Chronography of the Netherlands

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For map of historical development of selected canals and railways, Netherlands, click here


20 November 2021, Rioting in Rotterdam as anti-vaccine crowds clashed with police over lockdown.

22 March 2016, Islamic bomb attacks hit central Brussels and Brussels Airport. 37 were killed and 187 injured.

1 June 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 November 2004, 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.

20 March 2004, Death of Princess Juliana, formerly Queen Juliana of the Netherlands.

2002, The Netherlands adopted the Euro.

6 May 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.

2001, Euthanasia was legalised.

27 October 1999, Brothels were legalised in The Netherlands.

9 April 1993, Wouter Perquin, Dutch MP (KVP), died aged 74.

27 February 1992, Marinus Ruppert, Dutch Trade Unionist, died aged 80.

2 October 1989, Liesbeth Ribbius Peletier, first female advisor of State in The Netherlands, died.

25 September 1989, Archaeologists opened the Titus of the Rhine grave in Amsterdam.

24 December 1987, Joop den Uyl, former Dutch Prime Minister, died.

30 April 1980. Queen Juliana of The Netherlands abdicated in favour of her daughter Beatrix.

13 March 1978, Moluccan terrorists held 72 people hostage in government buildings in Assen, Holland.

26 August 1976, In the Netherlands, Prince Bernhard, husband of Queen Juliana, resigned all his public posts after being accused of corruption in his dealings with the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation.

14 December 1975, The terrorist seizure of a Dutch express train at Beilen, near Assen, ended.On 2 December 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 December 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 September 1974, Japanese �Red Army� terrorists took French diplomats hostage at The Hague. On 17 September 1974 France and The Netherlands paid a ransom.

7 January 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 November 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 January 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 May 1973, Joop den Uyl became Dutch Prime Minister after a record 164-day ministerial crisis.

5 November 1963, US Vice President Lyndon Johnson visited The Netherlands

28 November 1962, Wilhelmina, Queen of The Netherlands from 1890 to 1948, died.

15 June 1958, Fran�ois de Vries, Dutch economist, died aged 74

3 January 1958. Banks in The Netherlands were nationalised.

28 September 1957, Queen Juliana of The Netehrlands opened the Velser Tunnels, NW of Amsterdam.


Benelux founded; start of EEC

1957, The Netherlands became a founder member of the EEC.

1 November 1947. The Benelux customs union, officially created on 29 October 1947, became active.

3 July 1947. The Benelux Union Bill was ratified, creating an economic union of 18 million people.

15 September 1944, In London, the Benelux Organisation was formed.


20 September 1949, The Dutch Guilder was devalued by 30.3%.

4 September 1948. Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands, aged 68, Queen since 1890, abdicated. Juliana, her daughter,39, became Queen on 6 September 1948.

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.


World War Two

7 May 1946, Anton Mussert, founder of the Dutch National Socialist Movement and a staunch supporter of Nazi rule in Holland, was hanged.

29 April 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 May 1945. German forces still occupying Holland did not fire upon the food relief planes, flying at just 100 metres above ground.

World War Two Damage Rotterdam

For main events of World War Two see France-Germany


31 January 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.

7 January 1937, Juliana, Queen of The Netherlands from 1948, married Prince Bernhard.

15 July 1935, Pieter Cort van der Linden, Dutch politician, diedat the Hague.

24 October 1920, The Netherlands set the maximum work week at 45 hours, with five 8-hour days, five hours on Saturday, and no work on Sunday.

1919, Women fully enfranchised in The Netherlands.

21 February 1917, Victor Marie Marljnen, Dutch Prime Minister from 24 July 1963, was born in Arnhem, Netherlands.


Reclamation of Zuyder Zee

5 November 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.

28 May 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.

1 May 1919, The reclamation of the Zuyder Zee began.

1916, The Dutch Parliament voted to fund the draining of the Zuyder Zee, creating a further 1,200 square miles of land.

14 January 1916. Zuider Zee dam in the Netherlands collapsed, causing extensive flooding.


World War One

For main events of World War One see France-Germany


6 February 1915, Derk Roemers, Dutch politician, was born in Haarlem, Netherlands (died 1983)

30 April 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.

4 October 1906, Johannes Post, Dutch WW2 resistance fighter, was born in Hollandscheveld, Drente, Netherlands (died 1944)

16 March 1904, For health reasons, The Netherlands restricted the employment of women and children in trades where lead was used, also near dangerous machinery.

13 April 1903, A railway and dock strike in The Netherlands that began on 6 April 1903 was ended when the Government brought in troops. This raised socialist support amongst Dutch workers generally.

28 May 1901, For health reasons, The Netherlandsprohibited the manufacture of lucifer matches using white phosphorus.

23 November 1890, Death of King William III of the Netherlands (born 1817). He was succeeded by his 10-year-old daughter who ruled as Queen Wilhelmina from 1898. The duchy of Luxembourg separated from the Netherlands because no woman could inherit the ducal title.

6 July 1884, Willem Marinus Dudok, Dutch architect, was born in Amsterdam.

1 May 1883, The Great International Exhibition at Amsterdam opened.

31 August 1880, Queen Wilhelmina of The Netherlands was born.

4 March 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 May 1846, Pieter Cort van der Linden, Dutch politician, was born.

1849, A further programme of canal construction was undertaken in The Netherlands, see Canals for details and dates.

16 March 1843, Anton Falck, Dutch statesman, died (born 19 March 1777).

7 October 1840, King Willem I of The Netherlands abdicated aged 68 to marry Roman Catholic Belgian Countess d�Oultremont, who was unpopular with the Dutch. He was succeeded by his 47-year-old son who ruled as Willem II until 1849.

5 October 1837, Hortense de Beauharnais, Queen of Holland, died

1830, Secession of Belgium from The Netherlands,

28 March 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 February 1817, William III, King of the Netherlands, was born.

1815-30, A major canal contruction programme began in The Netherlands, see Canals for details and dates.

27 September 1815, Coronation of King William I of Holland, at Brussels.

16 March 1815, William of Orange was proclaimed William I, King of the Netherlands.

21 June 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.


Napoleonic Wars

30 November 1813, William of Orange (later King William I) returned to The Netherlands.

15 November 1813. The Dutch rebelled and expelled their French rulers.

9 July 1810. Louis Bonaparte abdicated as ruler of Holland over a dispute about the effectiveness of the blockade against British goods. Napoleon annexed Holland.

5 June 1806, Louis Bonaparte was declared King of the Netherlands.

2 October 1799, The Duke of York captured Alkmaar, in the Netherlands.

11 October 1797, At the naval Battle of Camperdown, off the Dutch coast, the British under Scottish Admiral Adam Duncan defeated the Batavian (French-dominated) Dutch, who had been a threat to British naval supremacy.

16 May 1795, The Dutch Republic now became the Batavian Republic, effectively a vassal State of France.

See France for more events of the Napoleonic Wars

2 January 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.


10 October 1787, Amsterdam, the Dutch capital, surrendered to Prussian forces, bringing ther anti-aristocratic revolution to an end.

20 September 1787, William V of Orange was restored as Stadtholder of the Dutch Republic, following the expulsion of the Patriot Party by the Prussians.

13 September 1787, Prussian forces under the Duke of Brunswick invaded the Netherlands, overcoming desultory resistance from the Patriot |Free Corps militias.

20 May 1784, Peace of Versailles, between England and Holland.

18 April 1782, Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II repealed the Third Barrier Treaty of 1715, obliging the Dutch to evacuate the garrisons in the Barrier Towns in the Austrian Netherlands, which they did evacuate this day.

20 November 1780. Britain declared war on Holland, one of the members of the League of Armed Neutrality. This League had been set up on 28 February 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.

19 March 1777, Anton Falck, Dutch statesman, was born (died 16 March 1843).

22 October 1751, The Dutch Stadtholder, William IV, died aged 40. He was succeeded by his 3-year old son William V, who ruled until 1795.

7 May 1748, French forces captured Maastricht, in the War of the Austrian Succession.

22 November 1747, Prince William IV of Orange became Stadtholder of all the United Provinces (Holland).

29 January 1713, Britain and The Netherlands signed a second Barrier Treaty, modifying the terms of the first such Treaty (see 29 October 1709). The number of �barrier towns� to be fortified by Britain against France was reduced.

29 October 1709, Britain and The Netherlands signed the Barrier Treaty. The Netherlands guaranteed to support the Protestant Hanoverian succession in Britain, and Britain guaranteed to maintain a �barrier� of towns in southern Netherlands against possible French aggression.

15 December 1707, Jan van Broekhuizen, Dutch classical scholar, died (born 20 November 1649).


War of the Spanish Succession, see France, Spain, Italy for more events

12 September 1703, 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 September 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.

29 May 1691, Cornelius van Tromp, Dutch naval Commander, died in Amsterdam (born 6 September 1629 in Rotterdam)

26 November 1688, Louis XIV declared war on The Netherlands.

15 August 1684, The Truce of Ratisbon (or, Truce of Regensburg) ended the War of the Reunions between Spain and the Holy Roman Empire on one side and France on the other. The War of the Reunions (1683�84) was a conflict between France, Spain and the Holy Roman Empire, with limited involvement by Genoa. It can be seen as a continuation of the 1667�1668 War of Devolution and the 1672�1678 Franco�Dutch War, which were driven by Louis XIV's determination to establish defensible boundaries along France's northern and eastern borders.


30 October 1680, Antoinette Bourignon, Flemish mystic, was born in Lille (died in Friesland 30 October 1680).

29 April 1676, Michael de Ruyter, Dutch naval officer, died (born 24 March 1607).

20 August 1672,Johan de Witt, Dutch politician, was assassinated (born 24 September 1625).


Third Anglo-Dutch War

19 February 1674, The Treaty of Westminster ended the Third Anglo-Dutch War.

29 June 1673, The French under Louis XIV captured Maastricht. Louis then overran Lorraine and Trier.

17 March 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 of France. The Treaty of Dover, 1670, was concluded between Charles II and Louis XIV, 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.

See also Britain, and France, for events leading to the third Anglo-Dutch War


23 February 1669, Lieuwe Aitzema, Dutch statesman, died (born 19 November 1600, in Doccum, Friesland).

10 May 1668, Treaty of Aix la Chapelle ended the war between France and Holland

2 May 1668, Treaty of Aix la Chapelle ended the War of Devolution between France ans Spain. France returned most of the gains it had made from Spain in The Spanish Netherlands.


Britain starts making peace with The Netherlands in order to contain France. However Catholic English King Charles II reverses this policy somewhat.

31 July 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 June 1667 and 2 February 1665.

18 June 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 July 1667.

3 June 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.

1 October 1660. The English reinforced the Navigation Act by insisting that certain colonial goods were only to be shipped to Britain. This was directed against the Dutch but caused resentment in the British colonies.

16 April 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 October 1651.

9 August 1653, Marten Harpertszoon Tromp, the Dutch Admiral who fought against Spainand England, was killed in battle against England off the Dutch coast.

31 March 1653, Battle of Leghorn, Anglo-Dutch Wars. Dutch Admiral van Gelen, although killed in action, destroyed 6 Engloish ships under Commodore Appleton.

20 February 1653. Admiral Robert Blake defeated the Dutch under Martin Van Tramp off Portsmouth.

See also Great Britain

20 November 1652, Battle of Dover, Anglo-Dutch Wars. The Dutch fleet under Admiral van Tromp defeated vthe English fleet under Admiral Blake just off Dover. The Dutch scored another victory at Dungeness soon after.

8 July 1652, The First Anglo-Dutch war began.

6 October 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 April 1654, and 1 October 1660.

Netherlands in conflict with Britain over shipping, commerce


6 November 1650, William II of Nassau died.

20 November 1649, Jan van Broekhuizen, Dutch classical scholar, was born (died 15 December 1707)


Spain makes major concessions, recognises independent United Provinces of Netherlands

30 January 1648, To free his forces for the war against France, Philip IV of Spain made peace in the United Provinces at Munster. Spain therefore made major concessions. The United Provinces (Netherlands) were recognised as independent by Spain, all Dutch conquests were recognised, and freedom of trade in the East and West Indies was conceded.

14 March 1647, Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange, died.

29 August 1645, Hugo Grotius, Dutch statesman, died.

4 November 1641, A Dutch fleet defeated a Spanish fleet off Cape St Vincent.

21 October 1639, Battle of the Downs. A Dutch fleet under Maarten Tromp defeated the Spanish in The Channel, effectively ending Spain�s role as a major naval power.Spain was weakened by the breakaway of Portugal (12/1640), and the rise of France.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.

9 September 1629, Cornelius van Tromp, Dutch naval Commander, was born in Rotterdam (died 29 May 1691 in Amsterdam)

16 June 1626, Christian of Brunswick, Dutch General, died (born 20 September 1599).

5 June 1625, The Spanish under Spinola captured Breda after a siege (28 August 1624)

4 April 1625, Maurice of Nassau died and was succeeded by his brother, Frederick Henry. See 12 July 1584.

24 September 1625, John de Witt, Dutch statesman, was born (died 1672).

2 July 1625, The Spanish, fighting to gain control over The Netherlands, captured the town of Breda after nearly a year of siege.

5 June 1625, Spinola captured Breda, after a siege fom 28 August 1624.

23 April 1625, Maurice died, disappointed by his failure to relieve Breda.

28 August 1624, Spinola began a siege of Breda, a key fortress on the road to Utrecht and Amsterdam.

10 June 1624, Treaty of Compeigne. France and Holland allied against the Hapsburgs.

29 August 1622, Battle of Fleurus. The Spanish under Spinola had invaded Holland and laid siege to Bergen op Zoom. Mansfeld and Christian marched to relieve the city but were intercepted at Fleurus by Cordoba. Christian broke the Spanish lines, at great cost to his own forces, then raised the siege. Christian then moved his army to East Friesland where there was good foraging for the horses.

9 August 1621, Conflict between The Netherlands and Spain restarted. This became part of the Thirty Years War.

3 June 1621, The Dutch West India Company was formed, to organise the trade from the Dutch colonies in Africa and America.

9 April 1621, The 12 years truce between the Dutch and Spain came to an end, and hostilities soon resumed.

13 May 1619, After a trial of very dubious legality, the Remonstrants (see 9 July 1618) were sentenced to death. Grotius� and Hoogerbeets� sentences were commuted to life imprisonment.

6 May 1619, The Remonstrant Party was banned, and its preachers deprived.

20 February 1619, Johan van Oldenbarneveldt was found guilty of treason

23 August 1618, Johan van Oldenbarneveldt, advocate of the United Provinces, was arrested for treason on orders of Maurice of Nassau, Prince of Orange, Stadtholder of the United Provinces.

9 July 1618, Religious dispute in Holland between Jacobus Arminius and Gomarus. Gomarus supported the doctrine of predestination; Arminius opposed it. The Arminians, or Remonstrants, were supported by the local State-Princes; the Contra-Remonstrants (Gomarus) were supported by Maurice, who also had the Army on his side. Maurice moved to eliminate the waard-gelders, the local militia possessed by the State-Princes. Supporting the Remonstrants were Hugo de Groot (Grotius) and Hoogerbeets. See 13 May 1619.

13 January 1616, Antoinette Bourignon, Flemish mystic, was born in Lille (died in Friesland 30 October 1680).

1615, The Dutch had now reclaimed over 300 square kilometres of farmland from the sea.

9 April 1609. A twelve year truce between Spain and The Netherlands was agreed, under French mediation.

4/1607, Dutch Admiral Heemskerk destroyed the Spanish fleet at Gibraltar.

24 March 1607, Michael de Ruyter, Dutch naval officer, was born (died 29 April 1676).

20 September 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 April 1609.

15 July 1601, Spanish forces commenced a siege of Ostend (see 20 September 1604).

2 July 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.

20 September 1599, Christian of Brunswick, Dutch General, was born (died 16 June 1626).

23 April 1598, Maarten Tromp, Dutch Admiral, was born.

20 August 1597, Dutch seafarers brought back spice cargo from Java, see 2 April 1595 and 20 March 1602.

20 June 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 January 1597, Battle of Turnhout, Netherlands. A Spanish force of 4,500 was routed by Maurice with sccarcely any loss to the Dutch

2 April 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 August 1597 brought back valuable cargo, plus a treaty with the Sultan of Bantam, in Java.See 20 March 1602.

1594, Maurice�s forces captured Groningen. The northern Netherlands was now clear of Spanish forcers.

1593, Maurice�s forces captured Geertruidenburg, after besieging it for 3 months.

3 December 1592, Alexander Farnese, Duke of Parma, Governor-General of The Netherlands under King Philip II of Spain, died (born 27 August 1545).

21 October 1591, Dutch forces captured Nijmegen.

20 June 1591, Dutch forces captured Deventer.

20 May 1591, Dutch forces captured Zutphen.

29 October 1590, Dirck Coonhert, Dutch politician, died (born 1522).

8 March 1590, Dutch forces under Maurice made a surprise attack on Breda and captured it from the Spanish.

1588, Spain by now could probably have totally subdued The Netherlands; however Spanish were now focussed on the Spanish Armada, and invading England.

6 August 1587, The Earl of Leicester, who had been leading English forces helping the Dutch to resist the Spanish, returned to England after failing to prevent Spanish forces capturing the port of Sluis.

22 September 1586, The Battle of Zutphen. British and Dutch forces defeated by the Spanish.

February 1586, Maurice of Nassau was now effectively King of the Netherlands.

17 August 1585, The city of Antwerp, besieged by the Spanish for 13 months, surrendered to them.

10 August 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.

1585, Sovereignty of the Netherlands was offered to King Henry III of France, but he shrewdly declined this honour, facing dissent within France itself. The Netherlands now looked to England for support.

12 July 1584, William the Silent, Prince of Orange, was assassinated, shot by a fanatical Catholic, Balthazar Gerard (see 15 March 1581). 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 Provinces (Netherlands). A 12-year truce with Spain was concluded in 1609, whereby Spain 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.

17 March 1583, The Duke of Anjou attempted to gain more power in the United Provinces, by a surprise attack on Antwerp, but was successfully resisted by the citizenry. This was the �French Fury�.

13 July 1573, The Spanish captured Haarlem after a 7-month siege.

18 March 1582, A youth named Jean Jaureguy attempted tassassinate the Duke of Anjou. He fired a bullet which badly wounded him but was not fatal.

2/1582, The Duke of Anjou was formally inauguared as Duke of Brabant (see 23 January 1581). Soon afterwards he was also installed as Duke of Gelderland, Count of Flanders and Lord of Friesland. William of Orange chose to reside at Antwerp so as to be able tomreadily assist the Duke of Anjou.

26 July 1581. (see 8 November 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.

24 July 1581, William of Orange agreed to become Count of the provinces of Holland and Zeeland (see 23 January 1581).

15 March 1581, Philip II of Spain declared William of Orange a traitor (the�Ban�) and a reward was offered to anyne who would assassinate him (see 12 July 1584).

23 January 1581, To gain an ally in order to withstand the power of Philip II of Spain, sovereignty of the Northern Provinces was offered to the Duke of Anjou, thereby gaining the support of France. However the Duke of Anjou was a Catholic, which initially raised suspicions of betrayal amongst some citizens of the Northern Provinces. William of Orange mainiained that the installation of the Duke of Anjou was a necessity and persisted with this policy. The provinces of Holland and Zeeland remained unwilling to recognise any sovereign except William of Orange.

19 May 1579, Treaty of the Malcontents, between Catholic nobles in The Netherlands and the Prince of Parma.

29 January 1579, Under the Treaty of Utrecht, the Northern Provinces were united to form what is now The Netherlands. This was largely due to the efforts of John of Nassau.

6 January 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 January 1578, Battle of Gemblours, Netherlands. Farnese attacked and defeated a Dutch force.

23 September 1577, William of Orange entered Brussels, and the States-General deposed Don John of Austria and elected him as Governor, in defiance of the Habsburg supporters. These then appointed a rival Governor, Archduke Matthias, brother of Emperor Rudolph II.

8 November 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 July 1581.

5 March 1576, The successor to the Duke of Alba, Luis Requescens, died as Spanish Governor of The Nteherlands. His governnence was made impossible by an empty Treasury and unpaid mutinous troops.

14 November 1575, Queen Elizabeth I of England declined the sovereignty of The Netherlands, which had been offered to her by the Protestant Dutch Stadtholder, William of Orange.

1 September 1575, Philip II of Spain suspended all payments by the Spanish Crown, and Don Luis de Requesens in The Netehrlands was unable to continue paying his troops.

1574, The Dutch took the town of Middleburg from Spanish forces.

3 October 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 April 1574, Battle of Mookerheyde, Netherlands. Louis� army was routed by the Spanish under Sancho de Avila and Louis himself was killed.

18 December 1573, Fernando, Duke of Alva, having failed to make headway against the Dutch rebels, asked to be relieves of his command and leave Brussels. He was replaced as Spanish Governor of The Netherlands by Don Luis de Requescens.

21 August 1573, Eight Years War. The Spanish laid siege to Alkmaar, but the Dutch successfully resisted and the Spanish raised the siege on 8 October 1573.

11 July 1572, English volunteers under navigator Sir Humohrey Gilbert arrived in The Netherlands to fight the Spanish.

1 April 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 July 1568, Battle of Jemmingen, Netherlands. Spanish soldiers under the Duke of Alba lured Dutch rebels into an open position, then massacred them.

5 June 1568, Philip Horn, Netherlands statesman, was executed by the Spanish.

4 June 1568, Leaders of the Flemish opposition to the Inquisition were executed as traitors in Brussels. This sparked revolt in The Netherlands.

5 October 1568, William the Silent, William of Orange ,led an army into Brabant, Spanish Netherlands. However he withdrew in November 1568 when Ferdinand, Duke of Alva, declined battle.

23 May 1568, Battle of Heiligerlee, Netherlands. Louis, with 3,000 men, defeated a slightly smaller German-Spanish force under John, Duke of Aremberg.

22 August 1567, The Council of Blood (or, Council of Troubles) was established by the Duke of Alba, Spanish Hapsburg military commander 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

8 August 1567, Fernando, Duke of Alba, arrived in The Netherlands as military governor, with 10,000 Spanish and Italian troops, to re-establish autocratic rule.

5 April 1566, Unrest started in The Netherlands when the minor nobility bergan to object to the strict Catholicism being imposed by the Habsburgs. By August 1566, rioting in The Netherlands would force the Regent, Margaret of Parma, to acquiesce and the Inquisition in the Netherlands was disbanded.

Conflict starts in The Netherlands, Dutch against Spanish/Hapsburg


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 to collect it.

14 September 1547, Johan van Oldenbarneveldt, Dutch statesman who was instrumental in obtaining independence for The Netherlands, was born in Amersfoort.

27 August 1545, Alexander Farnese, Governor-General of The Netherlands under King Philip II of Spain, was born (died 3 December 1592).

24 April 1533, William the Silent, Prince of Orange, was born at Dillenburg Castle, Nassau, Germany.

8 January 1488, The present Netherlands Royal navy was founded, by decree of Maximillian I of Austria.

28 October 1485, Rodolphus Agricola, Dutch scholar (born 23 August 1443) died.

23 December 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 December 1481, At the Battle of Westbroek, Holland defeated the troops of Utrecht.

10 January 1480, Margaret of Austria, Regent of The Netherlands 1507-30, was born.

7 August 1479, The Battle of Guinegatte. A French army attempting to invade The Netherlands was defeated by Maximilian of Austria, with Flemish foot soldiers.

18 August 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.

Hapsburgs gain possession of The Netherlands


23 August 1443, Rodolphus Agricola, Dutch scholar (died 28 October 1485) was born.

18 November 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.

22 July 1387, Francis Ackerman, Flemish diplomat, was murdered in Ghent.

24 July 1345, Jacob van Artevelde, Flemish statesman, was murdered in Ghent.

24 June 1340. The English fleet, under Edward III defeated the French 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 August 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 June 1340, Rotterdam was officially declared a city.

24 August 1328. Flemish weavers rebelled against the French but were defeated at Mount Cassel by Philip VI, the new King of France. See 24 June 1340.

11 July 1302, A French army invading Flanders (see 19 May 1302) was heavily defeated at Courtrai, (Battle of the Spurs).

18 May 1302, The Matins of Bruges. The Dutch rebelled against the French and massacred the French garrison in Bruges.

14 December 1287, The sea broke through the dike at Stavoren, Netherlands, forming the Zuider Zee.

1299, Rotterdam began to become a major seaport, when it received trading priveliges from Count John, the same as Haarlem and Beverwijk a;lready enjoyed. Rotterdam then became prosperous on its trade with England.

1249, The Hague became the seat of Dutch Government; Count Willem II built a castle there this year.

1204, The city of Amsterdam was founded, as a dam on the River Amstel.

698, Willibrord of Utrecht discovered Heligoland.


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