Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands; key historical events
Page last modified 1/5/2019
Spanish control, 1477-1648
22/3/2016, Islamic bomb attacks hit central Brussels and Brussels Airport. 37 were killed and 187 injured.
10/7/2005, Luxembourg voted to accept the European Constitution.
1/6/2005, In a referendum, the Dutch became the second nation to reject the European Constitution. The margin was 61% to 39%; the Dutch were worried about loss of their identity in a wider Europe.
2/11/2004, The Dutch film maker Theo Van Gogh, who received death threats after his film, Submission, was screened; suggesting that Islam tolerates misogyny and domestic violence, was gunned down as he cycled to work by a Muslim, a Dutch-Moroccan called Mohammed Bouyeri.
6/5/2002, The Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn, known for his anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim views, and was pro-gay rights,, was murdered by Volkert van der Graaf, an animal rights campaigner. Volkert received 18 years in prison, Fortuyn, 54, a former university professor, was openly gay and ostentatious, employing a butler and a chauffeur in a country where many politicians cycled to work. He maintained that The Netherlands was ‘full’, with 16 million people.
31/7/1993, King Baudouin I of Belgium died.
9/4/1993, Wouter Perquin, Dutch MP (KVP), died aged 74.
27/2/1992, Marinus Ruppert, Dutch Trade Unionist, died aged 80.
5/3/1992, In Belgium, Christian Democrat Jean-Luc Dehaene agreed to form a coalition government after a three-month political crisis.
2/10/1989, Liesbeth Ribbius Peletier, first female advisor of State in The Netherlands, died.
25/9/1989, Archaeologists opened the Titus of the Rhine grave in Amsterdam.
20/3/1985, The Belgian Parliament approved the deployment of Cruise Missiles.
1983, Death of Leopold III, King of the Belgians 1934-51, before he involuntariy abdicated in favour of his son, Baudouin, on 17/7/1951.
30/4/1980. Queen Juliana of The Netherlands abdicated in favour of her daughter Beatrix.
13/3/1978, Moluccan terrorists held 72 people hostage in government buildings in Assen, Holland.
14/12/1975, The terrorist seizure of a Dutch express train at Beilen, near Assen, ended. On 2/12/1975 south Moluccan extremists seized the train to protest against the Dutch Government’s failure to ensure an independent Republic of South Molucca when The Netherlands granted independence to Indonesia. Indonesia gained independence in 1950; the South Moluccans, who had fought fiercely for the Dutch against the Japanese in World War Two, had also resisted the Indonesian independence movement, and in 1950 feared reprisals from Indonesia. 15,000 South Moluccans fled to the Netherlands, and from 1970 onwards more extremist members of the community had begun to carry out terrorist attacks within Holland, such as petrol-bombing the Indonesia Embassy in The Hague. On 2/12/1975 six Moluccans borded the train at Groningen. They stopped the train at Beilen and shot the driver, 30-year-old Hans Braam. The passengers were forced into one carriage; one man tried to escape but was also shot. Dutch forces laid siege to the train, which was in open countryside and hard to approach unnoticed. Some hostages were released in return for food and warm clothing, but the Dutch Government refused to cooperate with the terrorists’ demands for international broadcasts of their cause. Finally, as the Dutch winter closed in and the train under siege from over 1,000 armed police and military, the Moluccans surrendered and gave up their last 25 hostages.
13/9/1974, Japanese ‘Red Army’ terrorists took French diplomats hostage at The Hague. On 17/9/1974 France and The Netherlands paid a ransom.
7/1/1974, In response to fuel shortages The Netherlands introduced petrol rationing.
1973, In the Netherlands, the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) Party was formed (see 1945). It was an amalgamation of the Catholic People’s Party, the Anti-Revolutuonary Party, and the Christian Historical Union Party.
4/11/1973, In response to fuel shortages caused by an Arab oil embargo, The Netherlands introduced car-less Sundays (Autoloze Zondags), when all motor vehicles were banned from the road, see also 7/1/1974. By the end of November 1973 Belgium, Denmark, Italy, Switzerland and West Germany had also introduced car-less Sundays. Only emergency vehicles, taxis, and some exsmpt drivers suich as doctors and diplomats were allowed to drive on the roads.
11/5/1973, Joop den Uyl became Dutch Prime Minister after a record 164-day ministerial crisis.
28/11/1962, Wilhelmina, Queen of The Netherlands from 1890 to 1948, died.
26/3/1961, In Belgian elections, the Christian Socialists lost their overall majority and formed a coalition government with the Socialists. Theodore Lefevre (Christian Socialist) succeeded Gaston Eyskens (also Christian Socialist) as Prime Minister.
19/10/1958, The 1958 World Fair closed in Brussels. It attracted 40 million visitors, the main centrepiece being The Atomuim, which remains today.
3/1/1958. Banks in The Netherlands were nationalised.
5/11/1957, The Delta Plan was published; an ambitious scheme to strengthen the sea defences of The Netherlands by new bridges, dykes and dams. The sea inlets between Rotterdam and Antwerp were to be closed off, and the province of Zeeland opened up to economic development, The project was successfully completed in 1968.
17/7/1951, Baudouin became King of Belgium, after the enforced abdication of his father, King Leopold III.
Leopold surrendered the Belgian armed forces to the Nazis on 28/5/1940, just 18 days after the German invasion of Belgium began, a move condemned as too hasty by the Allies. Leopold then chose to become a PoW in the luxurious surroundings of Laeken Castle, near Brussels. However there was evidence that Leopold had averted the deportation of half a million Belgian women in 1942 to work in German munitions factories. After the War Leopold was exiled to London. Belgian opinion on his return wad divided on ethnic/religious lines, with a referendum providing a 58% pro-leopold majority. This majority was mainly from the Catholic Flemish north of Belgium. The southern Walloon socialist liberals were against Leopold’s return. In July 1950 Belgian coalminers went on strike against Leopold. In the interests of national unity Leopold abdicated in favour of his son.
1/8/1950, King Leopold III abdicated in favour of his son Baudouin.
23/7/1950, Anti Leopold riots in Brussels, Belgium.
22/7/1950, Leopold III of Belgium returned to the throne after 6 years.
12/3/1950. A referendum in Belgium favoured the monarchy. King Leopold III returned to the throne after 6 years on 22/7/1950. On 23//7/1950 there were anti-Leopold riots on the streets of Brussels. On 1/8/1950 King Leopold abdicated in favour of his son Baudouin.
4/9/1948. Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands, aged 68, Queen since 1890, abdicated. Juliana, her daughter,39, became Queen on 6/9/1948.
1/11/1947. The Benelux customs union, officially created on 29/10/1947, became active.
25/8/1947, Franz Cumont, Belgian historian of religion (born 3/1/1868) died in Brussels.
3/7/1947. The Benelux Union Bill was ratified, creating an economic union of 18 million people.
1945, The Belgian Christian People’s Party was founded. A Roman Catholic Party, it previously existed as the Catholic Bloc (founded 1936), itself a successor to the first modern Belgian Catholic Party, founded in 1884.
1945, The Dutch Catholic People’s Party (Katholicke Volkspartij, KVP) was founded. It was a continuation of the Roman Catholic National Party (RKSP), founded in 1922. The KVP generally got about a third of the vote until the 1960s; then secularisation, immigration, and the departure of Catholics to splinter factions began to dramatically reduce that figure.The KVP joined the Ducth Protestant parties in an interdenominational grouping in 1973, the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) Party; the KVP was totally dissolved in 1980. The KVP, or CDA, has played a role in all Dutch administrations since 1945.
29/4/1945. Allied planes began Operation Manna, a 10-day long food drop for the starving Dutch. During the ‘Hongerwinter’ of 1944/5 severe cold weather had combined with a Nazi ban on food imports to The Netherlands and the scorched earth policy of the retreating Nazis to create a famine that killed 20,000 Dutch civilians, who had been reduced to eating tulip bulbs and stinging nettles. The RAF dropped 7,030 tons of food, and the US Air Force dropped a further 4,150 tons under Operation Chowhound; 3.5 million Dutch were saved from starvation before the German surrender of 8/5/1945. German forces still occupying Holland did not fire upon the food relief planes, flying at just 100 metres above ground.
15/9/1944, In London, the Benelux Organisation was formed.
7/6/1944. King Leopold of Belgium was arrested.
Click Here for image of Rotterdam after severe WW2 bombing 1940 (one house still stands….)
For main events of World War Two see France-Germany
4/1939, In the Belgian elections, over 45% of votes in the German-speaking eastern districts went to the Heimattreue Front, which wanted these regions incorporated into the German Reich.
31/1/1938. Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands born. She was the eldest daughter of Queen Juliana. She acceded to the throne on the abdication of her mother in 1980.
13/10/1937. The integrity of Belgium was guaranteed by Germany.
7/1/1937, Juliana, Queen of The Netherlands from 1948, married Prince Bernhard.
22/10/1936. Martial law was imposed in Belgium to control the Fascists.
24/5/1936. Rexists, Belgian Fascists, won 21 seats in the General Election.
15/7/1935, Pieter Cort van der Linden, Dutch politician, died at the Hague.
12/7/1934, Belgium banned uniformed political parties.
23/2/1934. King Leopold III succeeded to the throne of Belgium.
17/2/1934. Albert I, King of Belgium, aged 58, was killed in a climbing accident near Namur, after a 25-year reign. He was succeeded by his son, Leopold III, aged 32, who ruled until 1950.
28/5/1932, The 29 kilometre dyke connecting North Holland with Friesland was closed, making the Zuyder Zee an inland lake. Amsterdam could now only be reached from the sea via the 22 kilometre deep water North Sea Canal, completed in 1876. The dike increased the size of Holland by 2,030 square kilometres.
7/9/1930, King Baudouin of the Belgians was born at Stuyenberg Castle, the elder son of King Leopold III and Queen Astrid.
4/11/1926, Queen Astrid of Belgium (1905-35), daughter of Charles of Sweden and Princess Ingeborg of Denmark, married Leopold III, Crown Prince of Belgium, who became King of Belgium on 23/2/1934.Mother of King Baudouin I of Belgium, she was killed in a car accident near Kussnacht, Switzerland.
10/1/1920. Eupen and Malmedy united with Belgium; this was ratified by plebiscite later in 1920.
1/5/1919, The reclamation of the Zuyder Zee began.
14/1/1916. Zuider Zee dam in the Netherlands collapsed, causing extensive flooding.
For main events of World War One see France-Germany
14/8/1910, A fire at the World Exhibition, Brussels, destroyed some paintings.
25/4/1910, King Albert I opened the World Exhibition in Brussels.
23/12/1909. Prince Albert took the oath of fidelity of the Belgian constitution and became King Albert I of Belgium. He was born on 8/4/1875 at Brussels. He died from a fall whilst rock climbing at Namur on 17/2/1934.
17/12/1909, Albert I, 34, succeeded his uncle Leopold II as King of Belgium, who died aged 74 this day. Leopold II had ruled for nearly 41 years and amassed great personal wealth from his exploitation of the Congo. Albert I ruled until 1934.
30/4/1909, Juliana, Queen of the Netherlands, was born to Princess Wilhelmina.
1908, In The Netherlands, The Christian Historical Union (CHU) Party, a Calvinist Party, havng developed from the Anti-Revolutionary Party, itself founded in 1895. See 1973.
3/11/1901, Leopold III, King of Belgium from 1934, was born the son of King Albert I.
27/5/1900, Belgium became the first country to elect a government by proportional representation.
18/4/1893. Belgium introduced pluralism and universal male suffrage.
23/11/1890, Death of King William III of the Netherlands (born 1817).
6/7/1884, Willem Marinus Dudok, Dutch architect, was born in Amsterdam.
15/10/1883, The Palace of Justice opened in Brussels.
1/5/1883, The Great International Exhibition at Amsterdam opened.
31/8/1880, Queen Wilhelmina of The Netherlands was born.
12//9/1876. King Leopold of Belgium formed the International African Association to co-ordinate the activities of European explorers in Africa.
8/4/1875, Albert I, King of Belgium, born.
1867, The Treaty of London declared that Luxembourg was neutral territory.
10/12/1865, Leopold I, King of Belgium, its first sovereign after separation from The Netherlands, died aged 74. He was succeeded by his 30-year old son, Leopold II.
4/3/1853, Pope Pius IX set up five new bishoprics in The Netherlands, at Breda, Haarlem, s’Hertogenbosh and Roermond, also the Archbishopric of Utrecht, Until then The Netherlands had had no proper Catholic hierarchy since the Reformartion, and had been classified as a ‘mission area’. The imposition of this new hierarchy started the April Movement, an anti-Catholic protest in which Catholics were harried on the streets and dismissed from their jobs. The Netherlands Government wasd forced to resign and eventually the anti-Catholic protests faded away.
14/5/1846, Pieter Cort van der Linden, Dutch politician, was born.
19/4/1839, The Treaty of London officially recognised the independent Kingdom of Belgium. Willem II of The Netherlands retained the eastern part of Luxembourg with himself as Duke.
9/4/1835, Leopold II, King of Belgium, was born in Brussels.
21/7/1831, Prince Leopold became Leopold I, King of Belgium, when that country separated from the Netherlands.
4/6/1831, Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg was chosen as the first sovereign of newly independent Belgium.
7/2/1831, The Belgian Constitution was published.
20/12/1830. Belgium achieved independence, conceded by the Dutch King William. The Belgians were mainly Catholic, but the Dutch were mainly Protestant. On 20/1/1831 in London, the boundaries of the Netherlands and Belgium were settled, and the neutrality of Belgium was guaranteed by the European powers.
28/10/1830, Liege became part of Belgium.
14/10/1830, Belgium proclaimed its independence, having been part of the Low Countries (Netherlands).
4/10/1830, Belgium demanded independence from the Netherlands.
26/9/1830. The Belgians defeated a Dutch Army sent to quell the Belgian Revolution of 24 August.
25/8/1830, Demonstrations in Brussels against Dutch rule of Belgium.
24/8/1830. The Belgian Revolution began late in the night in Brussels. See 26/9/1830.
28/3/1820. Louis XVIII of France and King William of the Netherlands agreed that the frontier of their countries should be as it was in 1790.
17/2/1817, William III, King of the Netherlands, was born.
27/9/1815, Coronation of King William I of Holland, at Brussels.
16/3/1815, William of Orange was proclaimed William I, King of the Netherlands.
21/6/1814, The Kingdom of The Netherlands was created by a union of the Austrian Netherlands with Holland. The Austrian Netherlands plus the Bishopric of Liege (which bisected it) were approximately equivalent to todays Belgium, whilst Holland (United Provinces) was slightly smaller than today’s Netherlands. The ‘Austrian Netherlands’ had come into being after the Treaty of Rastatt (1714); the British and Dutch had been keen to see Austria have possession of the region following the War of Spanish Succession, as these powers feared French domination of the area.
15/11/1813. The Dutch rebelled and expelled their French rulers.
9/7/1810. Louis Bonaparte abdicated as ruler of Holland over a dispute about the effectiveness of the blockade against British goods. Napoleon annexed Holland.
5/6/1806, Louis Bonaparte was declared King of the Netherlands.
2/10/1799, The Duke of York captured Alkmaar, in the Netherlands.
11/10/1797, At the naval Battle of Camperdown, off the Dutch coast, the British defeated the Dutch, who had been a threat to British naval supremacy.
See France for more events of the Napoleonic Wars
2/1/1795, The French captured the Dutch fleet as it stood frozen into the River Texel. William V escaped to England as the French established a Batavian Republic.
6/11/1792, The French under General Dumouriez decisively defeated the Austrians at the Battle of Jenappes, Belgium. As a result of this battle, the Austrian Netherlands (now Belgium) were annexed by revolutionary France.
16/12/1790, Leopold I, King of the Belgians, was born.
18/6/1789, Austrian troops occupied Brussels.
20/5/1784, Peace of Versailles, between England and Holland.
20/11/1780. Britain declared war on Holland, one of the members of the League of Armed Neutrality. This League had been set up on 28/2/1780 by Czarina Catherine II of Russia, after complaints that the British navy was attacking other county’s ships indiscriminately whether they were involved in the American War on Independence or not.
22/10/1751, The Dutch Stadtholder, William IV, died aged 40. He was succeeded by his 3-year old son William V.
22/11/1747, Prince William IV of Orange became Stadtholder of all the United Provinces (Holland).
11/5/1745, The Battle of Fontenoy took place in Belgium, during the War of the Austrian Succession. Marshal de Saxe won a French victory over British and Allied forces. William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, had been sent with Austrian, British, Dutch and Hanoverian troops to relieve Tournai, Belgium, under siege by the French. Cumberland’s army was beaten back with casualties of 7,000 and forced to retreat during the night towards Brussels. The British suffered further setbacks in Flanders and as troops were called back to fight the Young Pretender, Charles Edward Stuart. The British made peace with France at Aix la Chapelle in 1748.
23/5/1706, The Battle of Ramillies, between Louvain and Namur in Belgium. Allied British and Dutch armies under Marlborough intercepted a French offensive. 15,000 French and 5,000 Allied soldiers died. The result of Ramillies was that Brussels, Antwerp and most of the Spanish Netherlands surrendered. By the end of 1706 the French held only Namur and Mons in The Netherlands.
12//9/1703, The Hapsburg Archduke Ferdinand was proclaimed King of Spain, War of the Spanish Succession began. France had already, in 1701, begun to occupy key fortresses in the Spanish Netherlands, following the death of the Spanish monarch Charles II on 2/10./1700, with no heir.
20/9/1697, The Treaty of Ryswick ended the Nine Years War. This Treaty led to the Barrier Treaties (1709-15) between Britain and the Netherlands, with the idea that Britain would assist The Netherlands to maintain a line of fortresses against any future French attacks. These fortresses included Ypres, Lille, Tournai, Valenciennes and Namur. In return the Dutch promised to send 6,000 troops to help Britain resist a Jacobite uprising, which they did supply in 1715.
1/6/1690, At Fleurus, Belgium, a French Army fought an allied Spanish and Dutch army. The French won.
26/11/1688. Louis XIV declared war on The Netherlands.
20/8/1672, Johan de Witt, Dutch politician, was born.
17/3/1672, The third Anglo-Dutch war began, because Charles II was bound under the secret provisions of the Treaty of Dover to support Louis XIV. The Treaty of Dover, 1670, was concluded between Charles II and Louis XIV of France, following negotiations begun back in 1668. However the weaker Dutch fleet held back the English, who were facing difficulties in financing this war. In 1673 the English Parliament agreed to raise taxes to fund the conflict in return for the passing of the Test Act. This Act required all holding civil or military office to accept the Church of England sacrament and reject the Catholic doctrine of Transubstantiation. The subsequent resignation of the Duke of York (the future James II) and others betrayed the presence of Catholics in the English high office. Meanwhile in August 1672 a revolution in the Netherlands brought William of Orange (future King William III) to power. In August / September 1673 Spain, Austria and Brandenburg, and in January 1674 Denmark, all declared war on France. The Dutch encouraged the belief amongst the English that the war constituted a betrayal of Protestant interests by Catholics in high office. In 1674 England concluded a separate peace with The Netherlands, the Treaty of Westminster.
31/7/1667. The Peace of Breda ended the war between England and the Netherlands. Trade laws were modified in favour of the Dutch, who also gained Surinam but recognised British possession of New York. See 18/6/1667 and 2/2/1665.
18/6/1667. The Dutch humiliated the English by breaking through a defensive chain in the Thames Estuary at Chatham and sailing up The Thames to burn or capture English ships. See 31/7/1667.
3/6/1665, The Duke of York defeated a Dutch fleet off Lowestoft. The Dutch admiral was killed in the battle, and 16 of his ships sunk.
16/4/1654. The Peace of Westminster ended the First Anglo-Dutch war between England and The Netherlands, but the Navigation Act which led to the war was retained. See 6/10/1651.
9/8/1653, Marten Harpertszoon Tromp, the Dutch Admiral who fought against Spain and England, was killed in battle against England off the Dutch coast.
20/2/1653. Admiral Robert Blake defeated the Dutch under Martin Van Tramp off Portsmouth.
8/7/1652, The First Anglo-Dutch war began.
6/10/1651. The English issued a commercial challenge to the Dutch by passing the Navigation Act; this prohibited the import of goods into England from America, Asia, or Africa in any except British or colonial ships; with a crew at least half-English. This was a challenge to Amsterdam’s status as Europe’s leading port. This was an attempt to revive the English economy, depressed by three years of plague and bad harvests. In 1652 England declared war on The Netherlands after an incident where a Dutch fleet refused to be searched by the British. See 15/4/1654, and 1/10/1660.
10/8/1648, Battle of Lens, Belgium.
30/1/1648. To free his forces for the war against France, Philip IV of Spain made peace in the United Provinces (Netherlands), at Munster.
29/8/1645, Hugo Grotius, Dutch statesman, was born.
4/11/1641, A Dutch fleet defeated a Spanish fleet off Cape St Vincent.
21/10/1639, A Dutch fleet under Maarten Tromp defeated the Spanish in The Channel. Spain was weakened by the breakaway of Portugal, and the rise of France as a power. Spain’s colonial quarrels with the Dutch, in Brazil and the Portuguese spice islands, were now superseded by these areas now being under Portuguese rule.
1625, Maurice of Nassau died and was succeeded by his brother, Frederick Henry. See 12/7/1584.
2/7/1625. The Spanish, fighting to gain control over The Netherlands, captured the town of Breda after nearly a year of siege.
9/4/1621, The 12 years truce between the Dutch and Spain came to an end, and hostilities resumed.
1615, The Dutch had now reclaimed over 300 square kilometres of farmland from the sea.
9/4/1609. A twelve year truce between Spain and The Netherlands was agreed, under French mediation.
20/12/1604, The Spanish captured Ostend, after a 38-month siege, from Dutch rebels. England had made peace with Spain and so the Dutch were without allies. However Spanish sea power was on the wane, and the Dutch made a truce, see 9/4/1609.
2/7/1600, At the Battle of Nieuwpoort, Dutch forces under Maurice of Nassau defeated Spanish forces under Archduke Albert of Austria in a battle on the coastal dunes.
23/4/1598, Maarten Tromp, Dutch Admiral, was born.
20/8/1597, Dutch seafarers brought back spice cargo from Java, see 2/4/1595 and 20/3/1602.
20/6/1597, Dutch navigator Willem Barents who led a team of three to find the North West Passage, and who discovered Spitsbergen on his last voyage, died at sea.
24/1/1597, Battle of Turnhout, Netherlands.
2/4/1595, The Dutch launched an expedition to try and open up a trade route to the East Indies, or Spice Islands, independent from the Spanish. Before the Union of Spain and Portugal in 1580/81, the Dutch commanded most of the spice trade between Lisbon and northern Europe. After this date, the Spanish shut the Portuguese out from this trade. This voyage was marred by losses, but the survivors who reached Texel on 20/8/1597 brought back valuable cargo, plus a treaty with the Sultan of Bantam, in Java. See 20/3/1602.
22/9/1586, The Battle of Zutphen. British and Dutch forces defeated the Spanish.
10/8/1585, Elizabeth I of England signed the Treaty of Nonsuch, promising 64,000 foot soldiers, 1,000 cavalry, and 600,000 florins a year to support Protestant rebels in The Netherlands against Spain. Although Elizabeth disliked involvement in foreign European wars, the Spanish presence in The Netherlands was too close to England to ignore. King Philip II of Spain, who had laid siege to Antwerp in 1584, saw this Treaty as a declaration of war.
12/7/1584, William the Silent, Prince of Orange, was murdered by a fanatical Catholic. His youngest son, Maurice of Nassau, was elected stadtholder of Zeeland and Holland in his place, subsequently also of Utrecht, Overyssel and Gelderland also. Maurice became Commander of the Netherlands Army and succeeded in driving the Spanish entirely out of the United Provinves (Netherlands). A 12-year truce with Spain was concluded in 1609, whereby Soain acknowledged the independence of the United Provinces. However in 1621 Spain again attempted to reassert control over the United Provinces, only to be evicted later on.
26/7/1581. (see 8/11/1576). The Estates General (Parliament) of The Hague deposed Philip II of Spain as the ruler of the Seven Provinces of the Union of Utrecht; effectively declaring UDI against Spain
19/5/1579, Treaty of the Malcontents, between Catholic nobles in The Netherlands and the Prince of Parma.
29/1/1579, Under the Treaty of Utrecht, the Northern Provinces were united to form what is now The Netherlands.
6/1/1579, Union of Arras. The southern Netherlands principalities of Artois, Hainault and Douai signed a Union in oppoisition to the northern Netherlands, with the intention of returning to the Catholic rule of Philip II of Spain. Later in January 1579 the northern Netherlands provinces, opposed to Catholic Spain, formed the Union of Utrecht.
31/1/1578, Battle of Gemblours, Netherlands. Farnese attacked and defeated a Dutch force.
8/11/1576. Spanish soldiers rampaged through Antwerp, killing some 7,000 people, and looting, in response to a rebellion against the tax imposed by the Spanish governor, the Duke of Alba. This caused a brutal repression, in 1572, against this rebellion, and some Spanish soldiers mutinied; some soldiers had also not been paid. Now leaders of the Catholic and Protestant Hapsburg Netherlands agreed to sink their differences and unite against the Spanish. See 26/7/1581.
1574, The Dutch took the town of Middleburg from Spanish forces.
3/10/1574, The relief of Leyden. William of Orange broke a dyke to flood the polders and then sailed his ships right up to the besieged city of Leyden to bring relief food, bread and herrings.The city had been besieged by the Spanish army since May 1574, and its inhabitants were reduced to eating dogs and rats. The Dutch had a navy but no army capable of defeating the Spanish. William of Orange broke the dykes, but the Spanish army believed they were safe, as Leiden is 36 kilometres from the sea. The dykes allowed the Dutch navy to sail to within 8 kilometres of Leyden, but an easterly wind kept the waters beyond that too shallow. However in October 1574 the wind changed to a south westerly gale, pushing the North Sea waters right up to the city. The Spanish army fled the advancing waters. William of Orange resupplied the starving city, and offered it a choice of tax relief or a University as a reward for its bravery. The city chose the latter, and so the University of Leiden was founded in 1575.
14/4/1574, Battle of Mookerheyde, Netherlands.
1/4/1572, Resistance fighters (the ‘Beggars’) against the Spanish rule of King Philip II over the Netherlands took the Dutch port of Brill and environs. This encouraged the spread of the anti-Spanish revolt across the Netherlands.
21/7/1568, Battle of Jemmingen, Netherlands. Spanish soldiers under the Duke of Alba lured Dutch rebels into an open position, then massacred them.
4/6/1568, Leaders of the Flemish opposition to the Inquisition were executed as traitors in Brussels. This sparked revolt in The Netherlands.
23/5/1568, Battle of Heiligerlee, Netherlands.
1567, The Council of Blood (or, Council of Troubles) was established by the Duke of Alba, Spanish Hapsburg military commender of the Low Countries, in order to suppress heresy and rebellion. Its decisions were seen as harsh, and it helped foment revolt in the Netherlands; the Council was dissolved in 1576.
1559, The Duke of Alba began a reform of the tax system, replacing a multiplicity of local taxes with standardised ones. The least popular of these was the ‘Tenth Penny’ Tax, a 10% tax on all transactions except on real estate. In 1571 there were widespread revolts against this tax, and in 1574 the Spanish gave up trying tocollect it.
24/4/1533, William the Silent, Prince of Orange, was born at Dillenburg Castle, Nassau, Germany.
1/6/1523, Two followers of Martin Luther were burnt alive in Brussels.
8/1/1488, The present Netherlands Royal navy was founded, by decree of Maximillian I of Austria.
28/10/1485, Rodolphus Agricola, Dutch scholar (born 23/8/1443) died.
23/12/1482. Burgundy and Picardy were absorbed into France by the Treaty of Arras. Meanwhile other Burgundian lands in the Low Countries passed to the Hapsburgs due to the marriage of Charles’ only child, Margaret, to the future Holy Roman Empire, Maximilian I.
26/12/1481, At the Battle of Westbroek, Holland defeated the troops of Utrecht.
7/8/1479, The Battle of Guinegatte. A French army attempting to invade The Netherlands was defeated by Maximilian of Austria, with Flemish foot soldiers.
18/8/1477, The Hapsburgs gained possession of the Netherlands through the marriage of the son of the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick III, Maximillian, with Mary, daughter of Charles the Bold.
23/8/1443, Rodolphus Agricola, Dutch scholar (died 28/10/1485) was born.
18/11/1421. 73 villages were flooded and up to 100,000 people killed when a dyke gave way just south east of Dordrecht, Holland. This polder was never reclaimed; today its marshes and lakes make up the Biesbosch national park.
1402, Construction of Brussels Town Hall began.
22/7/1387, Francis Ackerman, Flemish diplomat, was murdered in Ghent.
24/6/1340. The English fleet, under Edward III defeated the fleet at Sluys. The French fleet was virtually destroyed, giving Edward III control of the sea. However both the French and English rulers were short of money and unable to pay their troops; so Edward III, and Philip VI of France, settled at the Treaty of Esplechin.
The dispute between England and France had links to the Flemish weavers who rebelled but were defeated on 24/8/1328 by the new Philip VI of France. Also Philip VI supported the Scots under David Bruce against the English. In 1336 Edward III renewed his claim to the French throne. In 1338 Edward III cut wool exports to Flanders, forcing up wool prices and causing economic hardship to the weavers there. Edward then lifted the wool embargo, and encouraged the weavers to rebel again against Philip VI, to secure the unification and independence of Flanders.
7/6/1340, Rotterdam was officially declared a city.
24/8/1328. Flemish weavers rebelled against the French but were defeated at Mount Cassel by Philip VI, the new King of France. See 24/6/1340.
11/7/1302, A French army invading Flanders (see 19/5/1302) was heavily defeated at Courtrai, (Battle of the Spurs).
18/5/1302, The Matins of Bruges. The Dutch rebelled against the French and massacred the French garrison in Bruges.
14/12/1287, The sea broke through the dike at Stavoren, Netherlands, forming the Zuyder Zee.
1204, The city of Amsterdam was founded, as a dam on the River Amstel.
12/4/963, The foundation of Luxembourg. On this day Count Sigefroi of the House of Ardenne acquired the site of present day Luxembourg City for the purpose of erecting a castle there.
698, Willibrord of Utrecht discovered Heligoland.