A General History of the Netherlands, in progress and taken from multiple sources, so all information should be considered subject to verification.
1st cent. BC The area’s first inhabitants – Frisians, Batavians, and other tribes – settle the coastal territory along the Rhine River. The Batavians become allies of Rome.
12 BC Roman general Drusus attempts to push the empire’s frontier in Holland beyond the Rhine.
4th cent. AD Barbarian invasions. Saxons settle in the east and Franks in the south.
814 On the death of Charlemagne, the Frankish emperor of the West and conqueror of the Saxons and Frisians, his empire is divided. The Low Countries become part of Lotharingia, squeezed between the German lands and France.
10th century The counts of Holland and Zeeland and the bishopric of Utrecht begin to gain greater control of their own affairs.
1275 Count Floris V of Holland grants “Aemstelledamme” freedom from tolls on travel and trade. The year is regarded as Amsterdam’s official foundation date.
c1350 Melchior Broederlam born Ypres
1381 Melchior Broederlam first documented as an artist under (?) Philip the Bold, Duke of Burgundy.
1384 Duke Philip the Bold begins to gain control of the Low Countries for Burgundy.
1420 Huybrecht van Eyck (c. 1385–90) begins the Ghent Altarpiece in Saint Bavo’s Cathedral.
1421 A storm on St. Elizabeth’s Day breaks dykes along the Maas and Waal rivers, causing a flood that drowns 10,000 people.
1428 Treaty of Delft
1432 Jan van Eyck completes the Ghent Altarpiece.
1438 Dutch-Hanseatic War begins.
1441 Treaty of Copenhagen ends the Dutch-Hanseatic War
1477 Beginning of the rule of the Austrian Habsburgs.
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 sweeps 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, a Dutch Protestant, burned at stake.
1525 the first martyr burned in Holland was the Roman Catholic priest Johannes Pistorius at The Hague
1527 Wendelmoet Claesdochter first Dutch woman burned at stake as a heretic
1540 Emperor Charles V resists an 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 The Seventeen Provinces unite against Spain and the Eighty Years’ War begins.
1568 William I, Prince of Orange, led the revolt against Spanish government; Duke of Alba declared William of Orange an outlaw; Holy office condemns all inhabitants of Netherlands to death as heretics.
King Phillip II of Spain bans foreign Dutch students.
1570 November 1, the All Saints flood occurs in Belgium and Netherlands. Several towns disappear and there are more than 20,000 deaths.
1571 Founding of the Calvinistic Dutch Reformed Church at the Synod of Emden.
1572 William of Orange became viceroy of Holland, Friesland, Utrecht; the town of Naarden surrendered to Spanish and burned, all residents massacred.
1574 Storm broke Leiden dike, 20,000 Spanish soldiers drowned
1575 The University of Leiden founded by Willem de Zwijger (the Silent)
1576 Netherlands’ 17 provinces united in Pacification of Ghent; formed federation to maintain peace; Spanish forces attached Antwerp (the Spanish Fury)
1578 Amsterdam abandons the Spanish and Catholic cause. Calvinists take over in what is called the Altercation. Public Catholic worship is outlawed and churches are confiscated.
1579 The Union of Utrecht unites the seven provinces of the northern Low Countries.
1580 Snellius born, 30 October
1581 The United Provinces declare their independence from Spain.
1584 William the Silent, Prince of Orange, assassinated by Balthasar Gérard at the Prinsenhof in Delft
1585 Stevin publishes De Thiende (The Dime) introducing decimal fractions.
1588 Beeckman born, 10 December
1602 The United East India Company (V.O.C.), is founded.
1605 Hortensius born
1608 Hans Lippershey patents the first telescope.
1609 Beginning of the 12-year truce with Spain. The English navigator Henry Hudson, under contract to the United East India Company, sails from Amsterdam and “discovers” Manhattan Island and the future site of New York.
1619 Batavia established
1621 Snellius, in Cyclometricus, discovers the law of refraction
1621 Dutch West India Company chartered.
1626 Peter Minuit “purchases” Manhattan Island from the Manhattoes for the equivalent of $24, legalising the Nieuw Amsterdam settlement founded the previous year at the mouth of the Hudson River.
1629 Huygens born, 14 April
1631 Rembrandt moves to Amsterdam
1632 Rembrandt completes the Anatomy Lesson of Dr Tulp.
– Leeuwenhoek born, 24 October
1633 The Tulip bulb mania or Tulipomania takes hold.
1637 Swammerdam born, 12 February
1638 Ruysch born, 23 March
1641 The Dutch get permission from the Japanese shogun to develop a small trading post on Deshima.
1642 Rembrandt completes The Night Watch.
– Saskia van Uylenburgh, Rembrandt’s wife, dies of TB.
1642-43 Navigator Abel Tasman is the first European to reach Tasmania and New Zealand.
1648 End of Eighty Years’ War with Spain. The independence of the Netherlands was recognized by the Treaty of Westphalia.
1651 March 4–5 Netherlands: St. Peter’s Flood
1652 Jan van Riebeek founds Cape Town, South Africa.
1655 Christiaan Huygens discovers Titan, a moon of Saturn.
1656 Huygens determines Saturns rings were formed by rocks.
1656 Christiaan Huygens builds a pendulum clock.
1657 Huygens releases the first book on probability: Calculating in Games of Chance
1661 Huygens observes the transit of Mercury
1664 New Amsterdam renamed New York by the English.
1668 Swammerdam describes red blood cells
– W. J. s’Gravesande born, 27 September
– Boerhaave born, 31 December.
1669 Swammerdam describes epigenesis in insects.
1672 Rampjaar (Disaster Year) following the outbreak of the Franco-Dutch War and the Third Anglo-Dutch War, the Dutch Republic was simultaneously attacked by England, France, and the prince-bishops Bernhard von Galen, bishop of Münster, and Maximilian Henry of Bavaria, archbishop of Cologne. The invading armies quickly defeated the Dutch States Army and conquered part of the Republic.
1674 Leeuwenhoek describes infusoria, (protists)
1675 Huygens patents the pocket watch
1676 Leeuwenhoek’s descriptions of bacteria first read at the Royal Society, London.
1677 Leeuwenhoek discovers spermatozoa.
1678 Huygens presents the wave theory of light
1682 Leeuwenhoek discovers the banded pattern of muscle fibres.
1686 November 12, Saint Martin flood, Netherlands: 1586 deaths
1689 Stadhouder William III and his wife, Mary, become king and queen of England.
1740 Batavia Massacre
1782 Dutch become first to officially recognise nationhood of the United States.
<1795 Velvet Revolution. French troops occupy Holland with the aid of Dutch revolutionaries and establish the Batavian Republic. William V flees to England.
1799 The United East India Company is liquidated.
1806-10 Louis Bonaparte, Napoléon’s brother, reigns as king of Holland.
1813 The Netherlands regains independence from the French.
1814 Holland becomes the kingdom of the Netherlands, a constitutional monarchy headed by Willem I of the House of Oranje-Nassau, and incorporating Belgium.
1830 Belgium breaks free from Dutch rule.
¹All Anabaptist dates taken from, The prosecution of Anabaptists in Holland, 1530-1566 by Geraerts, Jaap