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Netherlands History Timeline

1800s
  • (1801) Napoleon Bonaparte imposed new constitution
  • (1814) William VI, prince of Orange, became King William I of the Netherlands
  • (1815) British, German, Dutch, Belgian troops assembled to face Napoleon
  • (1825) Dike breaks caused severe flooding, more than 800 died
  • (1830) Belgium rebelled against Netherlands
  • (1840) King William I of Holland abdicated
  • (1864) British, French, Dutch fleets attacked Japan in Shimonoseki Straits; Gerard Heineken founded beer Heineken brewery
  • (1870) Amstel Brewery opened
  • (1873) Holland American cruise line began operations from Netherlands; colonization efforts began in Aceh province (Indonesia), caused decades-long war
  • (1890) Grand Duchy of Luxembourg separated from Netherlands; Royal Dutch Petroleum Co. founded
  • (1894) Disastrous flooding occurred
  • (1899) First Hague Peace Conference held in Netherlands, 26 nations participated
1900s
  • (1903) Harry Houdini escaped from police station in Amsterdam
  • (1904) Two men (Weerdinge couple) found in bog, dated from 160BC - 220AD
  • (1914 - 1918) World War I; German Zeppelins bombed Antwerp twice; Netherlands maintained neutrality; Kaiser Wilhelm II of German went into exile in Netherlands
  • (1916) Zuyderzee Flood caused by dike breaks
  • (1917) Mata Hari (Dutch dancer who spied for Germans)executed by firing squad
  • (1920) Dutch government refused to hand over dethroned German monarch, Kaiser Wilhelm II, to Allies; League of Nations established International Court of Justice in The Hague
  • (1922) Dutch women received right to vote
  • (1928) Olympics opened in Amsterdam
  • (1932) Dutch textile strike broken by trade unions; Afsluitkijk Dam completed, sealed Zuider Zee from ocean, formed freshwater lake, IJsselmeer.
  • (1934) Jordanians revolted due to reduction in employment in Amsterdam
  • (1935) Dutch Revolutionary Socialist Worker's Party formed
  • (1939) Netherlands declared neutrality at outbreak of World War II; Netherlands passenger ship hit German mine, 86 died
  • (1940) Germany invaded Netherlands; Royal family fled to England; Germans bombed Rotterdam from air, destroyed tens of thousands of buildings; Netherlands surrendered; Germans occupied Netherlands
  • (1941) Nazi police attacked, driven away from Koco in Amsterdam by young Jews; roundup of Jews in Amsterdam occurred; concentration camp at Amersfoort opened; German Jews in Netherlands declared stateless
  • (1942) Japan declared war against Netherlands; Japanese forces invaded Dutch East Indies; Nazis executed 72 in Sachsenhausen; Jews transported from Holland to extermination camp
  • (1943) US ship James Oglethorpe, Netherlands ship Terkolei torpedoed, sank; U S mistakenly bombed Rotterdam, 326 killed; Dutch struck against forced labor in Nazi German's war industry; Jews rioted in Amsterdam against Germans; Willem Kolff invented first dialysis machine
  • (1944) Nazi troops executed 96 prisoners by firing squad; 99 inhabitants of Tulle were hung; last transport of Dutch Jews, including Anne Frank, left for Auschwitz; 65,000 Dutch Nazi collaborators fled to Germany (Mad Tuesday); British and American troops parachuted into Holland to capture Arnhem Bridge; thousands of British troops killed by Germans at Arnhem Bridge
  • (1944 - 1945) Netherlands became site of fighting between Allied forces and Germany; food supply severely disrupted, many Dutch civilians suffered near-starvation
  • (1945) RAF bombing error hit The Hague, killed 511; Netherlands, Denmark liberated from Nazi control; Allies bombed The Hague; Queen Wilhelmina returned to Netherlands; Nazi occupiers executed; Canadian troops liberated Nazi concentration camp at Westerbork; Netherlands became charter member of United Nations
  • (1948) International Court of Justice opened at The Hague; Queen Wilhelmina abdicated throne due to health reasons; Queen Juliana crowned
  • (1949) Netherlands joined NATO
  • (1952) Netherlands founding member of European Coal and Steel Community
  • (1953) More than 1,800 killed in flooding
  • (1968) Greece, Portugal and Spain embassies bombed in The Hague
  • (1969) John Lennon, Yoko Ono staged bed-in for peace in Amsterdam; nuclear reactor in Dodewaard began use
  • (1975) Dutch colony of Surinam gained independence; hundreds of thousands of Surinamese emigrated to Netherlands; Rembrandt's "Nightwatch" slashed, damaged in Amsterdam; South Moluccan extremists surrendered after holding 23 hostages for 12 days on train near Beilen
  • (1977) Moluccan extremists held 105 school children, 50 others, hostage on train in Netherlands; Dutch Social Democratic party won Parliamentary election
  • (1980) Queen Juliana abdicated throne; Beatrix crowned queen
  • (1983) Alfred Heineken, Heineken Brewery, kidnapped, held for ransom of over $10 million; freed by police after 20 days
  • (1991) European community leaders met in Maastricht, agreed to begin using single currency by 1999
  • (1992) Earthquake struck Netherlands and Germany; Amsterdam apartment complex struck by El Al jet, 43 killed
  • (1995) Flooding forced evacuation of 200,000 people and millions of animals
  • (1997) European Union (EU) set common foreign, security policy in Amsterdam Treaty
  • (1999) Netherlands, 10 other EU nations began using Euro monetary system; Picasso painting slashed by mental patient in Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; student in Heghel shot teacher, four students in first school shooting in Dutch history
2000s
  • (2000) Parliament legalized euthanasia; fireworks depot exploded in Enschede, 20 killed, 489 injured, 400 houses flattened; bill passed allowing same-sex partners to marry; brothels were legalized
  • (2002) Euro officially replaced Dutch guilder; prime minister Wim Kok's government resigned; anti-immigration party leader, Pim Fortuyn killed by gunman; Balkenende became prime minister; government collapsed three months later; eight men detained for providing financial aid, logistical services to al Qaeda
  • (2003) Bird flu found; 18-judge world court inaugurated at The Hague; pharmacies allowed to fill prescriptions for marijuana; flu epidemic broke out; high school student fatally shot teacher
  • (2004) 200,000 demonstrated in Amsterdam, protested public spending cuts, welfare reforms; filmmaker, Theo van Gogh, murdered after receiving death threats about movie "Submission"; Dutch police raided Kurdish training camp in southern Netherlands, 29 arrested
  • (2005) Dutch voters rejected E U constitution; civil servants went on strike protesting declining benefits, low wages; authorities seized 5 tons of cocaine at Port of Rotterdam; police detained seven suspects in anti-terrorism operation in three cities; police arrested 45 members of Hell's motorcycle gang, seized assortment of weapons; fire at prison complex killed 11 illegal immigrants awaiting deportation; Dutch government agreed to send additional 1,400 troops to join NATO forces in Afghanistan
  • (2006) Parliament approved sending additional 1,200 troops to Afghanistan; former Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic, found dead in prison cell while being tried for war crimes; outbreak of bluetongue disease (transmitted to sheep by insects) discovered; center-right Christian Democrats won most seats in elections; Netherlands became first nation to use completely digital signals
  • (2007) Jan Peter Baldenende sworn in as head of three-party centrist coalition (three months after elections)
  • (2008) Amsterdam authorities announced plan to close half the city's brothels, sex shops, marijuana cafes in effort to drive organized crime from city centre.
  • (2010) Miep Gies, last surviving Anne Frank protector, died at the age of 100; 12 Somali men arrested in Rotterdam on suspicion of terrorism involvement
  • (2011) Gunman killed six, wounded 11, then shot himself at shopping mall in Alphen aan den Rijn

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This page was last updated on April 7, 2017.