History of the Netherlands

In the 1st century BC, the territory of the Netherlands was inhabited by Celtic and German tribes.  Then, in the 4th century, the territory was invaded by barbarians. The foundation of Amsterdam occurred in 1275. It should be noted that, historically, it was difficult to inhabit this territory because of the rivers, lakes, swamps, forests and climatic conditions. These features caused severe flooding in 1421, which resulted in the drowning of 10000 people.

During the Middle Ages, the Netherlands experienced strong economic development, making it one of the richest areas in Europe. In 1516, King Charles V of Spain inherited the Netherlands. In 1555, Philip II, King of Spain, inherited the Netherlands, which caused a lot of resistance from the Dutch Protestants, unleashing an 80-year war between the Netherlands and Spain. In 1578, Amsterdam abandoned the Spanish Catholic cause and, in 1579, the Union of Utrecht was formed, which joined the northern Netherlands, declaring its independence from Spain in 1581. Finally, in 1648, the Spanish recognized the Dutch Republic, the Netherlands; nevertheless, the Netherlands was part of the Austrian Crown or the Habsburg Empire.

During the 17th century, the Dutch Republic became the largest maritime power in Europe, turning Amsterdam into one of the most important financial centres of Europe. The creation of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, including the territory of Belgium and Luxembourg, occurred in the 18th century. In 1814, William I became King of the Netherlands. In 1830, Belgium was separated from the Kingdom of the Netherlands, followed by Luxembourg, in 1890.

During the 19th century, the Kingdom of the Netherlands enjoyed economic growth and institutional reforms and, during the Second World War, was declared a neutral country. Despite this neutral position, Germany invaded the Netherlands in 1940, which caused a lot of resistance from Dutch citizens and the Royal Family. After World War II, the country was rebuilt and the Kingdom of the Netherlands quickly developed. Today, the Netherlands is one of the most developed and richest countries in the world.

Source: Rijksmuseum website https://www.rijksmuseum.nl/en/explore-the-collection/timeline-dutch-history

Additional information