The Netherlands - Country history and economic development

300 B.C. Germanic and Celtic tribes settle in the region that is now the Netherlands.

1018. Dirk III, Count of Holland, is the first to use the name Holland in his title.

1205. Amsterdam is founded.

1323. Holland gains control of Zeeland from Flanders.

1428. Holland is conquered by the Burgundians of France.

1477. The Hapsburgs gain control of Holland.

1515. Charles I incorporates Holland into the Holy Roman Empire.

1555-79. Charles I turns Holland over to his son Phillip II, King of Spain. The Dutch rise in revolt against the Catholic Spanish as Protestantism spreads throughout the region.

1581. The next 200 years is considered to be the "Golden Age" of Holland as trade flourishes and the country becomes one of the most prosperous and wealthy nations in the world. This prosperity is based on the nation's merchant fleet which transports goods around the globe.

1602. The Dutch East India Company is founded to expand trade with India and Asia. An early stock market is established.

1609. A bank is established in Amsterdam to exchange currency and to provide a safe place to deposit money.

1621. The Dutch West India Company is established to trade with North and South America. The nation again goes to war with Spain (1621-48).

1625. New Amsterdam is founded on Manhattan by the Dutch West India Company.

1648. Trade increasingly shifts away from Antwerp and Ghent to Amsterdam.

1795. The Netherlands is conquered by the French. The French establish the Batavian Republic and initiate a period of governmental and economic reforms.

1806. Louis Bonaparte is made king of Holland by his brother Napoleon Bonaparte.

1806-13. Napoleon attempts to make Holland the central economic power of the "Continental System" which was designed to cut off trade with Great Britain.

1814. After liberation from the French, the country becomes the Kingdom of the Netherlands under King William I. Under William a number of economic reforms are enacted, including a reorganization of the nation's international trade companies.

1815. Dutch troops help defeat Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo. Belgium is made part of the Netherlands by the Treaty of Versailles. The Dutch attempt to encourage industrialization in Belgium.

1831. Following a revolt, Belgium is granted independence over a 10-year period.

1848. After liberal revolutions that sweep across Europe, the constitution is revised.

1849-90. The reign of William III. During this period, the modern system of political parties is established. Also during William's reign, revelations about harsh treatment of natives lead to reforms in the kingdom's East Indies colonies. Revolts in these colonies drain the national treasury and lead to questions over the economic value of the territories.

1870. Widespread industrialization begins in the Netherlands, much later than in the rest of Europe.

1914-18. The Dutch remain neutral during World War I. The government acts to maintain the nation's economy during the war in the face of naval blockades by both Great Britain and Germany.

1920. KLM Royal Dutch Airlines begins regular air service between Amsterdam and London.

1930s. The economy of the Netherlands is damaged by the Great Depression.

1939-45. When World War II breaks out, the Netherlands tries to maintain its neutrality but it is invaded by Germany in 1940. The Dutch colonies in Asia are conquered by the Japanese. The Allies liberate the kingdom and its colonies at the end of the war in 1945. However, after liberation the colonies in Indonesia begin a revolt and are granted independence in 1949.

1944. The Netherlands joins a customs convention with Belgium and Luxembourg. This association will evolve into the Benelux Economic Union in 1958.

1949. The kingdom is one of the founding members of NATO.

1952. The Netherlands joins the European Coal and Steel Community.

1957. The country becomes one of the founding members of the European Community. Disastrous flooding leads to the development of a comprehensive plan to control waterways and prevent future flooding.

1974. The last coal mines in the south of the kingdom close.

1980. The global recession, caused by the oil crisis of 1979, leads to a collapse of the housing market. Queen Juliana abdicates in favor of her daughter Queen Beat-rix (the present monarch).

1982. The nation undergoes a severe economic recession.

1993. The Netherlands begins a period of dramatic economic growth which lasts into the next century.

1999. The Netherlands joins EMU.

User Contributions:

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic: