1. Home
  2. Europe
  3. Netherlands

Netherlands History Timeline

Map of Netherlands
Locator Map of Netherlands

Netherlands's Information

Flag of Netherlands
Land Area 33,893 km2
Water Area 7,650 km2
Total Area 41,543 km2
Population 17,016,967
Population Density 409.62 / km2
Government Type Parliamentary Constitutional Monarchy; Part Of The Kingdom Of The Netherlands
GDP (PPP) $871.00 Billion
GDP Per Capita $50,800
Currency Euro (EUR)
Largest Cities
  • Amsterdam (741,636)
  • Rotterdam (598,199)
  • The Hague (474,292)
  • Utrecht (290,529)
  • Eindhoven (209,620)
  • Tilburg (199,613)
  • Groningen (181,194)
  • Almere Stad (176,432)
  • Breda (167,673)
  • Nijmegen (158,732)
50 BC - 800 AD
  • (50 BC - 400 AD) Romans ruled the southern part of Netherlands
  • (1 - 100 AD) Frisians settled in northern Netherlands
  • (600 - 700) Frisians clashed with Franks
  • (838) Large portion of northwest Netherlands flooded; over 2,400 died
1100s - 1300s
  • (1170) First All Saints' Flood inundated Netherlands and Zuider Zee region
  • (1212) Large flood at Noordholland killed 60,000
  • (1219) St. Marcellus Flood killed 36,000
  • (1287) Zuider Zee seawall collapsed; 50,000 died
  • (1299) Count of Holland gained control of Zeeland
  • (1300's) French Dukes of Burgundy united all of the Low Countries
  • (1301) Holland defeated Lichtenberg at Battle of Breukelen
  • (1345) Frisian defeated Dutch at Warns
  • (1362) Storm surge kills 25,000; sixty parishes destroyed in Slesvig
  • (1404) First St. Elizabeth's Flood occurred; towns washed away
  • (1421) Second St. Elizabeth's Flood; dike broke, villages swept away; many thousands died
  • (1432) Zeeland became part of Low Countries under Phillip the Good of Burgundy
  • (1460) Episcopal palace at Atrecht held witch burnings
  • (1477) Mary of Burgundy, heiress of all Netherlands, married Maximilian I of Habsburg family of Austria
  • (1489 - 1490) Plague killed thousands
  • (1492) German mercenaries killed 232 at Bread and Cheese rebellion
  • (1500's) Protestant Reformation swept across Europe; Dutch Protestants persecuted by Roman Catholics
  • (1511) Portuguese traders reached Banda Islands
  • (1516) King Charles I of Spain rules Netherlands
  • (1517) Protestants burned at the stake
  • (1519) King Charles I of Spain became Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V
  • (1520) Public burning of books took place in Louvain
  • (1521) Emperor Charles V banned wooden buildings in Amsterdam
  • (1524) Henry Van Zutphen, Dutch Protestant martyr, burned at stake
  • (1527) Wendelmoet Claesdochter first Dutch woman burned at stake as heretic
  • (1540) Emperor Charles V beat uprising against taxes in Ghent; nine leaders beheaded, one hanged
  • (1556) Emperor Charles V gave control of Low Countries to Son, King Philip II of Spain
  • (1567) Duke of Alba became guardian of Netherlands
  • (1568) William I, Prince of Orange, led revolt against Spanish government; Duke of Alba declared William of Orange an outlaw; Holy office condemned all inhabitants of Netherlands to death as heretics; Eighty Years' War(Dutch Revolt) began
  • (1568) King Phillip II of Spain banned foreign Dutch students; tidal wave in North Sea destroyed sea walls, over 1,000 killed
  • (1572) William of Orange became viceroy of Holland, Friesland, Utrecht; town of Naarden surrendered to Spanish, town burned, all residents massacred
  • (1574) Storm broke Leiden dike, 20,000 Spanish soldiers drowned
  • (1576) Netherlands' 17 provinces united in Pacification of Ghent; formed federation to maintain peace; Spanish forces attached Antwerp (the Spanish Fury)
  • (1579) Treaty of Utrecht signed, beginning of Dutch Republic; Friesland joined Union of Utrecht
  • (1580) States of Utrecht outlawed Catholic worship
  • (1581) Dutch declared independence from Spain
  • (1584) Gregorian (New World) calendar adopted; William of Orange assassinated; succeeded by son, Maurice of Nassau
  • (1585) Antwerp sacked by Duke of Parma


  • (1602) Dutch East India Company formed in Jakarta, Indonesia
  • (1604) Spanish took Ostend (northwest Belgium) from Netherlands
  • (1620) Pilgrims left Netherlands, landed in Massachusetts
  • (1624) Dutchman Cornelius Drebbel created world's first submarine
  • (1630 - 1654) Dutch conquered Brazil
  • (1648) Spain recognized Dutch independence
  • (1652) War broke out between Netherlands and England
  • (1661) Holland sold Brazil to Portugal
  • (1665) King Charles II of England declared war on Netherlands; British captured Banda Island of Run from Dutch
  • (1667) Dutch fleet sailed Thames, threatened London; burned three ships; William of Orange replaced James Stuart; Peace of Breda ended war; Surinam ceded to England by Dutch in exchange for New York
  • (1672) King Louis XIV of France invaded Netherlands; sluices opened in Holland to save Amsterdam from French
  • (1677) William of Orange married cousin Mary(daughter of James, Duke of York)
  • (1688) King Louis XIV of France declared war on Netherlands; King James II of England fled London, abdicated throne; King William (of Orange) and Queen Mary became rulers
  • (1689) King William III joined League of Augsburg and Netherlands, formed Grand Alliance to counter war of aggression by King Louis XIV
  • (1690) French defeated Grand Alliance forces at Fleurus in Netherlands
  • (1692) English and Dutch fleet beat France at Battle of La Hogue; French forces defeated English at Battle of Steenkerke in Netherlands
  • (1693) At Battle of Neerwinden in Netherlands, French destroyed Grand Alliance army
  • (1697) Treaty of Ryswick signed; ended war between france and Grand Alliance
  • (1701) England, Austria, Netherlands formed Alliance against France
  • (1741) Dutch protested against bad quality of bread
  • (1745) England, Austria, Saxony, Netherlands formed alliance against Russia; French forces defeated Ango-Dutch army at Fontenoy
  • (1747) French forces defeated Ango-Dutch at Battle of Lauffeld; French captured Bergen-op-Zoom; England and Netherlands singed military treaty
  • (1748) Riot broke out in Amsterdam after public execution; over 200 killed
  • (1780 - 1783) Netherlands at war with England
  • (1784) Peace of Versailles ended war between France, England, Holland; Holland banned orange clothes
  • (1788) Alliance between Britain, Prussia, Netherlands ratified
  • (1793) France declared war on Britain and Netherlands; French conquered Geertruidenberg, Netherlands
  • (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
  • (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
  • (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; 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 brothelsĀ 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

Latest by WorldAtlas