Who are the Dutch people and how did the Netherlands become a rich country?
Who are the Dutch people, is a question that is being asked a lot and people also asked why are they so wealthy.
We come from the Caribbean Island of Curacao, a colony of the Netherlands. We were born and raised there and moved to the Netherlands to study, since we did not have a university back then on our island. Because the official language and the education in the colonies is in the Dutch language, the easiest way to continue with your academic education is the move to the motherland the Netherlands for further education given in the Dutch language.
We hope with the following explanation we can give an answer to both questions especially who are the Dutch people.
The story of the Dutch People and the kingdom of the Netherlands is a fascinating one.It started to take off during the 80 years’ war which was fought against Spanish king Philippe II, son of emperor Charles V, who inherited the low lands and Belgium from his father. They are referred to in the history as Spanish Netherlands. The Dutch People wanted their independence and fought for it from 1568 to 1648 under the leadership of the Prince William I of Orange-Nassau and his sons and family after him.
During that time, the Dutch People who were also good ship builders and navigators, started to ambush and confiscate several Spaniards’ silver and gold laden vessels on their way from Mexico mines to Spain. They use this treasure to finance the war.
The Dutchmen became brave sea folk and were feared by Spaniards, Portuguese, French and the British. It is called the Golden Age.
The most famous Dutch naval commander and admiral was Michiel De Ruyter, who won all his naval battles fought between the Dutch at one side and England at the other side during the Anglo-Dutch naval wars (1664-1667). He was respected and feared by his enemies because of his tremendous insights and strategies during naval battles.
He even invaded England once in 1667 entering the Thames and Chatham river near London breaking chains placed at Medway over the river. There they looted British magazines and Hijacked the gilded flag ship Royal Charles, a three decked 100 guns and took it to Holland. He also destroyed 4 of the finest battled ships: the Loyal London (90 guns), the Royal Oak (76 guns), the James (82 guns) and the Charles V. With this valiantt action De Ruyter clearly established his name and gave a warning to London, in a way saying: don’t mess with us.
This was a very humiliating episode for the British and left an irreparable blow to their prestige. All because the Britain raided the Dutch Island of Schelling and when the Dutch People wanted peace, the British imposed too high demands to end the war and did not wanted to sign the peace treaty at Breda unless agreed with all their exorbitant terms. This in a way, left the Dutch People with no other way out than to retaliate and inflict such a damage upon the enemy, that they would gladly sign the peace treaty of Breda.
The treaty was signed in less than two months later.
As one historian put it: Had De Ruyter pushed through by taking London, that would have been the greatest naval success of all time, such that it probably would have changed the entire course of history with the Dutch Empire becoming the greatest the world had ever known!
For more information about this fascinating invasion story see link below.(http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Journals/Military_Affairs/13/4/The_Dutch_invasion_of_England_in_1667*.html)
Also, on land the Dutch People were feared, Prince William III of Orange, before becoming king of England, won several war battles from 1672 to 1678 against the famous Catholic king Louis XIV of France (Roi Soleil/ Sun King). He battled against armies that were sometimes five times the size of his own.
He also defeated in 1690 in the battle at the river Boyne in Nord Ireland, his own uncle and father in law, former King James II, who was allied by the French King and nephew Louis XIV. King James II was not happy being deposed and wanted to do a comeback to the throne.
William III was a protestant, son of Mary Stuart I, the eldest daughter of King Charles I. So, he was actually the grandson of King Charles I and nephew to King James II and also great cousin to Louis XIV. They were family!
William III spoke six languages: English, Dutch, French, German, Spanish and Latin. He became King “Billy” in 1688 and sat on the throne with his wife and cousin Queen Maria Stuart II, who succeeded her deposed Catholic father James II, during the so-called Glorious Revolution. This Revolution was as a matter of fact also in a way an invasion of the Dutch by the army of William III, but this time around the Dutch were welcomed with open arms. The British wanted the protestant couple William and Mary to take over the vacant throne of their Catholic uncle and father James II.
Sir Winston Churchill paraphrased the following of King William III: “His sole purpose for living was to break the hegemony and dominant power of France.” He kept winning battles against Louis XIV except that of Neerwinden in Belgium, however it costed Louis XIV that many soldiers’ lives that he was forced to sign a peace treaty of Rijswijk in which he had to recognized William III as legitim King of England, Scotland and Ireland.
Because of all his victories over France the stage was set to yield Great Britain free passage to become a worldwide empire. William III died without children to succeed him, again the Dutchman felt short of taken over a world empire.
Nevertheless, the Dutch People possessed many colonies for a while: South Africa, several trading posts in West Africa, Indonesia, Ceylon, Formosa (Taiwan), Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, New Amsterdam (New York), Suriname, Tobago and Caribbean Dutch Antilles: Aruba, Curacao, Bonaire, Sint Martin, Saba and Sint Eustatius.
The Dutch People were also the only foreign power that had a trading post and were allowed to do business with Japan on the Japanese island of Dejima (1641-1854) in the Nagasaki bay.
They also were the ones to have world’s first multinational company ever called East Indies Company.
The Dutch People were back then a republic and became a Royal Kingdom in 1806 during King Louis Napoleon’s reign and his wife Queen Hortense. King Louis was the brother of Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. The Netherlands was later added to France after King Louis abdicated and became again a kingdom after the Waterloo defeat of Emperor Napoleon in 1814 and remained a kingdom until now.
King William I, a Prince of Orange-Nassau started the dynasty and reigned as king Over the Netherland, Belgium and Luxembourg from 1815 to 1840. In 1830 Belgium separated from the Kingdom and became a separate kingdom under King Leopold.
After William I his son William II reigned from 1840 to 1949 and after his early death William III his son reigned from 1849 to 1890, followed up by four queens: his wife Emma (regent for daughter Wilhelmina), Wilhelmina from 1890 to 1948, Juliana from1948 to 1980 and Beatrix n from 1980 to 2013. It was time for the return of a King: the son of Beatrix, King William Alexander is now swaying the scepter since 2013 together with his wife Queen Maxima.
Comparing the histories and behaviors we can see clearly huge differences between the mentality of our small population on Curacao in the Caribbean and the Dutchmen on the mainland of The Netherlands in Europe. The Dutchmen work hard and save every penny. They are not big spenders. So now one can better understand the expression “going Dutch.”
They do not like to show off with their wealth. They save money for their children and they on their turn for theirs, thus accumulating and passing on wealth to the next generation.
Apart from that they are people who are very eager to learn and are very innovative. Education and developing oneself is an important and leading sentiment and pillar in the society. They have some of the oldest universities in the world such as that of Leiden and Delft. If you want to pursue a carrier, there are always plenty of opportunities or scholarships one can apply for. Education in comparison to most nations in the West is not expensive.
The Dutch People were very innovative in arts and sciences. Have a look at their famous painters such as: Frans Hals, Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Jan Lievens. Later Painters are: Mondrian, M.C. Escher.
Or contemplate their architecture: The Dutch People have their own typical architecture, especially the façade which they exported everywhere they went: South Africa (Cape Dutch Architecture), Curacao (Willemstad Handelskade: Unesco Heritage), Suriname (Paramaribo), Indonesia.
They were also good in Cartography: Ortelius Dutch/Flemish creator of world’s first modern Atlas in 1570 (Theatrum Orbis Terrarum) is an example.
Other discoveries, Inventions and innovations by the Dutch People are:
- Microscope by Anthony van Leeuwenhoek (1674)
- Thermostat by Cornelius Drebbel (1620)
- Electro cardiograph : Willem Enthoven (1924)
- Discovery of Vitamins: Christiaan Eijkman (1929)
- Submarine Snorkel: J.J.Wichers (1939)
- Optical phase contract Microscope by Frits Zernike: Nobel Prize 1953
- Blood bank and artificial heart: Dr Willen Johan Kolff (1943, 1957)
- Metronome original idea of Ditriech Nikolaus Winkel but Johann Maelzel took his idea and popularized it.
Multi Media inventions:
- Compact Cassettes (1962 by Philips),
- Compact Disk (1979 by Philips: Joop Sinjou and Sony: Toshitada Doi)
- DVD 1996 and Blu-ray 2006 also by Philips and Sony
- Eprom 1971: Erasable programable read only Memory by Amsterdam born Israeli Dov Frohman
- Bluetooth 1990s by Dutch engineer: Jaap Heertsen and Swedish engineer: Sven Mattisson both working for Ericsson in Sweden.
- Computer Science and programming: Edsger Dijkstra ‘s algorithm, was considered as one of the most popular and widely used and opening paths for what later came known as structural programming (1970).
- Python a general-purpose high-level scripting and programming language by Guido van Rossum.
Food and beverages
- The modern chocolate, as we know it today, was a joint concept of the van Houten family. Coenraad van Houten added Alkaline salts to Cacao removing its bitterness. Casparus van Houten patented a method of pressing the fat out of the roasted cacao beans and furthermore they made chocolate cheaper by the production of cacao powder. So, the era of Chocolate consumption was started.
- Gin (Jenever 1650) also presumably originated from the Netherlands. It is a spirit made of juniper berries. It became widely popular during the reign of William III of Orange as king on the British throne, who took it to Britain. The Dutch physician Fransiscus Sylvius is often credited with the invention of gin although there are some doubts about it.
The Dutch People have also produced 20 Nobel Prize winners such as:
- Jacobus Hendricus van ‘t Hof (1901: Chemistry and Physics laws in solutions),
- Pieter Zeeman (1902, Discovery of the Zeeman effect),
- Professor Hendrik Lorentz (1902, Mathematically explaining the Zeeman effect)
- Johannes D. Van der Waal (1910, Physics intermolecular forces and equations)
- Heike Kamerlingh Onnes (Phycisist 1913: Superconductivity and material behavior around absolute zero degrees)
- Tobias Asser (1911: Peace and international Laws)
- Willem Enthoven (1924: Invention Electro Cardiogram)
- Christiaan Eijkman (1929: Discovery of Vitamins)
- Peter Debye (1936, Chemistry molecular structure)
- Frits Zernike (1953, Physics: invention of the phase contrast microscope)
- Jan Tinbergen (1969, Economics: dynamic models)
- Nikolaas Tinbergen (1973, Physiology/ Biology behaviors in animals)
- Tjaling Koopmans, (1975, economics studies of optimum allocation of resources)
- Nicolaas Bloembergen (1981, Laser spectroscopy)
- Simon van der Meer (1984, Physics discovery of the W and Z particles)
- Paul J. Crutzer (1995, Ozone layer studies)
- Martinus Veltman (1999, Physics in particle quantum Theory)
- Gerard ‘t Hooft (Quantum Physics: 1999)
- Andre Geim (2010, Physics of isolating single atomic layers of Graphene/graphite)
- Ben Feringa (2016, Chemistry Nano technology in designing molecular machines)
Most famous was Professor Hendrik Lorentz for Physics who was visited by Albert Einstein in Leiden to exchange ideas regarding transformation equations relative to forces and relativity theories.
Also, in modern Music the Dutch D J’s excel: Tiësto, Armin van Buuren, Afrojack, Martin Garrix, Hardwell. All of them were once selected as the best of the world.
Football or Socceris the most popular sport in the Netherlands. They became 3 times second best of the world. Best known players are: Johan Cruyff, Marco Van Basten, Ruud Gullit, Frank Rijkaard, Patrick Kluivert, Dennis Bergkamp, Arjen Robben, Wesley Snijder and Robin van Persie.
Field hockeyboth male and female teams are the most successful teams of the world wining the world cup and Olympic medal several times.
Volleybal, They compete with world’s best teams
Iceskating, Several times world champions
Kickboxing:Rico Verhoeven is currently the champion of the world.
Tennishas produced the Dutch Wimbledon champion: Richard Krajicek (1977) and Betty Stöve second best (1969). Also the Double players Jaco Elthing/ Paul Haarhuis who won several Grand Slams.
Baseball is also a team sport they are good at participating with the best of the world. Dutch pitcher Kenny Jansen won the world series with the La Dodgers in 2020 .
Also, with swimming Dutch men and women have produced several Olympic gold medals: Pieter van den Hoogenband, Ranomi Kromowidjojo, Inge de Bruijn: 4 times Olympic champion.
Cycling several Prizes and Olympic medals were achieved: Marianne Vos, Leontine van Moorsel, Joop Zoetermelk and Jan Janssen (Tour de France), Tom DuMoulin (Giro d’ Italia)
Dutchmen are moreover historically and traditionally explorers and traders and know that the Netherlands are not their universe nor the end of the universe. They always spread their horizons and go out and did business abroad back then and still do. They quickly concluded that you need to collaborate and share knowledge, if you want to grow and mean something in the community and in the world.
Important role in Europe
The Netherlands are important to Europe! Amsterdam and Rotterdam are important import and export sea havens and ports of Europe. The Dutchmen also have great multinationals like Phillips, AKZO, Shell and Unilever. They export besides cheese and flowers also: Machines equipment, spare parts, Natural gas, Floriculture, High-quality plastics, Metal products, meat, Dairy, Baby milk powder, vegetables and potatoes and Petroleum products.
They are especially famous for their flower cultivation and flower gardens such as the beautiful garden of Keukenhof, which is one of the main attractions for tourist all over the world.
Battle against the sea
They are of course unique in gaining land from the sea: The name Netherlands itself (which means low lands or below sea level lands) indicates that a whole lot of the land is under the sea level (approximately 50%) and would be inundated were there no dykes be built through the years to keep the sea on a distance.
The Dutch are also the ones who created Palm islands in Dubai (Jumeirah, Deira and Jebel Ali). These are artificial islands in the form of a Palm tree gained from the sea and built with Dutch engineering and dredging technology (van Oord company).
And last but not least, they are very social and look after others who do not so well. It’s all in the mentality of the Dutchmen.
The Netherlands of all the countries in Europe is one of the few where languages as English and German are understood and being spoken. The reason for this is because they don’t do voice over. They prefer to have Dutch subtitles. In a way this helps the Dutch People to better understand and learn a foreign language.
One other thing the Dutch People are known for, is their liberalism. They are among the first who allowed soft drugs to be sold legally. The shop where these drugs such as weed, marihuana or hashish are sold is called in the Dutch language: Koffieshop.
Therefore, if you just want to buy a cup of coffee, do not enter a koffieshop, the smoke of Soft Drugs hanging there will deprive you from enjoy the cup of coffee if you are not aware and are not a drug user.
Other liberalism ideas are legalization of: Abortion, Euthanasia, Same sex marriage and Prostitution (considered as a tax paid legal business). All these activities are not appreciated by the religious groups in the Dutch Bible belt.
As a member of the European Union the Dutch people next to Germany have the strongest economy and are financially stable with only a population of 17 million. During the Corona COVID-19 Crisis they came up with a smart lock down strategy. This lockdown was different and smart in the sense that there was no need for a curfew. They allowed people to do shopping and certain other activities as long as the social distancing and other imposed restrictions as, refraining from handshakes, washing hands, cough in your elbow, were respected. They did cancel all mega events such as Football, The Formula 1 at Zandvoort with Max Verstappen the Dutch famous driver as candidate to win; The Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam of which they were the organizers after winning in 2019 with the song: Arcade by Duncan Laurence.
Also, in the medical field they are collaborating and fighting hard to find a vaccine against COVID-19 through their in Leiden based company Jansens Vaccines, bought by the American company Johnson & Johnson.
All of these items contributed to the Dutch wealth and prosperity. A small country of only 17 Million inhabitants but with a huge colorful history.
Ever been to Holland? Put it on your bucket list! it’s a fascinating country to visit. There are plenty of culture and things to see there.
Is Holland too far for you to travel to? And or you prefer sandy beaches and a nice tropical weather? Visit then instead Curacao, which is also known as Holland in the Caribbean!
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It also has a swimming pool and a Jacuzzi and is situated in a beach resort Bocagentil near Beachclubs with sandy beaches of Jan Thiel bay.
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