Local time: :


The land that is known today as the Netherlands was occupied by the Romans from the 1st century BC until the 4th Century AD when it was overthrown by Germanic tribes. By the 5th Century the most dominant of the Germanic tribes, the Franks, had rule over most of the land and things stayed this way until the split of the Frankish Empire in 843 when the region formed part of King Lothairs inheritance and became known as Lotharingia.

The following centuries saw the rise of the principalities such as those of Utrecht, Holland and Guelders which eventually came under the influence of Burgandy in the 14th century and then eventually the Hapsburg Emperor Charles V in the early 16th Century. Persecution of Protestants among other things saw the movement for independence from the rule of Charles’ son Phillip II of Spain and in 1581 during the revolt of the Netherlands the seven Northern provinces declared their independence as the united provinces of the Netherlands under William the Silent.

The thirty year war with Spain that followed saw many victories and loses for both sides until it came to an end with Spain’s recognition of the Dutch Republic in 1648 in the Peace of Westphalia.
In the 17th Century under the rule of the House of Orange the Netherlands prospered building a considerable overseas empire and international trade links. These times of prosperity in the Netherlands were short lived though and with the death of William III of Orange (who had also become king of England) in 1702 The Netherlands declined.

In 1775 the region fell under Revolutionary French rule and remained that way until the defeat of Napoleon when in 1814 the Kingdom of the Netherlands was formed. The Kingdom was rocked by revolt again in 1830 and in 1831 the southern regions broke away to form Belgium and in 1867 Luxemburg formed its own independent state.

The Netherlands remained Neutral during the First World War and during the Second World War despite bitter resistance found themselves occupied by Germany.

1950 saw the end of the Dutch overseas colonies with the independence of Indonesia  after a bitter and bloody conflict.