From Roses, Tulips, & Liberty
The Netherlands
Kingdom of the Netherlands
Flag of the Netherlands.svg
Established1588 (republic) 1814 (monarchy)
Largest CityAmsterdam
Government TypeConstitutional Monarchy
  • Dutch (Official)
  • West Frisian
  • Flemish
  • English

The Netherlands (Dutch: Nederland), is a country primarily located in Western Europe with numerous small overseas territories. It is one of the 3 constituent countries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The Netherlands consists of 15 provinces, bordering the Rhenish Republic to the east & France to the south. Amsterdam is the country's most populous city and nominal capital, while the port cities of Antwerp and Rotterdam are the economic centres of the nation.


In English, the country is also known as Holland. The term specifically refers to the European part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands on the lowlands. The adjectival form "Hollandic" refers to ideas and things related to European Netherlands, as opposed to Dutch, which could refer to the entire kingdom and its three constituent countries as a whole. Hollandic is also the name of the standard dialect of Dutch, setting it apart from other dialects like Afrikaans-Dutch and Amerikaens-Dutch (until it was considered a separate language in 1910).


The Dutch Republic in the 17th century

Centuries ago, the region that is now the Netherlands was composed of various lordships holding ever-changing patchworks of territories. By the 15th century, the Duke of Burgundy was able to consolidate power in the region, but later absorbed into the Habsburg realms. By the 16th century, the region was embroiled in a revolt against their Spanish overlords. In the midst of the revolt, seven provinces seceded from the rest of the Habsburg low countries and formed the Dutch Republic.

The birth of the republic gave way to a flourishing period of trade, science, art, and military, known as the Dutch Golden Age. The Dutch East India Company (VOC) and the Dutch West India Company (WIC) not only obtained a monopoly on the spice trade, their ships also controlled the world's seas, and often resulted in the tensions with the English.

Colony of New Netherland (1624-1796)

The Dutch established the colony of New Netherland on Manhattan Island as a base to conduct the fur trade. The new colony attracted Dutch, Wallonian, German, and Finnish settlers. The colony's growth was further sped up by the Patroon system, in which patroons (manorial lords) would be awarded patches of land in exchange for bringing in families to work on the land. The colony was fully managed by the Dutch West India Company. With the growing number of settlers came demands for representation in the colonial government. The settlers were disgruntled with the Dutch WIC's management of the colony, and demanded accountability. This culminated into the Municipal Charter of 1655, which gave New Netherland a more representative government and removed the Dutch WIC from colonial governance. The Dutch would keep New Netherland until the French revolution resulted in its loss in 1796.

The Tussenland Colonies (1655-1903)

With the Dutch WIC removed from New Netherland, they had to move their trading operations northwest. In 1655, Dutch Republic awarded the Dutch West India a trade monopoly for the vast American region west of New Netherland, which was later called the Tussenland. Thus, effectively splitting Dutch territorial holdings in America into two: a settler colony (New Netherland) and a trade-oriented colony (Tussenland). The Dutch WIC secured a trade partnership and alliance from the Iroquois Confederacy, which led the Iroquois to be strongest native force in Northeast America thanks to European weaponry. With the French and their Algonkin allies kept at bay by the Iroquois, Dutch explorers freely explored down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, which allowed them to lay claim to a huge portion of America. By the 19th century, the Tussenland would be composed of multiple colonies and protectorates, and was consolidated in 1861 into the Federation of Tussenland. By 1903, Tussenland gained independence from the Dutch.

Colony of Tauland

Taulandt (formerly called Formosa) was an island controlled by the Dutch East India Company in Asia. It served as the company's gateway to the Chinese trade. Due to their alliance with the Qing, the Dutch were able to secure a monopoly in the Chinese trade in the 17th century through the island of Formosa. The island later gained independence in the 1890s as a result of the divergent Dutch-Sinitic cultural infusion and separatist sentiment.

The Anglo-Dutch Wars

Map of the 2nd Anglo-Dutch War (1664-1667)
With the restoration of Charles II to the throne, a surge of optimism hit England that they could finally be able to reverse the Dutch supremacy over global trade. Due to a trade conflict and against the wishes of Princess Mary Henrietta, the English waged war against the Dutch. However, things would not turn out hopeful for the English. One of the war goals was to take New Netherland, which essentially cleaved through British North American territorial holdings. However, the popular government of New Netherland, now being led by Paulus van der Grist, put up a fight against the British. Thanks to their alliance with the Iroquois, New Netherland forces were able to fend off the English invaders. 600 New Netherlanders and 400 Mohawks captured the city of Rodenbergh (Nieuwhaven) on May 5, 1665.

The Dutch West India Company’s army quickly marched towards other settlements along the Versche River (Connecticut River), as these settlements were on Dutch claimed land. Despite initial English naval success, the war ended in a Dutch victory. The resulting Treaty of Breda (1667) affirmed Dutch ownership of the land west of the Versche River, land south of New Netherland up to the Suydt River, and Maryland.

The Triple Alliance, and the Franco-Dutch War (1672)

The conclusion of the Second Anglo-Dutch War in 1667 with the Treaty of Breda had been bitter for England. However, the situation changed upon the death of Charles II of England in 1667 December. Her elder sister and heir presumptive of England, Mary Henrietta, was coronated queen of England. Mary Henrietta was married to the stadtholder of the Dutch Republic, William II.

Although she was initially unpopular with the Dutch population in the United Provinces due to her sympathies toward the Stuart family, she had always sought for greater cooperation between the Dutch Republic and England. She was against England's declaration of war against the Dutch that had sparked the Second Anglo-Dutch war years earlier. Upon her coronation in 1667, she pursued a drastic change in diplomatic policy, one that was aligned with the Dutch Republic

Meanwhile, a year earlier, France had started the War of Devolution against Spain, where they had overrun and occupied crucial forts in the Spanish Netherlands. As a response, Johan de Witt, grand pensionary of the Dutch Republic, forged a coalition against French expansionism in the low countries. This coalition would be known as the Triple Alliance and had included England and Sweden. The coalition was able to successfully pressure the French into peace, resulting in the Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle, where the French gained significant territory in the low countries.

The Anglo-Dutch Union or the Twenty-Year Union (1692-1712)

Queen Henrietta of England died in 1692 at the age of 56. Her son, the stadtholder William III, inherits the throne of England at age 42. Being the stadtholder of the Netherlands, the ascension of William III had brought the two nations into a union. However, William III died in 1712 heirless. Thus the Anglo-Dutch Union ended after 20 years, and the Second Stadtholderate period began in the Dutch Republic.

The 18th Century

Great Silesian War and Prince Maurice's War (1750-1755)

Prince Maurice's War (1750-1755)
After resurrecting an old Brandenburg testamentary claim to Silesia and forming an alliance with France and other smaller German states, Prussia invaded Austrian Silesia in 1750. France, Bavaria, and Saxony, and Sweden had supported the Franco-Prussian Entente. Britain had supported its ally, Austria. Spain, having a Habsburg monarch, and territories in the low countries, soon became quickly involved in the war. The Dutch Republic was also attacked by the French due to their interests in the region.

Prince Maurice's War was the North American theatre of the Great Silesian War. Prince Maurice's War was one of the largest colonial wars in North America, where the colonies of Britain, Spain, and the Dutch Republic were pitted against those of France and their native allies.

The war ended with the signing of the Treaty of Vienna on 16 February 1755. The treaty granted the Dutch possession of the Great Lakes and the Mississippi Basin region, while the British were granted possession of Guadeloupe (including the islands of Basse-Terre, Grande-Terre, Les Saintes, Marie-Galante, and La Désirade). In Europe, Prussia's territory was divided between the allies. East Frisia becomes part of the United Provinces, and East Prussia has been granted to Russia, who then had exchanged it for the Duchy of Courland and Semigallia shortly after, which had been under the Polish Dominion.

The French Revolution

In the midst of the French revolution, the French invaded the Dutch Republic in 1795, replacing it with a pro-French client state known as the Batavian Republic. The stadtholder sent an order to the colonies to surrender to England for safekeeping from the French while the Dutch Republic was in exile. However, colonies resisted this order and refused to surrender to the English or French. One notable exception is New Netherland, which took advantage of the opportunity and declared independence from the Dutch in 1796.

Eventually, revolutionary France was defeated in 1814. The low countries was restored to Dutch hands in the same year, but this time under a monarchy: the Kingdom of the Netherlands, with the House of Orange as the ruling family.

Kingdom of the Netherlands (1814-present)

Under the Kingdom of the Netherlands, several reforms had been enacted. Most notably was the reorganizing of the companies. The Dutch West and East Indie Company was split into multiple smaller companies, to encourage competition and innovation among them. Most notable were the Royal Tussenland Company (operating in Tussenland, the Dutch Gold Coast Company, etc.)

Wars of Humiliation (1850-1857)

Canton War (1850-1857)

The Dutch had a long monopoly over the Chinese trade since the establishment of Formosa (now Taulandt) in the 17th century. Aiming to break the monopoly, the Kingdoms of France and Britain supported a growing revolt in Canton that aimed to overthrow the Qing dynasty. The Qing dynasty requested help from their ally, the Dutch.

On 1 March 1850, a Dutch admiral sunk a British ship carrying gunpowder en route to Canton. As soon as Europe got word of the incident, Britain hastily declared war on the Dutch Empire. France soon joined on the side of Canton and the British. This quickly developed into a global conflict, with British and Dutch colonies being pitted against each other in the Americas and multiple naval battles being fought on the English channel. In China, the Anglo-British-Cantonese alliance was slowly pushing back the Dutch and the Qing.

2nd Dutch-Spanish War (1850-1855)

While the Netherlands was distracted, Spain declared a separate war against the Dutch, aiming to take possession of conflicting claims in Tussenland and in the Maluku islands. The Dutch surrendered in 1856. In the resulting treaty, the Dutch ceded a large portion of the Mississippi basin region to New Spain, and they were forced to release South Tussenland as an independent nation, effectively locking the Dutch out of the Gulf of Florida. In the East Indies, the Dutch had ceded the Spice Islands (Maluku) to the Spanish. This had soured relations between the Dutch and the Spanish, until in 1881, Mexico had declared their independence as the Empire of Mexico.

20th Century

The Kingdom of the Netherlands in 1900.

By the 20th century, the Netherlands had rissen out of the ashes of the 2nd Dutch-Spanish War (1850-1855) and the Canton War (1850-1855), fought primarily in North America and in Asia. The war caused a massive loss of Dutch territory and prestige. Although in the 1870s, the Dutch economy started to recover. In the next thirty years, the Kingdom of the Netherlands was gradually able to rebuild itself and modernise its military and navy. It was thus able to rebuilt itself into one of the primary powers of the world.

The Dutch-Mexican War (1901-1903)

Map of America before and after the Dutch-Mexican War
By the 1890s, tensions arose when the Dutch condemned Mexico's activities in the Boer Provinces. In March 1900, the Netherlands warned Mexico to cease activity in the Boer provinces, but Mexico ignored the warning. The following month, the Netherlands marched its troops into the Black Hills Republic (nominally Mexican territory) to protect the Amerikaner settlers there. Mexico was outraged by this violation of its sovereignty. In an attempt to diffuse the tension, the Netherlands offered to purchase all former and claimed territories to avoid conflict, but Mexico rejected it. Mexico issued an ultimatum to the Dutch to end their presence inside Mexican territory but was once again ignored. Mexico took no further action until the following year. On February 3, 1901, Mexico declared war on the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

On the seas, the young Mexican navy was no match against the Dutch navy, which had blockaded important Atlantic-facing Mexican ports. However, the war was slow and drudging for the Dutch on land, having difficulty penetrating Mexican defenses. The tides eventually favored the Dutch when they won the siege of Santa Maria in the spring of 1901. The Dutch emerged victorious in a series of naval battles on the gulf and captured Matamoros and Tampico in the same year, prompting calls for peace. On June 4, 1903, peace was signed on the city of Williamsburg in neutral Virginia in favor of the Dutch.

After the war, territory that was lost during the 2nd Dutch-Spanish War was returned to the Dutch. In the Boer provinces of Mexico, the Northern Boers identified more with the Dutch than the Mexicans, and they were invited to be absorbed into the Federation of Tussenland, but they rejected the offer, citing cultural differences as a result of 75 years of Hispanic influence. There was also opposition within Tussenland against their entry into the Federation. The provinces of Irokesenland and Westerzee feared that two new Amerikaner dominated provinces would upset the political balance within the Federation and threaten Tussenland's cosmopolitan nature. As a compromise, borders were redrawn, and the independent Amerikaens Free State was created.

On the other hand, the Southern Boers identified more with Mexico and elected to stay within the Mexican Empire, granted that their autonomy would be restored and be allowed to continue self-rule.

Independence of Dutch Tussenland

Despite winning the Dutch-Mexican War and having new territories annexed into the Tussenland Federation (as unincorporated territories), the Kingdom of the Netherlands was slow (and reluctant) to parcel out these lands to the Amerikaners. Due to this sluggishness, the Tussenlanders, independently of the Dutch, established the Tussenland Land Agency which started surveying the land and opening it up to settlers. This led to the Dutch dismissing and replacing the leader of the Federation. However, Tussenlanders were loyal to the dismissed leader, and started to resent the Kingdom of the Netherlands for this act. This soon grew into a conflict between Tussenland and the Netherlands, with the latter blockading Tussenland's Pacific ports and the Mexican Gulf. Tussenland declared independence on February 14, 1905, and it was not long until the Tussenlanders drove off the Dutch from America. Despite this, the Dutch still did not officially recognize Tussenland independence until 1911.

Quasi-War with the New Netherland

Back in 1905, New Netherland supported the Federation of Tussenland in their independence against the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The Dutch conducted a blockade of the Gulf of Mexico to prevent Tussenlander ships from entering or exiting the Atlantic. However, goods and resources could still be shipped to Tussenland due to their Pacific ports and through New Netherland. Naturally, in September 1905, this blockade eventually extended to the seas of New Netherland. At first, NNL ships could pass through with ease through the blockade, as the Dutch only targeted Tussenlander ships. However, this changed when on February 1, 1906, the Dutch warship Amsterdam sunk the JHS Restaurasie, a merchant ship owned by the Jonkman Shipping Company based in New Netherland. New Netherland issued a diplomatic protest against the Kingdom of the Netherlands, but both sides took no further diplomatic action.

Instead, New Netherland mandated the outfitting of merchant ships with weaponry in order for them to defend themselves in case of a Dutch attack. This soon rapidly developed into an undeclared naval war between the Kingdom of the Netherlands and New Netherland. In 1906, the Kingdom of the Netherlands was able to sink four more ships of New Netherland. This rapidly escalated into an undeclared naval war between the two powers. The Dutch had the upper hand in 1906, but the tides were quickly turned in the following years. The Quasi-War catalyzed New Netherland's ship production, enabling them to outfit and deploy new submarines and armed merchant ships. The willingness of the Dutch to continue the blockade gradually started to wane in 1908, as their ships were constantly harassed by NNL merchant ships and submarine fleets. Since this was an undeclared war, there was no formal conclusion to the Quasi-War. However, the last naval encounter between NNL and the Netherlands was on April 4, 1910.

Political Developments in the 20th century

The Tulips Uprising (1910)

Due to the development of events in the Netherlands and in Europe as a whole, ideas of anti-militarism, anti-colonialism, Communardism, and even anti-monarchism took root in the kingdom. Since the loss of Tussenland, the Netherlands' naval blockade and warfare had worn out the civilian populace, who were starting to grow weary of the constant wars. This culminated in the Tulips Uprising in 1910, where various factions coalesced into a single front, demanding civil and political reform in the Netherlands.

This uprising was easily halted by the Dutch, however, and support for it soon faded. Historians attribute the failure of the Tulips Uprising to the disunity and infighting between the factions. For example, the anti-colonialists were composed of both monarchists and anti-monarchists, and they never got to a consensus on the topic of monarchy. There were also Communards who refused to cooperate with the monarchists and anti-colonialists. These circumstances ultimately led to the failure of the Tulips Uprising.


According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, the European Netherlands has a total area of (insert number) km2, including water bodies; and a land area of (insert numbers) km2.The Caribbean Netherlands has a total area of 328 km2 (127 sq mi) It lies between latitudes 50° and 54° N, and longitudes 3° and 8° E.

The European Netherlands is geographically very low relative to sea level and is a mostly flat country, with roughly 31% of its area and 39% of its population located below sea level and only about 50% of its land exceeding one meter above sea level. The European mainland is for the most part flat, with the exception of foothills in the far southeast that stretch to a height of no more than 321 meters; additionally there are some low hill ranges in the central region of the country. Most regions below sea level are man-made, caused by peat extraction or achieved through land reclamation. Since the late 16th century, through elaborate drainage systems that include dikes, canals and pumping stations, large areas of coastal land were reclaimed from the sea (known as polders). Today nearly 23% of the country's land area is reclaimed from the sea and from lakes.

Much of the country was originally formed by the estuaries of three large European rivers: the Rhine (Rijn), the Meuse (Maas) and the Scheldt (Schelde), as well as their tributaries. These three rivers create the largest river delta in the country which also creates the whole south-western geographic region of the Netherlands, the Rhine-Meuse-Scheldt delta. The European Netherlands is divided into north and south by the Rhine, the Waal, its main tributary branch, and the Meuse. In the past, these rivers functioned as a natural barrier between fiefdoms and have historically created a cultural divide, this is evident in some phonetic traits that are recognisable on either side of what the Dutch call their "Great Rivers" (de Grote Rivieren). Another significant branch of the Rhine, the IJssel river, discharges into Ijssel kanaal which leads into the north sea again, the former Zuiderzee ('southern sea'). Just like the previous, this river forms a linguistic divide: people to the northeast of this river speak Dutch Low Saxon dialects (except for the province of Friesland, which has its own language).

Government and Politics

The Netherlands is a constitutional monarchy while also being that of a unitary parliamentary state with a strong executive branch. In combination with it being what some might call a “Bureaucratic democracy.” It fuses both Dutch republican ideals as well as pragmatism in how a small but densely populated nation is to be run.

The office of the prime minister has grown significantly in power since 1960 this is  principally due to the depression (1974 - 2000). Due to a myriad of social issues, the refugee crisis the housing crisis, the eastern troubles, the Kandyan troubles, and the Burgher uprising. Combined with a harsh period for the Netherlands economically, culturally and socially showed that the former polder model of decision-making was too slow. Over time due to the various office holder the prime minister has grown in power, partly through actual expansion of power, or powers being taken from the king and given to the office of the prime minister. Yet also due to the precedent set making the office her powers range from its official ability to use the military within the kingdom or outside without parliament her approval for 190 days, which is a law, to be the only person to stand as the king stands during the annual budget review.

The executive power is formed by the prime minister and the council of ministers, the ministers are chosen by the coalition government, through consent. The cabinet usually consists of 12 ministers and secretaries and three representatives from the constituent states. This makes the Netherlands cabinet an interesting mishmash of various interests as since 1983 there has not been a single dominating party in governance and coalitions have become the norm.

The cabinet is responsible to the bicameral parliament, the States General, which also has legislative powers. The 150 members of the House of Representatives, the lower house, are elected in direct elections on the basis of party-list proportional representation. These are held every four years, or sooner in case, the cabinet falls (for example: when one of the chambers carries a motion of no confidence, the cabinet offers its resignation to the monarch). The States-Provincial are directly elected every four years as well. The members of the provincial assemblies elect the 75 members of the Senate, the upper house, which has the power to reject laws, but not proposes or amend them. Both houses send members to the Benelux Parliament, a consultative council

Political culture & parties

Administrative divisions

Foreign relations


The Netherlands has one of the oldest standing armies in Europe; it was first established as such by Maurice of Nassau in the late 1500s. It has seen service throughout the Dutch empire, helping to expand, defend and hold it, as well as fighting in many large conflicts from the Russo-Corean war, the Great war the east indies crisis and the Batavian unrests, the Kandyan insurrection and more recently the Nieuw Batavian crisis. Throughout its existence, the military of the Netherlands has gained a reputation for its ability to conduct war on a budget, its ability to achieve objectives and its sheer ferocity when fighting, as shown in the great war where the Krijgsmacht held the Rhine despite heavy casualties and losing the south and eventually liberating the nation again and pushing all the way into France defeating the enemies of the Netherlands.

The military is composed of four branches, all of which carry the prefix Koninklijke (Royal):

  • Koninklijke Marine (KM), the Royal Netherlands Navy, including the Naval Air Service and Marine Corps;
  • Koninklijke Landmacht (KL), the Royal Netherlands Army;
  • Koninklijke Luchtmacht (KLu), the Royal Netherlands Air Force;
  • Koninklijke Marechaussee (KMar), the Royal Marechaussee (Military Police), tasks include military police and border control.

Within the armed forces (Krijgsmacht) almost all branches and units are open to both genders, with the exceptions of the following:

  • Submarine service
  • Korps Speciale Stoot Troepen

This is for a variety of reasons, be the safety of the females in service to the nature of the units themselves.

The Krijgsmacht in total employs more than 180,000 personnel with 1,3 million reservists, maintaining one of the largest and most capable militaries in Europe. Its navy is considered one of the largest in Europe, this, as well as its military power in general, is a result of its geography, with the need to defend far flung places in Asia and Oceania the need to be a mobile flexible force, as well as the need for defence and a credible deterrence has forced the Netherlands to pay more to the military than many of its citizens actually want.





Impact of immigration

The Netherlands is home to the largest diaspora of Southeast Asians in the West. After the brutal East Indies Crisis, nearly two million Southeast Asian refugees entered the Netherlands during the next few decades, culturally reshaping the Netherlands.

See also