Light green: territories administered by or originating from
territories administered by the
Dutch East India Company
Dark green: territories administered by or originating from
territories administered by the
Dutch West India Company .
Kingdom of the Netherlands
French Guiana )
São Tomé and Príncipe
The DUTCH EMPIRE (Dutch : het Nederlandse koloniale rijk) comprised
the overseas colonies, enclaves, and outposts controlled and
administered by Dutch chartered companies and subsequently, the Dutch
Republic and the modern
Netherlands . It was initially a trade-based
entity which derived most of its influence from merchant enterprise
and Dutch control of international maritime shipping routes through
strategically placed outposts, rather than expansive territorial
ventures. With a few exceptions, the majority of the Dutch Empire's
overseas holdings consisted of coastal forts, factories, and port
settlements with varying degrees of incorporation of their hinterlands
and surrounding regions. Dutch chartered companies often dictated
that their possessions be kept as confined as possible to avoid
unnecessary expense, and while some such as the
Dutch Cape Colony and
Dutch East Indies expanded anyway due to the pressure of independently
minded Dutch colonists, others remained undeveloped, isolated trading
centres dependent on an indigenous host nation. This was reflective
of the fact that the primary network of the Dutch
commercial exchange as opposed to sovereignty over a homogeneous
The imperial ambitions of the Dutch were bolstered by the strength of
their existing shipping industry, as well as the key role they played
in the expansion of maritime trade between Europe and the Orient.
Because small European trading companies often lacked the capital or
the manpower for large scale operations, the States General chartered
Dutch West India Company and the
Dutch East India Company in the
early seventeenth century. These were considered the largest and most
extensive maritime trading companies at the time, and once held a
virtual monopoly on strategic European shipping routes westward
Strait of Magellan , and eastward around the Cape of Good
Hope . The companies' brief domination of global commerce contributed
greatly to a commercial revolution and a cultural flowering in the
Netherlands known as the
Dutch Golden Age . In their search for new
trade passages between
Asia and Europe Dutch navigators explored and
charted vast regions such as
New Zealand ,
Tasmania , and parts of the
eastern coast of
North America .
Shortly after reaching its zenith, the Dutch
Empire began to decline
as a result of the
Anglo-Dutch Wars , in which it lost many of its
colonial possessions and trade monopolies to the
British Empire .
Nevertheless, some portions of the empire survived until the advent of
global decolonisation following
World War II
World War II , namely the East Indies
and Dutch Guiana . Three former colonial territories—
Curaçao , and
Sint Maarten —are retained as constituent countries
within the Netherlands. Dutch imperial imagery by Johan
Braakensiek representing the Dutch East Indies, 1916. The caption
says: The most precious jewel of the Netherlands, alluding to
Multatuli 's designation "the emerald belt" for the Dutch East Indies.
* 1 Origins (1543–1602)
* 2 Rise of Dutch hegemony (1602–1652)
* 3 Phillip II-Dutch conflicts
* 3.2 Americas
* 3.3 Africa
* 4 Rivalry with Great Britain and
* 5 Napoleonic era (1795–1815)
* 6 Post-Napoleonic era (1815–1945)
Suriname and the
* 8 Legacy
* 8.3 Placenames
* 8.4 Architecture
* 8.5 Infrastructure
* 8.6 Agriculture
* 8.7 Scientific discoveries
* 9 See also
* 10 References
* 10.1 Bibliography
* 10.2 Notes
* 11 Further reading
* 12 External links
The formal declaration of independence of the Dutch provinces
from the Spanish king, Philip II
PART OF A SERIES ON THE
HISTORY OF THE NETHERLANDS
* Germanic tribes
Frisii , Batavi ,
* Roman era
Franks , Saxons
* Frankish Kingdom
Holy Roman Empire
* Eighty Years\' War
* United Provinces
* Golden Age / Empire
* Batavian Revolution
Kingdom of Holland
First French Empire
* Sovereign Principality
World War II
World War II
* constituent country within the kingdom
* Military history
* Colonial history
(influence on naval terms ) * Literature
* Inventions and discoveries
* Flood control
The territories that would later form the
Dutch Republic were
originally part of a loose federation known as the Seventeen Provinces
, which Charles V ,
Holy Roman Emperor and (as "Carlos I") King of
Spain , had inherited and brought under his direct rule in 1543. In
Dutch revolt broke out against rule by Roman
Catholic Spain, sparking the Eighty Years\' War . Led by William of
Orange , independence was declared in the 1581
Act of Abjuration
Act of Abjuration . The
revolt resulted in the establishment of an de facto independent
Protestant republic in the north by
Treaty of Antwerp (1609) ,
Spain did not officially recognize Dutch independence until
The coastal provinces of
Zeeland had for centuries prior
to Spanish rule been important hubs of the European maritime trade
network. Their geographical location provided convenient access to the
markets of France, Scotland, Germany,
England and the Baltic. The war
Spain led many financiers and traders to emigrate from
a major city in
Flanders and then one of Europe's most important
commercial centres, to Dutch cities, particularly
Amsterdam , which
became Europe's foremost centre for shipping, banking, and insurance.
Efficient access to capital enabled the Dutch in the 1580s to extend
their trade routes beyond northern Europe to new markets in the
Mediterranean and the
Levant . In the 1590s, Dutch ships began to
Brazil and the
Dutch Gold Coast of Africa, and towards the
Indian Ocean and the source of the lucrative spice trade . This
brought the Dutch into direct competition with
Portugal , which had
dominated these trade routes for several decades, and had established
colonial outposts on the coasts of Brazil, Africa and the Indian Ocean
to facilitate them. The rivalry with Portugal, however, was not
entirely economic: from 1580, after the death of the King of Portugal,
Sebastian I , and much of the Portuguese nobility in the Battle of
Alcácer Quibir , the Portuguese crown had been joined to that of
Spain in an "
Iberian Union " under the heir of Emperor Charles V,
Philip II of Spain . By attacking Portuguese overseas possessions, the
Spain to divert financial and military resources away
from its attempt to quell Dutch independence. Thus began the several
Dutch-Portuguese War .
In 1594, the
Compagnie van Verre ("Company of Far Lands") was founded
in Amsterdam, with the aim of sending two fleets to the spice islands
of Maluku . The first fleet sailed in 1596 and returned in 1597 with
a cargo of pepper, which more than covered the costs of the voyage.
The second voyage (1598–1599), returned its investors a 400% profit.
The success of these voyages led to the founding of a number of
companies competing for the trade. The competition was
counterproductive to the companies' interests as it threatened to
drive up the price of spices at their source in
driving them down in Europe.
RISE OF DUTCH HEGEMONY (1602–1652)
Evolution of the Dutch Empire
As a result of the problems caused by inter-company rivalry, the
Dutch East India Company (Dutch : Verenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie,
VOC) was founded in 1602. The charter awarded to the Company by the
States-General granted it sole rights, for an initial period of 21
years, to Dutch trade and navigation east of the
Cape of Good Hope
Cape of Good Hope and
west of the
Straits of Magellan . The directors of the company, the
"Heeren XVII", were given the legal authority to establish "fortresses
and strongholds", to sign treaties, to enlist both an army and a navy,
and to wage defensive war. The company itself was founded as a joint
stock company , similarly to its English rival that had been founded
two years earlier, the English East
India Company . In 1621, the Dutch
India Company (WIC) was set up and given a 25-year monopoly to
those parts of the world not controlled by its East
the Atlantic, the Americas and the west coast of Africa.
PHILLIP II-DUTCH CONFLICTS
Dutch–Portuguese War , Dutch
Brazil , and Groot
São Luís, Maranhão
São Luís, Maranhão , 17th century
The Spanish-Dutch War was for the Dutch part of their struggle for
independence and religious freedom, during the Eighty Years' War. It
was largely fought on the European continent, but war was also
conducted against Phillip II's overseas territories, including Spanish
colonies and the Portuguese metropoles, colonies, trading posts and
forts belonging at that time to the
King of Spain and Portugal.
Netherlands became part of the domains of the \'Spanish branch\'
of the Habsburg dynasty when Emperor Charles V divided the holdings of
Empire following his abdication in 1555. In 1566, the
Dutch revolt erupted and in 1568 the
Dutch Republic embarked on the
long, torturous path of the
Eighty Years' War
Eighty Years' War (also known as the Dutch
War of Independence ) and began the invasion and looting of Spanish
(and, later, Portuguese) colonies in the Americas and of Asia,
including an attempted invasion of the
Philippines (then part of the
Spanish East Indies ).
Olinda , Dutch
From 1517, the port of
Portugal was the main European
market for products from
India that was attended by other nations to
purchase their needs. But as a result of Portugal's incorporation in
Iberian Union with
Spain by Philip II in 1580, all Portuguese
territories were thereafter Spanish Habsburg branch territory, and
thus all Portuguese markets were closed to the United Provinces. Thus,
in 1595, the Dutch decided to set sail on their own to acquire
products for themselves, making use of the "secret" knowledge of the
Portuguese trade routes, which
Cornelis de Houtman
Cornelis de Houtman had managed to
acquire in Lisbon.
Pursuing their quest for alternative routes to
Asia for trade, the
Dutch were disrupting the Spanish-Portuguese trade, and they
eventually ranged as far afield as the Philippines. The Dutch sought
to dominate the commercial sea trade in Southeast Asia, going so far
in pursuit of this goal as to engage in what other nations and powers
considered to be little more than piratical activities. The
Portuguese victory at the Battle of Guararapes , ended Dutch presence
The joining of the two crowns deprived
Portugal of a separate foreign
policy, with King Phillip II's enemies becoming Portugal's enemies as
well. War with the Dutch led to attacks on most of Portugal's
far-flung trading network in and around
Asia , including Ceylon
Sri Lanka ), and
Goa , as well as attacks upon her commercial
Japan , Africa (especially Mina ), and
South America .
Even though the Portuguese had never been able to capture the entire
island of Ceylon, they had been able to keep the coastal regions under
their control for a considerable time before the coming of the Dutch
in war. Portugal's South American colony,
Brazil , was partially
conquered by both
France and the United Provinces.
In the 17th Century, the "Grand Design " of the West
involved attempting to corner the international trade in sugar by
attacking Portuguese colonies in
Brazil and Africa, seizing both the
sugarcane plantations and the slave ports needed to resupply their
labor. Although weakened by the
Iberian Union with Spain, whose
attention was focused elsewhere, the Portuguese were able to fight off
the initial assault before the
Battle of Matanzas Bay provided the WIC
with the funds needed for a successful operation. Johan Maurits was
appointed governor of "New
Holland " and landed at
Recife in January
1637. In a series of successful expeditions, he gradually extended the
Dutch possessions from
Sergipe on the south to Maranhão in the north.
The WIC also succeeded in conquering
Elmina Castle , Saint
Luanda on the west coast of Africa. Both regions were also
used as bases for Dutch privateers plundering Portuguese and Spanish
trade routes. The dissolution of the
Iberian Union in 1640 and
Maurits's recall in 1643 led to increased resistance from the
Portuguese colonists who still made up a majority of the Brazilian
settlers. The Dutch were finally overcome during the 1650s but managed
to receive 4 million reis (63 metric tons of gold) in exchange for
extinguishing their claims over
Brazil in the 1661 Treaty of the Hague
The primary Dutch and Portuguese settlements in Asia, c. 1665.
With the exception of
Jakarta and Deshima, all had been captured by
Dutch East India Company from Portugal.
War between Phillip II's possessions and other countries led to a
deterioration of Portugal's Empire, as with the loss of Hormuz to
England, but the Dutch
Empire was the main beneficiary.
The VOC began immediately to prise away the string of coastal
fortresses that, at the time, comprised the Portuguese Empire. The
settlements were isolated, difficult to reinforce if attacked, and
prone to being picked off one by one, but nevertheless the Dutch only
enjoyed mixed success in its attempts to do so. Amboina was captured
from the Portuguese in 1605, but an attack on
Malacca the following
year narrowly failed in its objective to provide a more strategically
located base in the East Indies with favorable monsoon winds. The
Dutch found what they were looking for in
Jakarta , conquered by Jan
Coen in 1619, later renamed Batavia after the putative Dutch ancestors
the Batavians, and which would become the capital of the Dutch East
Indies . Meanwhile, the Dutch continued to drive out the Portuguese
from their bases in Asia.
Malacca finally succumbed in 1641 (after a
second attempt to capture it),
Colombo in 1656,
Ceylon in 1658,
Nagappattinam in 1662 and
Cochin in 1662.
Goa , the capital of the
Portuguese Empire in the East, was
unsuccessfully attacked by the Dutch in 1603 and 1610. Whilst the
Dutch were unable in four attempts to capture
Macau from where
Portugal monopolized the lucrative China-
Japan trade , the Japanese
shogunate\'s increasing suspicion of the intentions of the Catholic
Portuguese led to their expulsion in 1639. Under the subsequent sakoku
policy , from 1639 till 1854 (215 years) the Dutch were the only
European power allowed to operate in Japan, confined in 1639 to Hirado
and then from 1641 at
Deshima . In the mid 17th century the Dutch also
explored the western Australian coasts, naming many places .
Overview of Fort Zeelandia on the island of
Formosa , 17th century
The Dutch colonized
Mauritius in 1638, several decades after three
ships out of the Dutch Second Fleet sent to the Spice Islands were
blown off course in a storm and landed in 1598. They named it in honor
of Prince Maurice of Nassau , the
Stadtholder of the Netherlands. The
Dutch found the climate hostile and abandoned the island after several
further decades. Batavia built in what is now Jakarta, 1682
The Dutch established a colony at Tayouan (present-day Anping ), in
the south of
Taiwan , an island then largely dominated by Portuguese
traders and known as
Formosa ; and in 1642 the Dutch took northern
Formosa from the Spanish by force.
In 1646, the Dutch tried to take the Spanish colony in the
Philippines . The Dutch had a large force at their disposal but when
they tried to take
Manila , they were defeated at the Battles of La
Manila . After this defeat, the Dutch abandoned their efforts
Manila and the Philippines.
Between 1602 and 1796, the VOC sent almost a million Europeans to
work in the
Asia trade. The majority died of disease or made their
way back to Europe, but some of them made the Indies their new home.
Interaction between the Dutch and native population mainly took place
Sri Lanka and the modern Indonesian Islands . Through the centuries
there developed a relatively large Dutch-speaking population of mixed
Dutch and Indonesian descent, known as Indos or Dutch-Indonesians.
Dutch conquests in the
West Indies and
In the Atlantic, the West
India Company concentrated on wresting from
Portugal its grip on the sugar and slave trade, and on opportunistic
attacks on the Spanish treasure fleets on their homeward bound voyage.
Bahia on the north east coast of
Brazil was captured in 1624 but only
held for a year before it was recaptured by a joint Spanish-Portuguese
expedition. In 1628,
Piet Heyn captured the entire Spanish treasure
fleet , and made off with a vast fortune in precious metals and goods
that enabled the Company two years later to pay its shareholders a
cash dividend of 70%, though the Company was to have relatively few
other successes against the Spanish. In 1630, the Dutch occupied the
Portuguese sugar-settlement of
Pernambuco and over the next few years
pushed inland, annexing the sugar plantations that surrounded it. In
order to supply the plantations with the manpower they required, a
successful expedition was launched in 1637 from
Brazil to capture the
Portuguese slaving post of
Elmina , and in 1641 successfully captured
the Portuguese settlements in
Angola . In 1642, the Dutch captured
the Portuguese possession of
Axim in Africa. By 1650, the West India
Company was firmly in control of both the sugar and slave trades, and
had occupied the Caribbean islands of
Sint Maarten ,
Curaçao , Aruba
Bonaire in order to guarantee access to the islands' salt-pans .
Flag of Dutch
Unlike in Asia, Dutch successes against the Portuguese in
Africa were short-lived. Years of settlement had left large Portuguese
communities under the rule of the Dutch, who were by nature traders
rather than colonizers. In 1645, the Portuguese community at
Pernambuco rebelled against their Dutch masters, and by 1654, the
Dutch had been ousted from Brazil. In the intervening years, a
Portuguese expedition had been sent from
Brazil to recapture
Angola, by 1648 the Dutch were expelled from there also. Reprint
of a 1650 map of
New Netherland .
On the north-east coast of North America, the West
India Company took
over a settlement that had been established by the Company of New
Netherland (1614–18) at
Fort Orange at Albany on the
Hudson River ,
relocated from Fort Nassau which had been founded in 1614. The Dutch
had been sending ships annually to the
Hudson River to trade fur since
Henry Hudson 's voyage of 1609. To protect its precarious position at
Albany from the nearby English and French, the Company founded the
fortified town of New
Amsterdam in 1625, at the mouth of the Hudson,
encouraging settlement of the surrounding areas of
Long Island and New
Jersey . The fur trade ultimately proved impossible for the Company
to monopolize due to the massive illegal private trade in furs, and
the settlement of
New Netherland was unprofitable. In 1655, the
nearby colony of
New Sweden on the
Delaware River was forcibly
New Netherland after ships and soldiers were sent to
capture it by the Dutch governor,
Pieter Stuyvesant .
Since its inception, the
Dutch East India Company had been in
competition with its counterpart, the English East
India Company ,
founded two years earlier but with a capital base eight times smaller,
for the same goods and markets in the East. In 1619, the rivalry
resulted in the
Amboyna massacre , when several English Company men
were executed by agents of the Dutch. The event remained a source of
English resentment for several decades, and indeed was used as a cause
célèbre as late as the
Second Anglo-Dutch War in the 1660s;
nevertheless, in the late 1620s the English Company shifted its focus
Indonesia to India.
Elmina Castle ,
Dutch Gold Coast in
In 1643, the
Dutch West India Company established a settlement in the
ruins of the Spanish settlement of Valdivia , in southern
Chile . The
purpose of the expedition was to gain a foothold on the west coast of
the Americas, an area that was almost entirely under the control of
Pacific Ocean , at least most of it to the east of the
Philippines, being at the time almost a 'Spanish lake'), and to
extract gold from nearby mines. Uncooperative indigenous peoples, who
had forced the Spanish to leave Valdivia in 1604 contributed to get
the expedition to leave after some months of occupation. This
occupation triggered the return of the Spanish to Valdivia and the
building of one of the largest defensive complexes of colonial
By the middle of the 17th century, the Dutch had overtaken Portugal
as the dominant player in the spice and silk trade, and in 1652
founded a colony at Cape Town on the coast of South Africa, as a
way-station for its ships on the route between Europe and Asia. After
the first settlers spread out around the Company station, nomadic
white livestock farmers, or Trekboers , moved more widely afield,
leaving the richer, but limited, farming lands of the coast for the
drier interior tableland. In 1795, the heavily taxed
Boers of the
frontier districts, who received no protection against the Africans,
expelled the officials of the Dutch East
India Company, and
established independent governments at
Swellendam and at Graaff-Reinet
RIVALRY WITH GREAT BRITAIN AND FRANCE (1652–1795)
The growth of the
Dutch Cape Colony .
In 1651, the English parliament passed the first of the Navigation
Acts which excluded Dutch shipping from the lucrative trade between
England and its Caribbean colonies, and led directly to the outbreak
of hostilities between the two countries the following year, the first
Anglo-Dutch Wars that would last on and off for two decades
and slowly erode Dutch naval power to England's benefit.
In 1661, amidst the Qing conquest of China, Ming general
a fleet to invade Formosa. The Dutch defense, led by governor
Frederick Coyett , held out for nine months . However, after Koxinga
defeated Dutch reinforcements from Java, Coyett surrendered Formosa.
Empire would never rule
Second Anglo-Dutch War was precipitated in 1664, when English
forces moved to capture
New Netherland . Under the Treaty of Breda
New Netherland was ceded to
England in exchange for the
English settlements in Suriname, which had been conquered by Dutch
forces earlier that year. Though the Dutch would again take New
Netherland in 1673, during the Third Anglo-Dutch War, it was returned
England the following year, thereby ending the Dutch
continental North America, but leaving behind a large Dutch community
under English rule that persisted with its language, church and
customs until the mid-18th century. In South America, the Dutch
seized Cayenne from the French in 1658 and drove off a French attempt
to retake it a year later. However, it was returned to
France in 1664,
since the colony proved to be unprofitable. It was recaptured by the
Dutch in 1676, but was returned again a year later, this time
Glorious Revolution of 1688 saw the Dutch William of
Orange ascend to the throne, and win the English, Scottish, and Irish
crowns, ending eighty years of rivalry between the
England, while the rivalry with
France remained strong.
American Revolutionary War , Britain declared war on the
Fourth Anglo-Dutch War , in which Britain seized the
Dutch colony of Ceylon. Under the
Peace of Paris (1783)
Peace of Paris (1783) ,
returned to the
Negapatnam ceded to Britain.
NAPOLEONIC ERA (1795–1815)
Dejima trading post in Japan, c. 1805
In 1795, the French revolutionary army invaded the
Dutch Republic and
turned the nation into a satellite of France, named the Batavian
Republic . Britain, which was at war with France, soon moved to occupy
Dutch colonies in Asia,
South Africa and the Caribbean.
Under the terms of the
Treaty of Amiens
Treaty of Amiens signed by Britain and France
in 1802, the Cape
Colony and the islands of the Dutch
West Indies that
the British had seized were returned to the Republic.
Ceylon was not
returned to the Dutch and was made a British Crown
Colony . After the
outbreak of hostilities between Britain and
France again in 1803, the
British retook the Cape Colony. The British also invaded and captured
the island of
Java in 1811 .
In 1806, Napoleon dissolved the
Batavian Republic and established a
monarchy with his brother,
Louis Bonaparte , on the throne as King of
the Netherlands. Louis was removed from power by Napoleon in 1810, and
the country was ruled directly from
France until its liberation in
1813. The following year, the independent
Netherlands signed the
Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1814 with Britain. All the colonies Britain had
seized were returned to the Netherlands, with the exception of the
Sri Lanka .
POST-NAPOLEONIC ERA (1815–1945)
The growth of the
Dutch East Indies . Map of the Dutch
colonial possessions around 1840. Included are the
Dutch East Indies ,
Curaçao and Dependencies ,
Suriname , and the
Dutch Gold Coast .
After Napoleon's defeat in 1815, Europe's borders were redrawn at the
Congress of Vienna
Congress of Vienna . For the first time since the declaration of
Spain in 1581, the Dutch were reunited with the
Netherlands in a constitutional monarchy, the United Kingdom
Netherlands . The union lasted just 15 years. In 1830, a
revolution in the southern half of the country led to the de facto
independence of the new state of
Dutch East India Company was liquidated on 1 January
1800, and its territorial possessions were nationalized as the Dutch
East Indies . Anglo-Dutch rivalry in Southeast
Asia continued to
fester over the port of
Singapore , which had been ceded to the
India Company in 1819 by the sultan of Johore. The Dutch
claimed that a treaty signed with the sultan's predecessor the year
earlier had granted them control of the region. However, the
impossibility of removing the British from Singapore, which was
becoming an increasingly important centre of trade, became apparent to
the Dutch, and the disagreement was resolved with the Anglo-Dutch
Treaty of 1824 . Under its terms, the
their bases in
India to the British, and recognized the British claim
to Singapore. In return, the British handed over Bencoolen and agreed
not to sign treaties with rulers in the "islands south of the Straits
of Singapore". Thus the archipelago was divided into two spheres of
influence: a British one, on the
Malay Peninsula , and a Dutch one in
the East Indies.
For most of the
Dutch East Indies history, and that of the VOC before
it, Dutch control over their territories was often tenuous, but was
expanded over the course of the 19th century. Only in the early 20th
century did Dutch dominance extend to what was to become the
boundaries of modern-day Indonesia. Although highly populated and
Java was under Dutch domination for most of
the 350 years of the combined VOC and
Dutch East Indies era, many
areas remained independent for much of this time including
In 1871, all of the Dutch possessions on the
Dutch Gold Coast were
sold to Britain .
The Dutch West
India company was abolished in 1791, and its colonies
Suriname and the Caribbean brought under the direct rule of the
state. The economies of the Dutch colonies in the Caribbean had been
based on the smuggling of goods and slaves into
Spanish America , but
with the end of the slave trade in 1814 and the independence of the
new nations of South and Central America from Spain, profitability
rapidly declined. Dutch traders moved en masse from the islands to the
United States or Latin America, leaving behind small populations with
little income and which required subsidies from the Dutch government.
The Antilles were combined under one administration with
1828 to 1845. Slavery was not abolished in the Dutch Caribbean
colonies until 1863, long after those of Britain and France, though by
this time only 6,500 slaves remained. In Suriname, slave holders
demanded compensation from the Dutch government for freeing slaves,
Sint Maarten , abolition of slavery in the French half in
1848 led slaves in the Dutch half to take their own freedom. In
Suriname, after the abolition of slavery, Chinese workers were
encouraged to immigrate as indentured laborers , as were Javanese,
between 1890 and 1939.
Sukarno, the leader for Indonesian Independence
In January 1942,
Japan invaded the
Netherlands East Indies . The
Dutch surrendered two months later in Java, with Indonesians initially
welcoming the Japanese as liberators. The subsequent Japanese
Indonesia during the remainder of
World War II
World War II saw the
fundamental dismantling of the Dutch colonial state\'s economic,
political and social structures, replacing it with a Japanese regime.
In the decades before the war, the Dutch had been overwhelmingly
successful in suppressing the small nationalist movement in Indonesia
such that the Japanese occupation proved fundamental for Indonesian
independence. However, the
Indonesian Communist Party founded by
Henk Sneevliet in 1914, popular also with Dutch
workers and sailors at the time, was in strategic alliance with
Sarekat Islam (q.v.) as early as 1917 until the Proclamation of
Indonesian Independence and was particularly important in the fight
against Japanese occupation of the
Dutch East Indies in the Second
World War. The Japanese encouraged and backed Indonesian nationalism
in which new indigenous institutions were created and nationalist
leaders such as
Sukarno were promoted. The internment of all Dutch
citizens meant that Indonesians filled many leadership and
administrative positions, although the top positions were still held
by the Japanese.
Two days after the Japanese surrender in August 1945,
fellow nationalist leader Hatta unilaterally declared Indonesian
independence . A four and a half-year struggle followed as the Dutch
tried to re-establish their colony. Dutch forces eventually
re-occupied most of the colonial territory and a guerrilla struggle
ensued. The majority of Indonesians, and – ultimately –
international opinion, favored independence, and in December 1949, the
Netherlands formally recognized Indonesian sovereignty. Under the
terms of the 1949 agreement,
Western New Guinea remained under the
Netherlands New Guinea . The new Indonesian government
Sukarno pressured for the territory to come under
Indonesian control as Indonesian nationalists initially intended.
United States pressure, the
Netherlands transferred it to
Indonesia under the 1962
New York Agreement
New York Agreement . Dutch colonists in
Suriname, 1920. Most Europeans left after independence in 1975.
SURINAME AND THE NETHERLANDS ANTILLES
In 1954, under the "Charter for the
Kingdom of the Netherlands ", the
Suriname and the
Netherlands Antilles (at the time
including Aruba) became a composite kingdom. The former colonies were
granted autonomy, save for certain matters including defense, foreign
affairs and citizenship, which were the responsibility of the Realm.
In 1969, unrest in
Curaçao led to Dutch marines being sent to quell
rioting. In 1973, negotiations started in
Suriname for independence,
and full independence was granted in 1975, with 60,000 emigrants
taking the opportunity of moving to the Netherlands. In 1986, Aruba
was allowed to secede from the
Netherlands Antilles federation, and
was pressured by the
Netherlands to move to independence within ten
years. However, in 1994, it was agreed that its status as a Realm in
its own right could continue.
On October 10, 2010, the
Netherlands Antilles were dissolved .
Effective on that date,
Sint Maarten acceded to the same
country status within the Kingdom that
Aruba already enjoyed. The
islands of Bonaire,
Sint Eustatius and
Saba were granted a status
similar to Dutch municipalities, and are now sometimes referred to as
Contemporary countries and federated states which were
significantly colonized by the Dutch. In the Netherlands, these
countries are sometimes known as verwantschapslanden (kindred
Generally, the Dutch do not celebrate their imperial past, and
anti-colonial sentiments have prevailed since the 1960s. Subsequently,
colonial history is not featured prominently in Dutch schoolbooks.
This perspective on their imperial past only recently shifted with
Jan Peter Balkenende 's contentious call for the return
of the VOC mentality.
In some Dutch colonies there are major ethnic groups of Dutch
ancestry descending from emigrated Dutch settlers. In
South Africa the
Cape Dutch collectively known as the Afrikaners . The
Burgher people of
Sri Lanka and the
Indo people of
Indonesia as well
as the Creoles of
Suriname are mixed race people of Dutch descent.
In the USA there have been three American presidents of Dutch
Martin Van Buren , the first president who was not of British
descent, and whose first language was Dutch, the 26th president
Theodore Roosevelt , and
Franklin D. Roosevelt , the 32nd president,
elected to four terms in office (1933 to 1945) and the only U.S.
president to have served more than two terms.
South Africa Dutch family in
Java , 1902
Despite the Dutch presence in
Indonesia for almost 350 years, the
Dutch language has no official status and the small minority that can
speak the language fluently are either educated members of the oldest
generation, or employed in the legal profession, as some legal codes
are still only available in Dutch. The
Indonesian language inherited
many words from Dutch, both in words for everyday life, and as well in
scientific or technological terminology. One scholar argues that 20%
of Indonesian words can be traced back to Dutch words.
The century and half of Dutch rule in
Ceylon and southern
few to no traces of the Dutch language. Today, in Suriname, Dutch is
the official language and 58 percent of the population speak it as
their mother tongue. Twenty-four percent of the population speaks
Dutch as a second language, and in total 82 percent of the population
can speak Dutch. In
Bonaire , and
Curaçao , Dutch is the
official language but spoken as a first language by only seven to
eight percent of the population, although most people on the islands
can speak the language and the education system on these islands is in
Dutch at some or all levels. The population of the three northern
Sint Maarten ,
Saba , and
Sint Eustatius , is predominantly
New Jersey in the United States, an extinct dialect of Dutch,
Jersey Dutch , spoken by descendants of 17th century Dutch settlers in
Bergen and Passaic counties, was noted to still be spoken as late as
The greatest linguistic legacy of the
Netherlands was in its colony
in South Africa, which attracted large numbers of Dutch farmer (in
Boer ) settlers, who spoke a simplified form of Dutch called
Afrikaans , which is largely mutually intelligible with Dutch. After
the colony passed into British hands, the settlers spread into the
hinterland, taking their language with them. As of 2005, there were 10
million people for whom
Afrikaans is either a primary and secondary
language, compared with over 22 million speakers of Dutch.
Other Creole languages with Dutch linguistic roots are Papiamento
still spoken in
Curaçao , and
Sint Eustatius ;
Sranan Tongo still spoken in
but in danger of extinction in
Guyana ; Pecok spoken but in danger of
Indonesia and the
Netherlands ; Albany Dutch spoken but
in danger of extinction in the USA.
Dutch-based creole languages include: Skepi (
Negerhollands (aka "Negro Dutch"),
Jersey Dutch and
Mohawk Dutch (USA)
and Javindo (
Amsterdam as it appeared in 1664. Under British rule it
became known as New York .
Some towns of New York and areas of New York City, once part of the
New Netherland have names of Dutch origin, such as Brooklyn
Breukelen ), Flushing (after
Vlissingen ), the
Bouwerij, construction site),
Haarlem ), Coney Island
(from Conyne Eylandt, modern Dutch spelling Konijneneiland: Rabbit
Staten Island (meaning "Island of the States "). The last
Director-General of the colony of New Netherland,
Pieter Stuyvesant ,
has bequeathed his name to a street, a neighborhood and a few schools
in New York City, and the town of Stuyvesant . Many of the towns and
cities along the Hudson in upstate New York have placenames with Dutch
origins (for example
Yonkers , Hoboken ,
Haverstraw , Newburgh ,
Staatsburg , Catskill , Kinderhook , Coeymans , Rensselaer ,
Watervliet ). Nassau County , one of the four that make up Long
Island, is also of Dutch origin. The Schuylkill river that flows into
Delaware at Philadelphia is also a Dutch name meaning hidden or
Many towns and cities in
Suriname share names with cities in the
Netherlands, such as Alkmaar and Groningen . The capital of Curaçao
Willemstad and the capitals of both
Saint Eustatius and Aruba
are named Oranjestad . The first is named after the Dutch Prince
Willem II van Oranje-Nassau (William of Orange-Nassau) and the two
others after the first part of the current Dutch royal dynasty.
Half of South Africa's major cities have Dutch names i.e.
The country name
New Zealand originated with Dutch cartographers ,
who called the islands Nova Zeelandia, after the Dutch province of
Zeeland . British explorer
James Cook subsequently anglicized the
name to New Zealand.
The Australian island state
Tasmania is named after Dutch explorer
Abel Tasman , who made the first reported European sighting of the
island on 24 November 1642. He first named the island Anthony van
Diemen's Land after his sponsor
Anthony van Diemen
Anthony van Diemen , the Governor of
Dutch East Indies . The name was later shortened to Van Diemen\'s
Land by the British. It was officially renamed in honor of its first
European discoverer on 1 January 1856.
Arnhem Land is named after the
Dutch ship named Arnhem. The captain of the Arnhem (Willem van
Coolsteerdt) also named the large island, east of Arnhem Groote
Eylandt , in modern Dutch spelling Groot Eiland: Large Island. There
are many more Dutch geographical names in Australia. The
Malaysia , believed to be the oldest Dutch
building in Asia.
The Stadhuis of Batavia , said to be modelled after the Dam
In the Surinamese Capital of Paramaribo, the Dutch Fort Zeelandia
still stands today. The city itself also have retained most of its old
street layout and architecture, which is part of the world's UNESCO
heritage. In the centre of Malacca, Malaysia, the
and Christ Church still stand as a reminder of Dutch occupation. There
are still archaeological remains of
Fort Goede Hoop (modern Hartford,
Connecticut ) and
Fort Orange (modern
Albany, New York ).
Dutch architecture is easy to see in Aruba, Curaçao,
Saint Eustatius . The Dutch style buildings are especially visible in
Willemstad , with its steeply pitched gables, large windows and
Dutch architecture can also be found in Sri Lanka, especially in
Galle where the Dutch fortification and canal have been retained
intact, even to an extent the former tropical Villas of the VOC
officials. Some of the most prominent example of these architecture is
the former governor's mansion in Galle, currently known as Amangalla
Hotel and the Old Dutch reformed Church. In the capital Colombo, many
of the Dutch and Portuguese architecture around The Fort have been
demolished during the British period, few of the remaining include Old
Colombo Dutch Hospital and
Wolvendaal Church .
During the period of Dutch colonization in
South Africa , a
distinctive type of architecture, known as
Cape Dutch architecture ,
was developed. These style of architecture can be found in historical
towns such as
In the former Dutch capital of Cape Town, nearly nothing from the VOC
era have survived except the
Castle of Good Hope
Castle of Good Hope .
Although the Dutch already started erecting buildings shortly after
they arrived on the shores of Batavia , most Dutch-built constructions
still standing today in
Indonesia stem from the 19th and 20th
centuries. Forts from the colonial era, used for defense purposes,
still line a number of major coastal cities across the archipelago.
The largest number of surviving Dutch buildings can be found on Java
and Sumatra, particularly in cities such as
Malang . There are also significant
examples of 17–19th century Dutch architecture around
Banda Neira ,
Nusa Laut and
Saparua , the former main spices islands, which due to
limited economic development have retained many of its colonial
elements. Another prominent example of Dutch colonial architecture is
Fort Rotterdam in
Makassar . The earlier Dutch construction mostly
replicate the architecture style in the Homeland (such as Toko Merah
). However these buildings were unsuitable to tropical climate and
expensive to maintain. And as a result the Dutch officials begun to
adapt to the tropical condition by applying native elements such as
wide-open veranda, ventilation and indigenous high pitch roofing into
their villas . "In the beginning (of the Dutch presence), Dutch
Java was based on colonial architecture which was
modified according to the tropical and local cultural conditions,"
Indonesian art and design professor Pamudji Suptandar wrote. This was
dubbed arsitektur Indis (Indies architecture), which combines the
existing traditional Hindu-Javanese style with European forms.
Gedung Sate , an early 20th century colonial building which
incorporate modern Western neo-classical style with indigenous
Many public buildings still standing and in use in Jakarta, such as
the presidential palace, the finance ministry and the performing arts
theater, were built in the 19th century in the classicist style. At
the turn of the 20th century and partially due to the Dutch Ethical
Policy , the number of
Dutch people migrating to the colony grew with
economic expansion. The increasing number of middle class population
led to the development of Garden Suburbs in major city across the
Indies, many of the houses were built in various style ranging from
the Indies style, Neo-Renaissance to modern
Art Deco . Some examples
of these residential district include
Menteng in Jakarta, Darmo in
Surabaya, Polonia in Medan, Kotabaru in Yogyakarta, New Candi in
Semarang and as well as most of North Bandung.
Indonesia also became
an experimental ground for Dutch
Art Deco architectural movement such
Nieuwe Zakelijkheid ,
De Stijl , Nieuw Indische and Amsterdam
School . Several famous architect such as
Wolff Schoemaker and Henri
Maclaine Pont also made an attempt to modernize indigenous
architecture, resulting several unique design such as Pohsarang Church
Bandung Institute of Technology . The largest stock of these Art
Deco building can be found in the city of Bandung, which
"architecturally" can considered the most European city in Indonesia.
Since Indonesia’s independence, few governments have shown interest
in the conservation of historical buildings. Many architecturally
grand buildings have been torn down in the past decades to erect
shopping centres or office buildings e.g.
Hotel des Indes (Batavia) ,
Harmony Society, Batavia . Presently, however, more Indonesians have
become aware of the value of preserving their old buildings.
"A decade ago, most people thought I was crazy when they learned of
my efforts to save the old part of Jakarta. A few years later, the
negative voices started to disappear, and now many people are starting
to think with me: how are we going to save our city. In the past using
the negative sentiment towards the colonial era was often used as an
excuse to disregard protests against the demolition of historical
buildings. An increasing number of people now see the old colonial
buildings as part of their city’s overall heritage rather than
focusing on its colonial aspect.", leading Indonesian architect and
conservationist Budi Lim said.
Great Post Road
Great Post Road (Grote Postweg), spanning West to East Java
Beyond Indonesia’s art deco architecture also much of the
country’s rail and road infrastructure as well as its major cities
were built during the colonial period. Many of Indonesia’s main
cities were mere rural townships before colonial industrialization and
urban development. Examples on
Java include the capital
Java examples include Ambon and
Menado city. Most
main railroads and rail stations on
Java as well as the main road,
Great Post Road
Great Post Road (Dutch: Grote Postweg) after the
Governor General commissioning the work, connecting west to east Java
were also built during the
Dutch East Indies era.
Between 1800 and 1950 Dutch engineers created an infrastructure
including 67,000 kilometers (42,000 mi) of roads, 7,500 kilometers
(4,700 mi) of railways, many large bridges, modern irrigation systems
covering 1.4 million hectares (5,400 sq mi) of rice fields, several
international harbors, and 140 public drinking water systems. These
Dutch constructed public works became the material base of the
colonial and postcolonial Indonesian state.
Dutch plantation in Bengal , 1665
Crops such like coffee, tea, cacao , tobacco and rubber were all
introduced by the Dutch. The Dutch were the first to start the spread
of the coffee plant in Central and South America, and by the early
Java was the third largest producer in the world. In
1778 the Dutch brought cacao from the
commenced mass production. Currently
Indonesia is the world's second
largest producer of natural rubber, a crop that was introduced by the
Dutch in the early 20th century. Tobacco was introduced from the
Americas and in 1863 the first plantation was established by the
Indonesia is not only the oldest industrial producer of
tobacco, but also the second largest consumer of tobacco.
Java Man was discovered by
Eugène Dubois in
Indonesia in 1891. The
Komodo dragon was firstly described by
Peter Ouwens in
1912 after an airplane crash in 1911 and rumors about living dinosaurs
Komodo Island in 1910.
Dutch colonization of the Americas
Dutch colonization of the Americas
Dutch East India Company
Dutch West India Company
Dutch Language Union
Dutch Language Union
* List of
Dutch East India Company trading posts
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* ^ Boxer (1965), p.20.
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* ^ Boxer (1969), p.112.
* ^ Taylor (2001), p.65.
* ^ Boxer (1969), p.120.
* ^ Boxer (1965), p.26
* ^ Facsimile of manuscript regarding the surrender of Dutch
Brazil:Cort, Bondigh ende Waerachtigh Verhael Wan't schandelyck
over-geven ende verlaten vande voorname Conquesten van Brasil...;
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* ^ Taylor (2001), p.251.
* ^ Taylor (2001), p.252.
* ^ Taylor (2001), p.253.
* ^ Taylor (2001), p.255.
* ^ A B McEvedy (1998), p.44.
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* ^ McEvedy (1988), p.46.
* ^ Taylor (2001), p.259
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Campbell, William .
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island. London: Kegan Paul. pp. 412–459. LCCN 04007338 .
* ^ Taylor (2001), p.260
* ^ SarDesai (1997), p.88.
* ^ Ricklefs, M.C. (1991). A History of Modern
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* ^ SarDesai, pp.92–93.
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pp. 23–25. ISBN 1-74059-154-2 . ; Schwarz, A. (1994). A Nation in
Indonesia in the 1990s. Westview Press. pp. 3–4. ISBN
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* ^ Rogozinski (1999), pp.213–4
* ^ "オリックス銀行・カードローンの申し込み方".
Retrieved 18 May 2016.
* ^ Javanese in
Suriname strive to preserve origins
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Netherlands East Indies 1941–42,
"Forgotten Campaign: The
Dutch East Indies Campaign 1941–1942
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* ^ Ricklefs (1991), p. 195. Vickers (2005), pp.85, 85.
* ^ A B C Vickers (2005), page 85
* ^ Rogozinski, pp.296–7
* ^ A 2011 series of critical analysis featured in Inside
Indonesia, the English-language media forum of the Indonesian
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* ^ van Leeuwen, Lizzy. "Postcolonial neglect in Holland, Colonial
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Retrieved 15 August 2012.
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* ^ Booij (1995), p.2
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New Zealand was Staten Landt,
the name given to it by the Dutch explorer
Abel Tasman , who in 1642
became the first European to see the islands. Tasman assumed it was
part of a southern continent connected with land discovered in 1615
off the southern tip of
South America by
Jacob Le Maire , which had
been named Staten Landt , meaning "Land of the (Dutch)
States-General". See:The Discovery of New Zealand
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international social, cultural, and political encyclopedia.
(publisher: ABC-CLIO, Santa Barbara, ca, usa, 2003) P.215, 716
Daendels (1762–1818), a pro-French Governor-General,
originally named the road: La Grand Route. In Indonesian it is called
Jalan Raya Pos. A documentary narrated by Indonesian author Pramoedya
Ananta Toer was made about the road in 1996. See:
* ^ Ravesteijn, Wim "Between Globalization and Localization: The
Case of Dutch Civil Engineering in Indonesia, 1800–1950," in
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* ^ (in Indonesian)
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* Boxer, C.R. (1969). The Portuguese Seaborne
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* McEvedy, Colin (1998). The Penguin Historical Atlas of the
* Ostler, Nicholas (2005). Empires of the Word: A Language History
of the World. Harper Collins.
* Rogozinski, Jan (2000). A Brief History of the Caribbean. Plume.
* SarDesai, D.R. (1997). Southeast Asia: Past and Present. Westview.
* Scammel, G.V. (1989). The First Imperial Age: European Overseas
Expansion c. 1400–1715. Routledge.
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* ^ Controversy exists as to the actual starting date of the
revolt, and even with that of the Eighty Years' War; many historians
maintain 1568 as the starting date of the war, as this was the year of
the first battles between armies. However, since there is a long
Protestant vs. Catholic (establishment) unrest leading to
this war, it is not easy to give an exact date when the war, or the
'Dutch Revolt', actually started. The first open violence that would
lead to the war was the 1566 iconoclasm known as the ICONOCLASTIC FURY
Beeldenstorm ), and sometimes the first Spanish repressions of the
riots (i.e. battle of Oosterweel , 1567) are considered the starting
point. Most accounts cite the 1568 invasions of armies of mercenaries
paid by William of Orange as the official start of the war; this
article adopts that point of view. Alternatively, the start of the war
is sometimes set at the capture of Brielle by the Gueux in 1572.
* Andeweg, Rudy B. ; Galen A. Irwin (2005). Governance and Politi