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The Dutch "Golden Age"

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The Dutch "Golden Age". (1580s - 1670s). Look for the slides with writing. Study the rest – I will check on Friday!!. The Netherlands: The “Low Country”. Government. 1. The government was dominated by the bourgeoisie whose wealth and power limited the power of the state

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"Golden Age"

(1580s - 1670s)

Look for the slides with writing. Study the rest – I will check on Friday!!


1. The government was dominated by the bourgeoisie whose wealth and power limited the power of the state

2. Government was run by representative institutions

  • The government consisted of an organized confederation of seven provinces, each with representative gov’t
    • Each province sent a representative to the Estates General
    • Holland and Zeeland were the two richest and most influential provinces
    • Each province and city was autonomous (self-governing)
    • Each province elected a stadholder (governor) and military leader
    • During times of crisis, all seven provinces would elect the same stadholder, usually from the House of Orange.

17c: The “Dutch” Century

  • A certain level of religious toleration.
    • 1.Calvinism was the dominant religion but was split between the Dutch Reformed (who were the majority and the most powerful) and Arminian factions
      • a. Arminianism: Calvinism without the belief in predestination
      • b. Arminians enjoyed full rights after 1632
      • c. Consisted of much of the merchant class
    • 2. Catholics and Jews also enjoyed religious toleration but had fewer rights.
    • 3. Religious toleration enabled the Netherlands to foster a cosmopolitan society that promoted trade
  • Stable, thriving economy.
  • “Golden Age” of artists and thinkers.
    • Religion and everyday life were recurring themes in their art.




Dutch Society

  • Amsterdam, Rotterdam: granaries with enough surplus for one year.
  • Generally higher salaries than in any other parts of W. Europe.
    • Even women had higher wages.
  • “Protestant work ethic.”
    • Thrift and frugality.
  • Had the highest standard of living in Europe!

Beware of Luxury – Jan Steen

“Genre” Painting


The Dutch Economy

  • **Fishing was the cornerstone of the Dutch economy
    • Major industries included textiles, furniture, fine woolen goods, sugar refining, tobacco cutting, brewing, pottery, glass, printing, paper making, weapons manufacturing and ship building
  • Not much inflation.
    • Offered far lower interest rates than English banks; this was the major reason for its banking dominance
  • Masters of the “carrying trade” (lowest shipping rates in Europe).
    • Did not have government controls and monopolies that interfered with free enterprise
dutch east india company
Dutch East India Company
  • Dutch East India Company and Dutch West India Company organized as cooperative ventures of private enterprise and the state
  • a. DEIC challenged the Portuguese in East including South Africa, Sri Lanka, and parts of Indonesia.
  • b. DWIC traded extensively with Latin American and Africa

Amsterdam Stock Market (Bourse)Emmanuel De Witte, 1653

Jewish refugees helped found it in 1602.



English Delftware


New Amsterdam (NYC)

Settled in 1624.

Official Flag of the NYC Seal of the City of NY.


New Amsterdam (NYC)

Early 20c Dutch Revival Building in NYC.





The Dutch Federation


- provincial level

- held virtually all the power

- strong advocates of local independence


- States General representative from each province

- responsible for defense and order


- federal assembly

- foreign affairs (war)

- all issues had to be referred to the local Estates

foreign policy
Foreign policy
  • 1. Dutch participation against the Hapsburgs in the Thirty Years’ War led to its recognition as an independent country, free from Spanish influence
  • 2. War with England and France in the 1670s damaged the United Provinces
  •  Dikes in Holland were opened in 1672 and much of the region was flooded in order to prevent the French army from taking Amsterdam.
  • 3. By the end of the War of Spanish Succession in 1713, the Dutch Republic saw a significant economic decline
  •  Britain and France were now the two dominant powers in the Atlantic trade.

The Spanish Hapsburgs & Europe(1556)

Philip II consolidated Hapsburg landsat the end of the 16c.


The Spanish Netherlands:Union of Utrecht, 1579

The United Provinces still recognized Spanish rule, but, in 1581, they declared their independence.


Anglo-Dutch Wars

  • First Anglo-Dutch War: 1660-1665
  • Second Anglo-Dutch War: 1665-1667
  • Third Anglo-Dutch War: 1674-1678

King William III Queen Mary II ascend the throne of England in 1689 after the Glorious Revolution.