Ancient and Middle Ages
The history of the Netherlands does not go back very far, at least there are hardly any finds that indicate it. But from the barrows it can be concluded that the country was already inhabited during the Ice Age. In ancient times and at the beginning of the Christian era, the southern Netherlands belonged to the Roman Empire.
From the 4th century the Merovingian dynasty ruled and Christianization began, i.e. the spread of Christianity in the country. The Netherlands later went to the Emperor Charlemagne and, in the 9th century, to the East Franconian Empire. The East Franconian Empire is the forerunner of the Holy Roman Empire. In the 15th century the area passed from the House of Valois-Burgundy to the imperial house of the Habsburgs.
Creation of the Republic of the United Netherlands
In the middle of the 16th century the Habsburg empire was divided and under the new ruler Philip II, attempts were made to push back the Protestant faith. Wilhelm von Nassau-Dillenburg and Prince of Orange initially believed in a peaceful coexistence of religions. But the Catholics loyal to Spain in the country wanted to get rid of the Protestants. There were protests against this and ultimately the northern (Protestant) provinces founded the independent “Republic of the United Netherlands”. In 1648 the republic was also recognized by Spain and officially no longer belonged to the Holy Roman Empire. You can find out more about this at the children’s time machine.
In the 17th century the so-called Golden Age prevailed in the Netherlands, during which the country was doing very well economically and culturally. Back then, tulips were a kind of status symbol and were considered very noble. The popularity of the plant grew, and everyone bought the flower, the price of which continued to rise. It was hoped to make more money with the sale. In the 1630s, however, the price of tulips fell again and the market collapsed. This phenomenon is also called a speculative bubble. Because people bought tulips like crazy back then, the events are also known as tulip mania, or tulip madness.
More and more ports were built on the great coasts of the Netherlands during the 16th century. From there, the Dutch sailed to South America and Southeast Asia. In addition, New Amsterdam was founded on the coast of North America, today’s New York. South Africa was also approached later.
The growing supremacy as a sea power brought the Netherlands increasingly into conflict with England and there were three sea wars that only began with the marriage of William III. of Orange and the English Princess Maria Stuart. In the 18th century, the Netherlands was conquered by Napoleon Bonaparte and renamed the Kingdom of Holland.
The Netherlands in the 19th century
After Napoleon’s reign came to an end, the 1815 Congress of Vienna decided on the country’s future. Together with today’s Belgium and Luxembourg, the Netherlands came under the rule of William I. However, there were conflicts within this empire that were primarily of a religious nature. The Protestant north, i.e. the Netherlands, was Protestant and the south was Catholic.
After the Brussels uprising, the Belgian and Dutch provinces were each given their independence. A large part of Luxembourg went to Belgium. A little later there were revolts in the Dutch colonies, which led to less influence on the part of the Dutch colonial rulers and more self-government by the colonial countries.
The Netherlands during the world wars
During European conflicts, the Dutch mostly managed to maintain neutrality, including in the First World War. However, they were occupied by German troops during World War II. Under the rule of the German National Socialists there was looting, deportation of political opponents and Jews and serious murders.
After the end of the Second World War, the Netherlands and 49 other states founded the United Nations. The Dutch city of The Hague has been appointed the seat of the International Court of Justice. Four years later, the Netherlands joined NATO and formed a customs union with Belgium and Luxembourg, which later became an economic union.
In addition, the Netherlands was a co-founder of the EEC (European Economic Community) and thus made a significant contribution to a united Europe. In the 1970s, the Netherlands gave all of their colonies independence, except for the Caribbean islands, which are still part of the national territory.
Today, as one of countries beginning with N according to Countryaah, the Netherlands is a constitutional monarchy. The government consists of the king and the ministers. The king has a certain power in the Netherlands, unlike, for example, in England, where the queen has more the task of representing the country. Willem-Alexander has been King of the Netherlands since 2013. He succeeded his mother, Queen Beatrix.
Since the beginning of the 21st century, there has been a clear shift to the right in the Netherlands. Shift to the right is a political term that is used when parties or politicians from the right spectrum suddenly, so to speak, suddenly find support. This was particularly the case in the Netherlands after September 11, 2001.
On November 2, 2004, a Dutch filmmaker who was very critical and sometimes hostile to Islam was shot dead by a Dutchman with Moroccan roots. Since such incidents, right-wing attitudes have become more common in the country.
On the other hand, the Netherlands was also often liberal. The Netherlands was the first country in the world to officially recognize marriage between same-sex partners.