New Netherland comprised the areas of the north east Atlantic seaboard of the present-day United States that were visited by Dutch explorers and later settled and taken over by the Dutch West India Company. The settlements were initially located on the Hudson River: Fort Nassau (1614-7) in present-day Albany (later resettled as Fort Orange in 1624), and New Amsterdam, founded in 1625, on Manhattan Island. New Netherland reached its maximum size after the Dutch absorbed the Swedish settlement of Fort Christina in 1655, thereby ending the North American colony of New Sweden.

New Netherland itself formally ended in 1674, after the Third Anglo-Dutch War: Dutch settlements passed to the English crown and New Amsterdam was renamed New York.

The treaty forged by the Dutch and English may, in a nutshell, be regarded as a cessation of hostilities and that each party would hold onto any lands held or conquered at the time of the Treaty of Breda ending the

Dutch West Indies

The colonization of the Dutch West Indies, an island group at the time claimed by Spain, began in 1620 with the taking of St. Maarten, and remains a Dutch overseas territory to this day, as part of the Netherlands Antilles. Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles are organized as two self-governing units whose legal relationship to the Kingdom of the Netherlands is controlled by the Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands.


Captured by the Dutch from the English during the Second Anglo-Dutch War, Suriname and its valuable sugar plantations formally passed into Dutch hands in return for New Netherland with the signing of the Treaty of Westminster in 1674. It remained an overseas Dutch territory until independence was granted in 1975.


In the sixteenth century, European settlers first arrived in this area of north South America, the Netherlands being the fastest to claim the land. Around 1600, the first trade route was established by the Dutch. Eventually, the Netherlands planted three colonies to further mark the territory under the Netherlands rule; Essequibo (1616), Berbice (1627), and Demerara (1752). The British occupied Guyana in the late eighteenth century. The Netherlands ceded Guyana to the United Kingdom in (1814).


In 1624, The Dutch captured and held for a year Salvador, the capital of the Portuguese settlements in Brazil.

From 1630 to 1654, the Dutch West Indies Company controlled a long stretch of the coast from Sergipe to Maranhão, which they renamed New Holland, before being ousted by the Portuguese. A major character from the war was a mestizo named Calabar, who changed sides and changed the course of the fighting in favor of the Dutch, for a while. He was captured and executed by the Portuguese.

Virgin Islands

First settled by the Dutch in 1648, but they were annexed by England in 1672, later to be renamed the British Virgin Islands.


"Nieuw-Walcheren" (1628-77) is now part of Trinidad and Tobago.


The Netherlands were granted control of the Southern Netherlands after the Congress of Vienna. The southern Netherlands declared independence in 1830 (the Belgian Revolution), and its independence was recognized by the Netherlands in 1839, giving birth to Belgium. As part of the Congress of Vienna, King William I of the Netherlands was made Grand Duke of Luxembourg, and the two countries united into a personal union. The independence of Luxembourg was ratified in 1869. When William III of the Netherlands died in 1890, leaving no male successor, the Grand Duchy was given to another branch of the House of Nassau.


Relations between Holland and several former colonies are cordial. Dutch-Indonesian relations have been more complex. Dispute over sovereignty of West New Guinea. Between 1949 and 1962-when West Guinea was handed over to Indonesia-there was very little formal contact between Holland and Indonesia apart from normal diplomatic exchange. In 1962, an aid program started which spent over five billion over the next thirty years. However, no "influence" was gained in Indonesian affairs. This, it has been suggested, may be a "perfect example of decolonization."2 Church links between Holland and former colonies are strong, due to the missionary legacy-the Dutch Reformed Church and the Catholic Church engaged in extensive missionary activity throughout the Dutch empire. The academic study of Islam has a long presence in the University system in Holland, largely due to historic links with the largest Muslim country in the world, Indonesia. Migrants from former colonies have also settled in Holland, where by the late twentieth century a cosmopolitan, multi-cultural society comprised some 10 percent of the total population. However, concern about social cohesion and national identity and preservation of the majority's linguistic and cultural heritage led to new tests for citizens being introduced in 2005.3 What had been celebrated as a "successful, tolerant, multicultural community" was becoming increasingly polarized by the start of the twenty-first century, according to an all-party Parliamentary report.4


  1. ↑ S. Ramachander, Interpreting the colonial legacy, The Hindu Business Line. Retrieved June 16, 2008.
  2. ↑ Jan-Paul Dirkse, Five billion dollars spent, no influence gained, International Institute for Asian Studies. Retrieved June 16, 2008.
  3. ↑ BBC, Dutch set immigrants culture tests. Retrieved June 16, 2008.
  4. ↑ Angus Roxburgh, Dutch are "polarized" says report, BBC. Retrieved June 16, 2008.


  • Andeweg, Rudy C., and Galen A. Irwin. 2005. Governance and Politics of the Netherlands. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 1403935297.
  • Boxer, C.R. 1965. The Dutch Seaborne Empire, 1600-1800. New York: Knopf. ISBN 0090744608.
  • Boxer, C.R. 1973. The Dutch in Brazil, 1624-1654. Hamden, CT: Archon. ISBN 9780208013385.
  • Bromley, J.S., and E.H. Kossmann. 1968. Britain and the Netherlands in Europe and Asia. London: Macmillan.
  • Corn, Charles. 1998. The Scents of Eden: A Narrative of the Spice Trade. New York: Kodansha International. ISBN 9781568362021.
  • Elphick, Richard, and Hermann Buhr Giliomee. 1979. The Shaping of South African society, 1652-1820. Cape Town, ZA: Longman. ISBN 9780582646445.
  • Gaastra, F. S. 2003. The Dutch East India Company: expansion and decline. Zutphen, NL: Walburg Pers. ISBN 9789057302411.
  • Postma, Johannes. 1990. The Dutch in the Atlantic Slave Trade, 1600-1815. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521365857.
  • Wesseling, H. L. 1997. Imperialism and Colonialism: Essays on the History of European Expansion. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. ISBN 9780313304316.