Chronography of the Netherlands

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


20/11/2021, Rioting in Rotterdam as anti-vaccine crowds clashed with police over lockdown.

22/3/2016, Islamic bomb attacks hit central Brussels and Brussels Airport. 37 were killed and 187 injured.

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, 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.

20/3/2004, Death of Princess Juliana, formerly Queen Juliana of the Netherlands.

2002, The Netherlands adopted the Euro.

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.

2001, Euthanasia was legalised.

27/10/1999, Brothels were legalised in The Netherlands.

9/4/1993, Wouter Perquin, Dutch MP (KVP), died aged 74.

27/2/1992, Marinus Ruppert, Dutch Trade Unionist, died aged 80.

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.

24/12/1987, Joop den Uyl, former Dutch Prime Minister, died.

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.

26/8/1976, 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.

14/12/1975, 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.

5/11/1963, US Vice President Lyndon Johnson visited The Netherlands

28/11/1962, Wilhelmina, Queen of The Netherlands from 1890 to 1948, died.

15/6/1958, Fran�ois de Vries, Dutch economist, died aged 74

3/1/1958. Banks in The Netherlands were nationalised.

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

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.

20/9/1949, The Dutch Guilder was devalued by 30.3%.

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.

3/7/1947. The Benelux Union Bill was ratified, creating an economic union of 18 million people.

7/5/1946, Anton Mussert, founder of the Dutch National socialist Movement and a staunch supporter of Nazi rule in Holland, was hanged.

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.

World War Two Damage Rotterdam

For main events of World War Two see France-Germany

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.

7/1/1937, Juliana, Queen of The Netherlands from 1948, married Prince Bernhard.

15/7/1935, Pieter Cort van der Linden, Dutch politician, diedat the Hague.

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.

1919, Women fully enfranchised in The Netherlands.

1/5/1919, The reclamation of the Zuyder Zee began.

21/2/1917, Victor Marie Marljnen, Dutch Prime Minister from 24/7/1963, was born in Arnhem, Netherlands.

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

14/1/1916. Zuider Zee dam in the Netherlands collapsed, causing extensive flooding.

For main events of World War One see France-Germany

6/2/1915, Derk Roemers, Dutch politician, was born in Haarlem, Netherlands (died 1983)

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.

4/10/1906, Johannes Post, Dutch WW2 resistance fighter, was born in Hollandscheveld, Drente, Netherlands (died 1944)

16/3/1904, For health reasons, The Netherlands restricted the employment of women and children in trades where lead was used, also near dangerous machinery.

28/5/1901, For health reasons, The Netherlandsprohibited the manufacture of lucifer matches using white phosphorus.

23/11/1890, 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.

6/7/1884, Willem Marinus Dudok, Dutch architect, was born in Amsterdam.

1/5/1883, The Great International Exhibition at Amsterdam opened.

31/8/1880, Queen Wilhelmina of The Netherlands was born.

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.

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

16/3/1843, Anton Falck, Dutch statesman, died (born 19/3/1777).

7/10/1840, 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.

5/10/1837, Hortense de Beauharnais, Queen of Holland, died

1830, Secession of Belgium from The Netherlands,

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.

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

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.

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

20/9/1787, William V of Orange was restored as Stadtholder of the Dutch Republic, following the expulsion of the Patriot Party by the Prussians.

13/9/1787, Prussian forces under the Duke of Brunswick invaded the Netherlands, overcoming desultory resistance from the Patriot |Free Corps militias.

20/5/1784, Peace of Versailles, between England and Holland.

18/4/1782, 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.

20/11/1780. 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.

19/3/1777, Anton Falck, Dutch statesman, was born (died 16/3/1843).

22/10/1751, The Dutch Stadtholder, William IV, died aged 40. He was succeeded by his 3-year old son William V, who ruled until 1795.

7/5/1748, French forces captured Maastricht, in the War of the Austrian Succession.

22/11/1747, Prince William IV of Orange became Stadtholder of all the United Provinces (Holland).

29/1/1713, Britain and The Netherlands signed a second Barrier Treaty, modifying the terms of the first such Treaty (see 29/10/1709). The number of �barrier towns� to be fortified by Britain against France was reduced.

29/10/1709, 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.

15/12/1707, Jan van Broekhuizen, Dutch classical scholar, died (born 20/11/1649).

12//9/1703, 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.

20/9/1697, 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.

26/11/1688, Louis XIV declared war on The Netherlands.

15/8/1684, 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.


30/10/1680, Antoinette Bourignon, Flemish mystic, was born in Lille (died in Friesland 30/10/1680).

29/4/1676, Michael de Ruyter, Dutch naval officer, died (born 24/3/1607).

20/8/1672,Johan de Witt, Dutch politician, was assassinated (born 24/9/1625).


Third Anglo-Dutch War

19/2/1674, The Treaty of Westminster ended the Third Anglo-Dutch War.

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.

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


23/2/1669, Lieuwe Aitzema, Dutch statesman, died (born 19/11/1600, in Doccum, Friesland).

10/5/1668, Treaty of Aix la Chapelle ended the war between France and Holland

2/5/1668, 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.

31/7/1667. 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.

1/10/1660. 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.

16/4/1654. 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 Spainand England, was killed in battle against England off the Dutch coast.

31/3/1653, Battle of Leghorn, Anglo-Dutch Wars. Dutch Admiral van Gelen, although killed in action, destroyed 6 Engloish ships under Commodore Appleton.

20/2/1653. Admiral Robert Blake defeated the Dutch under Martin Van Tramp off Portsmouth.

See also Great Britain

20/11/1652, 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.

8/7/1652, 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.

Netherlands in conflict with Britain over shipping, commerce


6/11/1650, William II of Nassau died.

20/11/1649, Jan van Broekhuizen, Dutch classical scholar, was born (died 15/12/1707)

30/1/1648, 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.

14/3/1647, Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange, died.

29/8/1645, Hugo Grotius, Dutch statesman, died.

4/11/1641, A Dutch fleet defeated a Spanish fleet off Cape St Vincent.

21/10/1639, 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.

16/6/1626, Christian of Brunswick, Dutch General, died (born 20/9/1599).

4/4/1625, Maurice of Nassau died and was succeeded by his brother, Frederick Henry. See 12/7/1584.

24/9/1625, John de Witt, Dutch statesman, was born (died 1672).

2/7/1625, The Spanish, fighting to gain control over The Netherlands, captured the town of Breda after nearly a year of siege.

5/6/1625, Spinola captured Breda, after a siege fom 28/8/1624.

23/4/1625, Maurice died, disappointed by his failure to relieve Breda.

28/8/1624, Spinola began a siege of Breda, a key fortress on the road to Utrecht and Amsterdam.

10/6/1624, Treaty of Compeigne. France and Holland allied against the Hapsburgs.

29/8/1622, 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.

3/6/1621, The Dutch West India Company was formed, to organise the trade from the Dutch colonies in Africa and America.

9/4/1621, The 12 years truce between the Dutch and Spain came to an end, and hostilities resumed.

13/5/1619, After a trial of very dubious legality, the Remonstrants (see 9/7/1618) were sentenced to death. Grotius� and Hoogerbeets� sentences were commuted to life imprisonment.

6/5/1619, The Remonstrant Party was banned, and its preachers deprived.

9/7/1618, 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 13/5/1619.

13/1/1616, Antoinette Bourignon, Flemish mystic, was born in Lille (died in Friesland 30/10/1680).

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.

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

24/3/1607, Michael de Ruyter, Dutch naval officer, was born (died 29/4/1676).

20/9/1604, 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.

15/7/1601, Spanish forces commenced a siege of Ostend (see 20/9/1604).

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.

20/9/1599, Christian of Brunswick, Dutch General, was born (died 16/6/1626).

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. A Spanish force of 4,500 was routed by Maurice with sccarcely any loss to the Dutch

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.

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.

3/12/1592, Alexander Farnese, Duke of Parma, Governor-General of The Netherlands under King Philip II of Spain, died (born 27/8/1545).

21/10/1591, Dutch forces captured Nijmegen.

20/6/1591, Dutch forces captured Deventer.

20/5/1591, Dutch forces captured Zutphen.

29/10/1590, Dirck Coonhert, Dutch politician, died (born 1522).

8/3/1590, 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.

6/8/1587, 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.

22/9/1586, The Battle of Zutphen. British and Dutch forces defeated by the Spanish.

2/1586, Maurice of Nassau was now effectively King of the Netherlands.

17/8/1585, The city of Antwerp, besieged by the Spanish for 13 months, surrendered to them.

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.

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.

12/7/1584, William the Silent, Prince of Orange, was assassinated, shot by a fanatical Catholic, Balthazar Gerard (see 15/3/1581). 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.

17/3/1583, 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�.

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

18/3/1582, 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 23/1/1581). 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.

26/7/1581. (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.

24/7/1581, William of Orange agreed to become Count of the provinces of Holland and Zeeland (see 23/1/1581).

15/3/1581, Philip II of Spain declared William of Orange a traitor (the�Ban�) and a reward was offered to anyne who would assassinate him (see 12/7/1584).

23/1/1581, 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.

19/5/1579, 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. This was largely due to the efforts of John of Nassau.

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.

21/8/1573, Eight Years War. The Spanish laid siege to Alkmaar, but the Dutch successfully resisted and the Spanish raised the siege on 8/10/1573.

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.

5/6/1568, Philip Horn, Netherrlands statesman, was executed by the Spanish.

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. Louis, with 3,000 men, defeated a slightly smaller German-Spanish force under John, Duke of Aremberg.

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 to collect it.

14/9/1547, Johan van Oldenbarneveldt, Dutch statesman who was instrumental in obtaining independence for The Netherlands, was born in Amersfoort.

27/8/1545, Alexander Farnese, Governor-General of The Netherlands under King Philip II of Spain, was born (died 3/12/1592).

24/4/1533, William the Silent, Prince of Orange, was born at Dillenburg Castle, Nassau, Germany.

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.

10/1/1480, Margaret of Austria, Regent of The Netherlands 1507-30, was born.

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.

22/7/1387, Francis Ackerman, Flemish diplomat, was murdered in Ghent.

24/7/1345, Jacob van Artevelde, Flemish statesman, was murdered in Ghent.

24/6/1340. 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 24/8/1328 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 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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