gained power in the north. For a while, William of Orange succeeded in uniting the north and south, but the Spaniards changed their policy and managed to stay in power in the southern provinces, while the seven northern provinces broke out and formed the union in Utrecht (1579).

Thus, the common history is at an end, and the production now applies to the northern Netherlands (for the south, see Belgium’s history). The split led many Calvinists to move north; a city like Antwerp lost half its inhabitants in addition to its mercantile and financial hegemony, partly taken over by Amsterdam. The refugees were largely intellectuals, artisans and merchants, which provided the basis for a great economic and cultural boom in the north.

The independent Netherlands

The Union in Utrecht definitely broke with Spain in 1581. The new republic first sought, unsuccessfully, support in France and then in England. The Dutch gave England effective support against the Spanish armada, especially by blocking the ports of Flanders. The Netherlands’ war against Spain lasted for eighty years (1568-1648), but by 1596 the viable republic had been fully accepted by France and England. The final and formal independence was established by the peace in Westphalia in 1648, which set the stage for the Dutch Eighty Years ‘War and for the Thirty Years’ Europe. By then, the Netherlands, with its merchant fleet, was already among Europe’s great powers. In particular, the Dutch established their trading ground in East India, with the center in Java. In Northern Europe, the Netherlands played a dominant role, and was often the main factor in Scandinavian power politics. One example is the war years of 1658–1660, when they made sure that Sweden did not succeed in invading Copenhagen.

The cities of the Netherlands became home to a highly developed bourgeois culture, and the Netherlands developed into a main seat of science and painting. But major contradictions continued to prevail in domestic politics. The Orange Party, which had its best support among nobles and peasants, came into conflict with the merchant aristocracy, which safeguarded the interests of commerce and ruled the country for a long time. Likewise, the religious divide that went back to Arminius and the Oldennevelt continued.

The relationship with other powers was first characterized by clashes with England (wars 1652–1654 and 1664–1667), which was primarily due to conflicting trade policy interests (the Navigation Act). As France increased its power on the mainland, the Netherlands and England sought together again, as they had previously done to Spain. But Jan de Witt and the Merchant Party had strengthened the fleet and neglected the land forces, and when France went to war against the Netherlands in 1672, the referendum turned in favor of the Oranges. William 3 became governor (1672-1702).

The Netherlands achieved favorable peace agreements (Nijmegen in 1678, Rijswijk in 1697), but the war had demanded great sacrifices, and Vilhelm 3, who at one time was almost to be reckoned as the crowned king, came to meet rebels in his final years. As regent in England (from 1688) he also came in a difficult double position. In 1709, during the Spanish succession war, the Netherlands concluded the so-called barrier treaty with the United Kingdom. The agreement aimed to secure a “barrier” against France in the Dutch southern provinces. The treaty was supplemented by a number of agreements in the coming years, including the Dutch being allowed to keep their own forces in the fortresses in the barrier. The fortresses were first closed down in 1830.

Beyond the 18th century, the Dutch superpower was significantly reduced. A new merchant empire evolved into self-serving manpower, and when France threatened to conquer the Netherlands in 1746, during the Austrian succession war, an internal upheaval that once again gave the Oranges power. However, the forces of the republic failed to gather. Decentralization became more and more marked, and the government eventually depended on foreign support. A new war with Britain (1780-1784) caused severe setbacks. The Netherlands lost, among other things, its short-term influence in the southern Netherlands (now Belgium), which had come into personal union with Austria from 1713. Much capital was still flowing to the Netherlands, but it now came more from banking transactions than from self-trading. Dutch’s position was gradually weakened, and the country had little to resist when the French Revolutionary troops finally ended Dutch’s unique state organization in 1794 and proclaimed the Batavian Republic the following year.


In the years 1806–1810, the Netherlands was ruled by Napoleon’s brother Louis Napoleon, but in 1810 Napoleon as well incorporated the Netherlands directly into France. After his defeat in 1815, the Netherlands became united with the Southern Netherlands to the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Despite King William 1s vigorous efforts to restore Dutch influence in European politics did not force the country to regain its former greatness. The tax pressure, the continental block under Napoleon and the loss of several colonies contributed to this. The contradictions between the two parts were also great after about 250 years of separation. In 1830 the French-speaking minority revolted, and with the help of French troops they detached the southern Netherlands and formed the state of Belgium. The war against the insurgents in the south led to a considerable weakening of state finances.

The opposition to the king’s authoritarian rule eventually gained so much support that King William 1 was forced to abdicate. The new king, William 2, joined in 1848 on far-reaching constitutional reforms. The second chamber was now directly elected, but the voting rights were limited. The school system, the military system and the right to vote were the most important domestic political issues right up to the First World War. Urbanists supported the Liberal Party against a conservative coalition of Orthodox Calvinists (especially peasants) and Catholics. The Liberals had power in the years 1871-1888 and in 1887 carried out an electoral reform. The last half of the 19th century was an economic boom for the Netherlands. The cities at the end of the Rhine became important transhipment points for the Rhine traffic, and the country’s possessions in Ostindia became major suppliers of colonial products to Europe.

Early 1900s

For long periods, the Netherlands had multi-party governments, usually under moderate-conservative leadership. They succeeded in keeping the Netherlands out of World War I, under great difficulty. The country was nevertheless affected by the war in the decline in trade with the warring parties and in the fact that it received many Belgian refugees.

In 1917, the parties made a compromise: Catholics quarreled in the question of the right to vote (which became common to all men; for women in 1919), the liberals in the question of the school. Voting and ratios were adopted. The confessional (essentially Catholic) schools were equated with the non-denominational public schools. The old controversy between Protestants and Catholics about state-supported schools was settled in the years 1918-1925. The Netherlands hereafter developed into a “pillarized” society, where Protestants, Catholics and non-believers largely had their own institutions: parties, schools, hospitals, media, and more.

The 1920s were an economic boom. The electrical industry, dairy production, horticulture and livestock production picked up. The international economic crisis in the early 1930s hit the Netherlands hard, partly because the country was particularly dependent on foreign trade.


During World War II, the Germans moved into the Netherlands and Belgium on May 10, 1940, and the Netherlands had to capitulate after five days of fighting; The center of Rotterdam was severely damaged by bombs. Queen Vilhelmina and her family fled to the United Kingdom. Prime Minister Dirk Jan de Geer returned to Portugal in September 1940 over the Netherlands. Pieter Sjoerds Gerbrandy was Minister of Exile in London during the rest of the war. The government put the resources it had into the Allied struggle, including the significant merchant fleet.

During the war in Southeast Asia, the Dutch East Indies and the fleet were lost there. In the occupied Netherlands, the Germans pursued an intense Nazi policy under Arthur Seyss-Inquart as national commissioner, well aided by rival domestic Nazis Anton Mussert and Rost van Tonningen. Together, they met the home front with reprisals and terror. Hundreds of thousands were taken to Germany as forced laborers in the war industry, and the majority of the country’s Jewish nationals were deported and killed.

From September 1944, the Netherlands was a scene of war during the Allies’ advance: Especially significant was the Arnhem operation, where the Allies succeeded in liberating Eindhoven and Nijmegen, but failed to liberate Arnhem. On May 5, 1945, the German forces surrendered in the Netherlands. The acts of war had done great damage to the country, especially in the western provinces, where the Germans had among other things put large areas under water by blowing up the dikes. The last winter of war became very hard for many Dutch people, with widespread food shortages. In total, over 200,000 Dutch died during World War II, over half of them Jews.

Postwar: Decolonization and economic problems

After World War II, an energetic restoration work was started, which soon yielded results. The sharp 1920s and 1930s trade contradictions to Belgium were dampened by the Benelux Agreement of 1947. After the liberation in 1945, the Netherlands severely cracked down on the liberation efforts in the East Indian colonies, and the country’s progress was taken up by the UN Security Council. In June 1947, the Dutch bank was nationalized, and a six-year plan for nationalization of industry was implemented. The Benelux Agreement entered into force on New Year 1948. In March 1948, the Netherlands joined the Western Union and in April 1949 the Atlantic Pact. After celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Regent, Queen Vilhelmina abdicated in September 1948 and was succeeded by her daughter Juliana.

After lengthy negotiations, an independent Indonesian state was established in union with the Netherlands in December 1949. The same year, Dutch Guiana (Surinam) and Curaçao gained autonomy under the Dutch crown. Following the 1952 elections, the government entered into negotiations with Indonesia on a settlement of the union between the two countries. The negotiations support particularly serious difficulties in the financial settlement and in the question of New Guinea score. In August 1954, the Netherlands revised its relationship with the rest of the Dutch empire and declared its readiness to liquidate the union with Indonesia. Shortly after, the Indonesians interrupted the negotiations, declared the union dissolved and seized large Dutch values ​​in Indonesia, causing strong bitterness in the Netherlands. In November 1957, after Indonesia’s demand for New Guinea was rejected by the UN General Assembly, Indonesia initiated a hard-fought action against Dutch nationals in the country. Thousands were forced to leave Indonesia and settled in the Netherlands, where they had difficulty accepting them as the country was generally overpopulated.

The Netherlands took an active part in the efforts to expand economic and political cooperation in Western Europe, but was skeptical of some of the more comprehensive plans presented by France in particular. The Dutch government, wishing entirely from the Treaty of Rome, entered into 1957 that the community had to be expanded, primarily by the United Kingdom joining. Otherwise, it was in particular the problems related to New Guinea that characterized foreign policy. In 1962, there was almost a war with Indonesia over this territory, but it succeeded in finding a system where the area was placed under UN administration until May 1963, when it was to fall to Indonesia.

In domestic politics, it was inflation and the housing situation that characterized the debate in the 1960s, in addition to the traditional contradictions in cultural policy. The “pillarized” society, which had dominated Dutch society since 1917, began to disintegrate in the 1960s. In 1967, the Dutch Labor Party was divided, and the outbreak party The Democratic Socialists, led by Willem Drees Jr., advocated a more moderate line. The new party joined a coalition government with Barend Bisheuvel as prime minister. In the new coalition government after the 1972 elections, it was Joop Den Uyl’s Labor Party who became prime minister (until 1977). After a protracted government crisis, Andries van Agt became prime minister. In 1980, Queen Juliana abdicatedin favor of his daughter Beatrix.

The late 1970s and early 1980s became a turbulent period in Dutch politics. In the 1982 election, the Christian Democratic Party CDA (formed by the union of three former independent Christian parties in the center) and the Liberal-Conservative People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) gained a pure majority. Christian Democrat Ruud Lubbers formed government. The Netherlands was hit hard by the economic crisis that began in the mid-1970s. The Lubbers government implemented a tough economic tightening policy to reduce the government budget deficit and to control rising inflation and unemployment. Lubbers remained in power until 1994, thus becoming the longest reigning prime minister of the 20th century.

History of Chronological overview of Dutch

A brief historical overview

Year The course of events
BCE. Celtic settlement south of the Rhine – Maas Delta; further north there are Germanic tribes, friezes and batavas
15 vt. The Netherlands becomes a Roman province
350-500 The Franks settle in the southern Netherlands
500-600 The Franks eventually occupy the whole country
785 The Franks (Charlemagne) submit to the fryers
843 The whole country, with the exception of Flanders, becomes part of the central Franconian kingdom, following the settlement of Verdun. In 925, the area was incorporated into the eastern Franco-German Empire
1000’s The country is federalized
1100s The cities are growing. Flanders becomes the economic center of the region
1433-1568 The Burgundian-Habsburg Era
1430-1464 Philip the Good gathers the Netherlands under Burgundy
1464 The National Assembly (Staten-Generaal) is set up in Bruges
1477 At the death of Karl the bold and daughter Maria the king’s ascension, Burgundy returns to the French crown
1515-1555 During the reign, Karl 5 completes the collection of the Netherlands, which Philip the Good had begun
1516 Charles 5 (Emperor of 1519) inherits the kingdoms of Castile and Aragon, and the personal union with the Spanish kingdoms is initiated
16th and 1600s Economic and cultural prosperity
1555 Karl 5 abdicates; son Philip 2 of Spain inherits the kingdom. Under his strict Spanish rule, a riot broke out under the leadership of William of Orange
1568-1648 The War of Independence (Eighty Years War)
1579 The seven northern provinces, which are largely similar to the present Netherlands, form a republican federal state. The State General will gather in The Hague
1600s The Netherlands becomes a great power and conducts extensive trade and active colonial politics, especially in East India. The country becomes a haven for several of Europe’s opposition groups
1602 The Dutch East India Company is established
1609-1621 The 12-year ceasefire in the war against Spain
1618 Synod in Dordrecht
1621 The Dutch West India Company is established
1648 At the end of the peace after the 1980 war, Dutch independence was recognized
1672 The so-called disaster year (hot ramp year), large parts of the country is occupied by France
1700s Dutch power will be weakened
1795 France conquers the Netherlands and creates the Batavian Republic
1806 The Kingdom of Holland is established, Louis Bonaparte becomes King under the name Lodewijk Napoleon
1810 The Netherlands is incorporated in France
1815 The Netherlands is united under the house Oranien, William 1 becomes king
1830 The southern Netherlands is breaking free and forming the Kingdom of Belgium
1848 Democratization of the Constitution: Ministerial responsibility and direct elections to the Second Chamber
The late 19th century Economic progress and large income from the Dutch East Indies
1898 Queen Wilhelmina turns legal
1914-1918 The Netherlands is neutral during the First World War
1917 Ordinary voting rights for men
1919 Ordinary voting rights for women
1930 The world crisis is hitting the country hard
1940-1945 German occupation; the acts of war cause great destruction
1945-1949 Liberation war in Indonesia under fierce Dutch resistance
1948 The Benelux Union is being established. Queen Wilhelmina abdicates in favor of daughter Juliana
1949 The Netherlands becomes a member of NATO. Indonesia becomes independent in union with the Netherlands
1955 Indonesia dissolves the union
1957 The Netherlands participates in the creation of the EEC
1970 Economic downturn
1975 Surinam becomes independent
1980 Queen Juliana abdicates in favor of daughter Beatrix
1980s and 1990s Prime Minister Ruud Lubbers implements economic crisis measures; unemployment is rising
1994-1995 Major flood disaster two years in a row
2001 The Netherlands is the first country in the world to pass a law that, under certain conditions, allows active euthanasia. Gay marriage is equated with heterosexuals
2002 Right-wing politician Pim Fortuyn is assassinated just days before the parliamentary elections. The Christian Democrats take over the government
2004 Controversial filmmaker Theo van Gogh is murdered after making a movie that is perceived as blasphemous by Muslims
2005 The Netherlands says a surprisingly clear no to the EU’s new constitution, in the first referendum on the EU in the country
2010 The Netherlands Antilles are being dissolved. The Kingdom of the Netherlands now consists of the Netherlands and the Caribbean islands of Aruba, Curacao and Sint Maarten
2013 Queen Beatrix abdicates in favor of her son Willem-Alexander
History of Netherlands
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