Dutch Brazil, also known as New Holland, was the northern portion of the Portuguese colony of Brazil, ruled by the Dutch during the Dutch colonization of the Americas between 1630 and 1654. The main cities of the Dutch colony of New Holland were the capital Mauritsstad (today part of Recife), Frederikstadt (João Pessoa), Nieuw Amsterdam (Natal), Saint Louis (São Luís), São Cristóvão, Fort Schoonenborch (Fortaleza), Sirinhaém, and Olinda.
From 1630 onward, the Dutch Republic conquered almost half of Brazil's settled European area at the time, with its capital in Recife. The Dutch West India Company (GWC) set up its headquarters in Recife. The governor, Johan Maurits, invited artists and scientists to the colony to help promote Brazil and increase immigration. However, the tide turned against the Dutch when the Portuguese won a significant victory at the Second Battle of Guararapes in 1649. On 26 January 1654, the Dutch surrendered and signed the capitulation, but only as a provisional pact. By May 1654, the Dutch demanded that the Dutch Republic was to be given New Holland back. On 6 August 1661, New Holland was formally ceded to Portugal through the Treaty of The Hague.
While of only transitional importance for the Dutch, this period was of considerable importance in the historical memory in Brazil. It did not have lasting changes on the social and institutional development of Portuguese Brazil. Local Portuguese settlers had to oppose the Dutch largely by their own resources, including mobilizing black and indigenous allies, and made use of their knowledge of local conditions. This struggle is counted in Brazilian historical memory as laying the seeds of Brazilian nationhood. This period also precipitated a decline in Brazil's sugar industry, since conflict between the Dutch and Portuguese disrupted Brazilian sugar production, amidst rising competition from British, French, and Dutch planters in the Caribbean.