Why was the Netherlands founded?

Structure and history of Dutch An introduction to Dutch linguistics

The 16th century is a transition period: it is the transition from the Middle Ages to the modern age, which is accompanied by political changes, war and crisis situations.

The seventeen provinces

The Netherlands formally came to the house in 1477 through the marriage of Mary of Burgundy to the Habsburg Maximilian of Austria Habsburg. Maximilian was crowned Roman Emperor in 1486. Through his marriage policy, he was able to bind numerous areas to the House of Habsburg. His grandson Charles V (born 1500) succeeded him to the throne, married a Spanish princess and became Roman emperor and king of Spain and lord of the Netherlands. Under his rule, the Netherlands formed under the name The seventeen provinces one unity. This unity and independence of the area were achieved by the so-called pragmatic sanction, which Charles V issued in 1549. Both Dutch- and French-speaking areas were united in the seventeen provinces. The capital was Brussels.

The seventeen provinces

  • Duchy of Brabant
  • Duchy of Limburg and the Land of Overmaas
  • Duchy of Luxembourg
  • Duchy of Gelre and County of Zutphen
  • County of Flanders
  • Artesia County
  • Henegouwen County
  • County of Holland
  • County of Zeeland
  • County name
  • Cities and "kasselrijen" Rijsel, Douai en Ochies
  • Dominion Doornik and the Doornikse
  • Dominates Mechelen
  • Dominion Friesland
  • Reign of Utrecht
  • Dominion Overijssel, Drenthe, Lingen, Wedde en Westwoldingerland
  • Lordship of Groningen

The flowering period

The economic situation in the Netherlands was very favorable in the beginning. The textile sector in particular grew strongly. From the
In the 15th century Antwerp was the economic center of the region. In terms of culture, the Netherlands was in the
16th century also at the forefront of Europe. Also the Printing experienced its great heyday, e.g. through Christoffel Plantijn in Antwerp.

The Platijns printing and publishing house are still in good condition to this day. Here you can see two of the oldest printing presses in the world, a collection of typographic material and a treasure trove of engravings, manuscripts, documents and atlases. The oldest Dutch dictionaries from the 16th century can also be found here. The neighboring, fully furnished patrician apartment is also impressive, the walls of which are covered with precious gilded leather and wallpaper. All of this, now a unique museum and archive, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The crisis

Short English report
about the Reformation.

The crisis began at the end of the 16th century. Firstly, economic problems such as poor harvests, low wages and the English trade embargo were responsible for this. Second were new religious currents more and more important. Religious groups opposed certain Catholic customs and wanted to reform the Church (the Reformation): "Back to 'pure' Christian worship". Luther and Calvin were the main proponents of this doctrine.

Charles V and his successor, his son Philip II, were fanatical Catholics and forced their worship on the kingdom by force. The followers of Protestantism (Heretic) were tracked down by the Spaniards and persecuted by force (the Inquisition). Turning away from Catholicism also meant turning away from the existing order. The provinces in the north of the Netherlands were against the absolutist government and power centralized in Brabant. they demanded independence. Another problem was the great distance between the king (Philip II) and his country. In this tense situation, some nobles turned to the governor Margaretha van Parma to put an end to the persecution of the heretics. During their visit to the governor they were advised by Cardinal Granvelle, who was her advisor geux ("Beggar") means; therefore they later called themselves "Geuzen". The situation escalated and in 1566 the so-called Calvinist-inspired one began Iconoclasm in the churches. Pictures, works of art, books and other valuables were destroyed in the churches in the Netherlands.

King Philip II sent an army, which did not arrive in the Netherlands until almost a year later, when the situation had calmed down again. This was of course taken as a provocation. With the Spanish army came Duke Alba, a representative of the "hard line", the so-called Blood advice set up. The Protestants were strongly oppressed and thousands were sentenced to death. In 1568 the Counts Egmont and Hoorn were beheaded in Brussels. In the same year the provinces began under leadership William of Orange the Eighty Years War against the Spaniards.

After separating from the Netherlands

William of Orange did not succeed in maintaining the unity of the Netherlands. There were some peace efforts that were unsuccessful (e.g. the pacification of Ghent, 1576). On January 6, 1579, the Walloon provinces of Artesien, Henegouwen, Namen, Luxemburg and Limburg established the "Union of Atrecht (Arras)", in which they declared the break with the revolt against the Spanish king. Less than three weeks later the provinces of Brabant, Flanders, Holland, Zealand and Gelre vowed in the"Union of Utrecht"Not to make a separate peace with Philip II. The" Staten-Generaal "(States General; parts of the confederation) worked out in 1581 in the"Poster from Verlatinge"those points on which Philip had violated the treaty with his subjects. Philip was no longer recognized as their king from then on.

The fall of Antwerp

The separation from the Netherlands had far-reaching consequences for the further development of the Dutch language in the north and south.

During the Eighty Years' War, the Spanish conquered the city of Antwerp in 1585 under the leadership of Alexander Farnese. As a countermeasure, the northern provinces blocked the Scheldt. This event heralded the separation of the Netherlands. As a result of these political conflicts and in order to be able to attend a free Protestant service, one came about migration from south to north. Many skilled craftsmen, merchants, intellectuals and artists left their homes in the south and settled in Holland or Zeeland. This was an important impetus for the later Republic of the Seven United Provinces, established in the Northern Provinces in 1588.

The Peace of Munster and the establishment of the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands

The United Netherlands no longer existed, with the 17 provinces falling into two parts. As a result of the emigrations and the political situation, economic life shifted to the rebellious provinces in the north. (For the consequences of the separation in the south, see Dutch in Belgium). The war continued, only interrupted by a twelve-year armistice (1609-21). Faith meanwhile divided the entire continent in two. In the Netherlands a new religious conflict broke out between the followers of Arminius (the Remonstrants) and those of Gomarus (den Counter-demonstrators) out. From 1618 the Dutch War coincided with the Thirty Years War in Europe. The whole of Europe was now in a state of war and the conflicts were not resolved until the Treaty of Munster in 1648. Among other things, the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands was recognized as sovereign by Spain and the closure of the Scheldt was confirmed. The Separation of the northern and southern Netherlands was definitely certain from that moment on. The former Duchy of Brabant was divided into a northern and a southern part, Zeeland Flanders was cut off from the rest of the former county.


From Middle Dutch to New Dutch
Diphtongization and ┬┤Hollandse expansie┬┤ (expansion of the Dutch)