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Netherland Government - History

Netherland Government - History


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NETHERLANDS

The monarch is the titular head of state. The Council of Ministers plans and implements government policy. The Monarch and the Council of Ministers together are called the Crown. Most ministers also head government ministries. Unlike the British system, Dutch ministers cannot simultaneously be members of parliament.

States General (Parliament). The Dutch parliament consists of two houses, the First Chamber and the Second Chamber. The judiciary comprises 62 cantonal courts, 19 district courts, five courts of appeal, and a Supreme Court which has 24 justices.

CURRENT GOVERNMENT
QueenBeatrix,
Prime Minister & Min. of General AffairsBalkenende, Jan Peter
Dep. Prime Min.Remkes, Johan
Dep. Prime Min.de Boer, Roelf
Min. of Agriculture, Nature Management, & FisheriesVeerman, Cees
Min. of DefenseKamp, Henk
Min. of Economic AffairsHoogervorst, Hans
Min. of Education, Culture, & Sciencevan der Hoeven, Maria
Min. of FinanceHoogervorst, Hans
Min. of Foreign Affairsde Hoop Scheffer, Jaap
Min. of Health, Welfare, & Sportde Geus, Aart Jan
Min. of Housing, Spatial Planning, & EnvironmentKamp, Henk
Min. of Immigration & IntegrationNawijn, Hilbrand
Min. of the Interior and Kingdom RelationsRemkes, Johan
Min. of JusticeDonner, Piet Hein
Min. of Social Affairs & Employmentde Geus, Aart Jan
Min. of Transport, Public Works, & Water Managementde Boer, Rolf
State Sec. for Agriculture, Nature Management, & FisheriesOdink, Jan
State Sec. for Education, Culture, & ScienceVan Leeuwen, Cees
State Sec. for Defensevan der Knapp, Cees
State Sec. for Economic AffairsWijn, Joop
State Sec. for Education, Culture, & ScienceNijs, Annette
State Sec. for Health, Welfare, & SportRoss-van Dorp, Clemence
State Sec. for Financevan Eijck, Steven
State Sec. for Foreign Affairs (Development Cooperation)van Ardenne, Agnes
State Sec. for Foreign Affairs (European Affairs)Nicolai, Atzo
State Sec. for the Interior & Kingdom RelationsHessing, Rob
State Sec. for Social Affairs & EmploymentRutte, Mark
State Sec. for Social Affairs & Employment (Emancipation & Family Policy)Phoa, Khee Liang
State Sec. for Housing, Spatial Planning, & the Environmentvan Geel, Pieter
State Sec. for Transport, Public Works, & Water ManagementSchultz van Haegen, Melanie
Chief of the Defense StaffKroon, Luuk, VAdm.
President, The Netherlands Central BankWellink, Nout
Ambassador to the USvan Eenennaam, Boudewijn
Permanent Representative to the UN, New Yorkvan den Berg, Dirk Jan


The parliament consists of two chambers. The Lower House (Dutch: Tweede Kamer, or Second Chamber) is elected every four years in a direct national elections together with the provincial parliaments. It consists of 150 members. Only the political parties can take part in the elections. The lower chamber approves the budget and has the right of the legal initiative, the right of submitting amendments, the right to start its own inquires and the right of interpellation. The members of the provincial parliaments vote for the less important Senate (Dutch: Eerste Kamer, or First Chamber) consisting of 75 members who approve or reject all laws of the Netherlands without the right of amendment. Together, the First and Second Chamber constitute The Estates-General (Dutch: Staten Generaal, established 1593). In fact, Dutch political system gives a lot of freedom to the government, as long as it has support of the parliament.

King Willem-Alexander van Oranje-Nassau is the nominal head of state of the Netherlands. The King has several mostly representative functions. He nominates all the mayors in the Netherlands as well as the politician who forms the government after the general elections. The monarch also signs all the laws approved by the parliament.


Information from the Government of The Netherlands

Foreign tourists traveling from safe countries with a low COVID-19 risk are welcome in the Netherlands.

Testing for coronavirus

If you have symptoms such as a cold, cough, fever or sudden loss of smell or taste, you can get tested to see if you are infected with coronavirus.

New minimum wage

© Hollandse Hoogte

The government adjusts the amount of the minimum wage twice a year. As of 1 July 2021 there is a new minimum wage.

Netherlands to take big step in relaxing measures: almost everything allowed with 1.5-metre distancing

The vaccination drive in the Netherlands has picked up speed. Well over 13 million vaccine doses have been administered. Almost 5 .

‘It’s truly unacceptable that half of the world’s 160 million child labourers are very young’

According to studies by UNICEF and the International Labour Organisation (ILO), 160 million children worldwide are in child .

Mandatory quarantine for travellers from more countries with Delta coronavirus variant

On the advice of the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), the Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport .

Tackling child labour in India: lessons from business

Niels van den Beucken is financial director at Arte, a Dutch company that sells sustainable granite kitchen worktops. When he .

Historic funerary vase returned to Italy

Today the Netherlands is returning a historic funerary vase to Italy. The vase, which is part of the Dutch national collection, .

Restricting financial flows in the event of subversion of the rule of law

In order to counter undesirable (foreign) influence and subversion of our Dutch freedoms, democracy and legal order, the Minister .


Economical growth in the Middle Ages

After the fall of the Charlemagne Empire (he died in 814) the Low Countries territory has been divided into several smaller states &ndash ruled by dukes and counts. At the same time, already in the Middle Ages, a strong economical development made the Netherlands one of the richest areas in Europe. Agriculture along with crafts and commerce, rich towns and important trading links reaching as far as Asia and North Africa, transformed the Netherlands into the area where the feudal power has been limited, safety of movement and economical activity established, sustained growth possible.


Netherlands Government, History, Population & Geography

Environment—current issues: water pollution in the form of heavy metals, organic compounds, and nutrients such as nitrates and phosphates air pollution from vehicles and refining activities acid rain

Environment—international agreements:
party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulphur 85, Air Pollution-Sulphur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Biodiversity

Geography—note: located at mouths of three major European rivers (Rhine, Maas or Meuse, and Schelde)

Population: 15,731,112 (July 1998 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 18% (male 1,472,236 female 1,406,919)
15-64 years: 68% (male 5,457,225 female 5,268,376)
65 years and over: 14% (male 862,574 female 1,263,782) (July 1998 est.)

Population growth rate: 0.5% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: 11.62 births/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate: 8.69 deaths/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Net migration rate: 2.11 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.68 male(s)/female (1998 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 5.17 deaths/1,000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 78.01 years
male: 75.14 years
female: 81.03 years (1998 est.)

Total fertility rate: 1.49 children born/woman (1998 est.)

Nationality:
noun: Dutchman(men), Dutchwoman(women)
adjective: Dutch

Ethnic groups: Dutch 96%, Moroccans, Turks, and other 4% (1988)

Religions: Roman Catholic 34%, Protestant 25%, Muslim 3%, other 2%, unaffiliated 36% (1991)

Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99% (1979 est.)
male: NA%
female: NA%

Country name:
conventional long form: Kingdom of the Netherlands
conventional short form: Netherlands
local long form: Koninkrijk der Nederlanden
local short form: Nederland

Government type: constitutional monarchy

National capital: Amsterdam The Hague is the seat of government

Administrative divisions: 12 provinces (provincien, singular—provincie) Drenthe, Flevoland, Friesland, Gelderland, Groningen, Limburg, Noord-Brabant, Noord-Holland, Overijssel, Utrecht, Zeeland, Zuid-Holland

Dependent areas: Aruba, Netherlands Antilles

Independence: 1579 (from Spain)

National holiday: Queen's Day, 30 April

Constitution: adopted 1814 amended many times, last time 17 February 1983

Legal system: civil law system incorporating French penal theory constitution does not permit judicial review of acts of the States General accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations

Suffrage: 18 years of age universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: Queen BEATRIX Wilhelmina Armgard (since 30 April 1980) Heir Apparent WILLEM-ALEXANDER (born 27 April 1967), Prince of Orange, son of Queen BEATRIX
head of government: Prime Minister Wim KOK (since 22 August 1994) and Vice Prime Ministers Hans DIJKSTAL (since 22 August 1994) and Hans VAN MIERLO (since 22 August 1994)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the queen
elections: none the queen is a hereditary, constitutional monarch following Second Chamber elections, the leader of the majority party or leader of a majority coalition is usually appointed prime minister by the queen vice prime ministers appointed by the queen
note: there is a Council of State composed of the queen, crown prince, and councillors consulted by the executive on legislative and administrative policy

Legislative branch: bicameral States General or Staten Generaal consists of the First Chamber or Eerste Kamer (75 seats members indirectly elected by the country's 12 provincial councils for four-year terms) and the Second Chamber or Tweede Kamer (150 seats members directly elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: First Chamber—last held 9 June 1995 (next to be held 9 June 1999) Second Chamber—last held 3 May 1994 (next to be held 6 May 1998)
election results: First Chamber—percent of vote by party—NA seats by party—VVD 23, CDA 19, PvdA 14, D'66 7, other 12 Second Chamber—percent of vote by party—PvdA 24.3%, CDA 22.3%, VVD 20.4%, D'66 16.5%, other 16.5% seats by party—PvdA 37, CDA 34, VVD 31, D'66 24, other 24

Judicial branch: Supreme Court or Hoge Raad, justices are nominated for life by the crown

Political parties and leaders: Christian Democratic Appeal or CDA [Jaap DE HOOP SCHEFFER] Labor Party or PvdA [Wim KOK] People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (Liberal) or VVD [Hans F. DIJKSTAL] Democrats '66 or D'66 [Els BORST] a host of minor parties

Political pressure groups and leaders: large multinational firms Federation of Netherlands Trade Union Movement (comprising Socialist and Catholic trade unions) and a Protestant trade union Federation of Catholic and Protestant Employers Associations the nondenominational Federation of Netherlands Enterprises and Interchurch Peace Council or IKV

International organization participation: AfDB, AG (observer), AsDB, Australia Group, Benelux, BIS, CCC, CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, ECE, ECLAC, EIB, ESA, ESCAP, EU, FAO, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, MTCR, NAM (guest), NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OSCE, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNMIBH, UNTSO, UNU, UPU, WCL, WEU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO, ZC

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Joris M. VOS (appointed 9 October 1997)
chancery: 4200 Linnean Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 244-5300
FAX: [1] (202) 362-3430
consulate(s) general: Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Kirk Terry DORNBUSH
embassy: Lange Voorhout 102, 2514 EJ, The Hague
mailing address: PSC 71, Box 1000, APO AE 09715
telephone: [31] (70) 310-9209
FAX: [31] (70) 361-4688
consulate(s) general: Amsterdam

Flag description: three equal horizontal bands of red (top), white, and blue similar to the flag of Luxembourg, which uses a lighter blue and is longer

Economy—overview: This highly developed and affluent economy is based on private enterprise. The government makes its presence felt, however, through many regulations, permit requirements, and welfare programs affecting most aspects of economic activity. Industrial activity features food-processing, oil-refining, and metalworking. The highly mechanized agricultural sector employs only 2% of the labor force but provides large surpluses for export and the domestic food-processing industry. Indeed, the Netherlands ranks third worldwide in value of agricultural exports, behind the US and France. Sharp cuts in subsidy and social security spending have been accompanied by sustained growth in output and employment. Growth in 1998 should be a brisk 3.5%. The Dutch will almost certainly qualify for the first wave of countries entering the European Monetary Union (EMU) in 1999.

GDP: purchasing power parity—$343.9 billion (1997 est.)

GDP—real growth rate: 3.25% (1997)

GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$22,000 (1997 est.)

GDP—composition by sector:
agriculture: 4%
industry: 18%
services: 78% (1996)

Inflation rate—consumer price index: 2% (1997)

Labor force:
total: 6.6 million (1997)
by occupation: services 75%, manufacturing and construction 23%, agriculture 2% (1996)

Unemployment rate: 6.9% (1997)

Budget:
revenues: $103.4 billion
expenditures: $112.5 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (1998 draft)

Industries: agroindustries, metal and engineering products, electrical machinery and equipment, chemicals, petroleum, fishing, construction, microelectronics

Industrial production growth rate: 3.75% (1997)

Electricity—capacity: 20.09 million kW (1996 est.)

Electricity—production: 82 billion kWh (1996 est.)

Electricity—consumption per capita: 4,968 kWh (1996 est.)

Agriculture—products: grains, potatoes, sugar beets, fruits, vegetables livestock

Exports:
total value: $203.1 billion (f.o.b., 1997)
commodities: manufactures and machinery, chemicals processed food and tobacco, agricultural products
partners: EU 80% (Germany 29%, Belgium-Luxembourg 13%, UK 10%), Central and Eastern Europe 4%, US 3% (1996)

Imports:
total value: $1.791 trillion (c.i.f., 1997)
commodities: raw materials and semifinished products, consumer goods, transportation equipment, crude oil, food products
partners: EU 64% (Germany 22%, Belgium-Luxembourg 11%, UK 10%), Central and Eastern Europe 4%, US 8% (1996)

Economic aid:
donor: ODA, $2.9 billion (1997)

Currency: 1 Netherlands guilder, gulden, or florin (f.) = 100 cents

Exchange rates: Netherlands guilders, gulden, or florins (f.) per US$1ר.0462 (January 1998), 1.9513 (1997), 1.6859 (1996), 1.6057 (1995), 1.8200 (1994), 1.8573 (1993)

Fiscal year: calendar year

Telephones: 8.272 million (1983 est.)

Telephone system: highly developed and well maintained extensive redundant system of multiconductor cables, supplemented by microwave radio relay
domestic: nationwide cellular telephone system microwave radio relay
international: 5 submarine cables satellite earth stationsש Intelsat (1 Indian Ocean and 2 Atlantic Ocean), 1 Eutelsat, and 1 Inmarsat (Atlantic and Indian Ocean Regions)

Radio broadcast stations: AM 3 (relays 3), FM 12 (repeaters 39), shortwave 0

Radios: 13.755 million (1992 est.)

Television broadcast stations: 8 (repeaters 7)

Televisions: 7.4 million (1992 est.)

Railways:
total: 2,739 km
standard gauge: 2,739 km 1.435-m gauge (1,991 km electrified) (1996)

Highways:
total: 127,000 km
paved: 114,427 km (including 2,360 km of expressways)
unpaved: 12,573 km (1996 est.)

Waterways: 6,340 km, of which 35% is usable by craft of 1,000 metric ton capacity or larger

Pipelines: crude oil 418 km petroleum products 965 km natural gas 10,230 km

Ports and harbors: Amsterdam, Delfzijl, Dordrecht, Eemshaven, Groningen, Haarlem, Ijmuiden, Maastricht, Rotterdam, Terneuzen, Utrecht

Merchant marine:
total: 453 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 3,141,630 GRT/3,597,975 DWT
ships by type : bulk 2, cargo 269, chemical tanker 33, combination bulk 2, container 44, liquefied gas tanker 16, livestock carrier 1, multifunction large-load carrier 7, oil tanker 28, passenger 6, refrigerated cargo 28, roll-on/roll-off cargo 11, short-sea passenger 3, specialized tanker 3
note: many Dutch-owned ships are also operating under the registry of Netherlands Antilles (1997 est.)

Airports: 28 (1997 est.)

Airports—with paved runways:
total: 19
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 8
1,524 to 2,437 m: 5
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 1 (1997 est.)

Airports—with unpaved runways:
total: 9
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 6 (1997 est.)

Heliports: 1 (1997 est.)

Military branches: Royal Netherlands Army, Royal Netherlands Navy (includes Naval Air Service and Marine Corps), Royal Netherlands Air Force, Royal Constabulary

Military manpower—military age: 20 years of age

Military manpower—availability:
males age 15-49: 4,136,224 (1998 est.)

Military manpower—fit for military service:
males: 3,617,322 (1998 est.)

Military manpower—reaching military age annually:
males: 94,734 (1998 est.)

Military expenditures—dollar figure: $8.2 billion (1995)

Military expenditures—percent of GDP: 2.1% (1995)

Disputes—international: none

Illicit drugs: important gateway for cocaine, heroin, and hashish entering Europe European producer of illicit amphetamines and other synthetic drugs


A Brief Outline of the History of New Netherland

Although most Americans are familiar with the basic outline of the British colonization of America, and know some information on the Spanish and French settlements, there is less familiarity with the history of another new world settler, namely the Dutch. The following summary is presented as an introduction to clarify and amplify statements in the following sections on the development and use of coin substitutes in New Netherland.

The Dutch in America: From Discovery to the First Settlement, 1609-1621

In 1602 the States General of the United Provinces, known as the Netherlands, chartered the United East India Company (the Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie, called the VOC) with the mission of exploring for a passage to the Indies and claiming any [unchartered?] territories for the United Provinces. On September 3, 1609, the English explorer Henry Hudson, on behalf of the United East India Company, entered the area now known as New York in an attempt to find a northwest passage to the Indies. He searched every costal inlet and on September 12th took his ship, the Halve Maen (Half Moon), up the river which now bears his name, as far as Albany and claimed the land for his employer. Although no passage was discovered the area turned out to be one of the best fur-trading regions in North America.

As early as 1611 the Dutch merchant Arnout Vogels set sail in the ship St. Pieter for what was probably the first Dutch trading expedition to the Hudson Bay. This secretive mission was so successful in 1612 Vogels chartered the ship Fortuyn which made two, back-to-back trips to the area. The initial trip of the Fortuyn was under the command of Captain Adriaen Block. Two months before the Fortuyn returned on her second trip, Adriaen Block landed in Hudson Bay in a different ship. Block did not try to keep his activities a secret. He traded liquor, cloth, firearms and trinkets for beaver and otter pelts however, before he could leave the Hudson for an early spring crossing to Amsterdam he saw the arrival of another Dutch ship, the Jonge Tobias, under the command of Thijs Volckertsz Mossel. Competition to exploit the newly discovered land was underway.

On October 11, 1614, merchants from the cities of Amsterdam and Hoorn formed The New Netherland Company receiving a three-year monopoly for fur trading in the newly discovered region from the States General of the United Provinces. In 1615 the company erected Fort Orange on Castle Island near Albany and began trading with the Indians for furs. Although merchants came to New Netherland for business purposes, the area was not colonized and at the end of the three-year period the company's monopoly was not renewed. At that point the land was opened to all Dutch traders. Eventually the States General decided to grant a monopoly to a company that would colonize the area. There was a need to have a permanent political presence in their colonies in New Netherland, Brazil and Africa against the possibility of an English, French or Spanish challenge.

The Dutch West India Company and Colonization

In 1621 the newly incorporated Dutch West India Company (the Westindische Compagnie or WIC) obtained a twenty-four-year trading monopoly in America and Africa and sought to have the New Netherland area formally recognized as a province. Once provincial status was granted in June of 1623 the company began organizing the first permanent Dutch settlement in New Netherland. On March 29, 1624 the ship, Nieu Nederlandt (New Netherland) departed with the first wave of settlers, consisting not of Dutch but rather of thirty Flemish Walloon families. The families were spread out over the entire territory claimed by the company. To the north a few families were left at the mouth of the Connecticut River, while to the south some families were settled at Burlington Island on the Delaware River. Others were left on Nut Island, now called Governor's Island, at the mouth of the Hudson River, while the remaining families were taken up the Hudson to Fort Orange (Albany). Later in 1624 and through 1625 six additional ships sailed for New Netherland with colonists, livestock and supplies.

It soon became clear the northern and southern outposts were untenable and had to be abandoned. Also, due to a war between the Mohawk and Mahican tribes in 1625, the women and children at Fort Orange were forced to move to safety. At this point, in the spring of 1626, the Director General of the company, Peter Minuit, came to the province. Possibly motivated to erect a safe haven for the families forced to leave Fort Orange, at some point between May 4 and June 26, 1626, Minuit purchased the island of Manhattan from the Indians for some 60 guilders worth of trinkets. He immediately started the construction of Fort New Amsterdam under the direction of the company engineer Cryn Fredericksz.

Because of the dangers and hardships of life in the new land some colonists decided to return to the homeland in 1628. By 1630 the total population of New Netherland was about 300, many being French-speaking Walloons. It is estimated about 270 lived in the area surrounding Fort Amsterdam, primarily working as farmers, while about 30 were at Fort Orange, the center of the Hudson valley fur trade with the Mohawks.

New Netherland was a company-owned and -operated business, run on a for profit basis by the directors of the West India Company. The intent of the firm was to make a profit for the investors who had purchased shares in the company. WIC paid skilled individuals, as doctors and craftsmen, to move to New Netherland and also sent over and paid soldiers for military protection of the settlements the company also built forts and continually sent over provisions for the settlers. All the New Netherland positions one would usually consider government or public service jobs were, in fact, company jobs held by WIC employees. Laws were made by the company-appointed Director General in the province with the consent of the company directors in Amsterdam even the New Netherland provincial treasury was actually the company treasury. All taxes, fines and trading profits went to the company and the company paid the bills. Basically the company profit was whatever was left after expenses had been paid (it should be noted expenses included ample salaries for the Amsterdam directors). WIC soon discovered the expenses associated with establishing and expanding a new colony were considerable. In order to increase their profit margin the company sought to find what might be thought of as subcontractors. The first attempt at partnerships was the Patroonship plan.

The Patroonship plan was first conceived in 1628 as a way to attract more settlers without increasing company expenses. Under the plan a Patroon would be granted a large tract of land and given the rights to the land as well as legal rights to settle all non-capital cases, quite similar to a manorial lord. In return the Patroon would agree to bring over settlers and colonize the land at his own expense. No one accepted a Patroonship under these conditions because the lucrative fur and fishing trades were left as a monopoly of the company. One of the most prominent Amsterdam merchants and a principle shareholder in the Dutch West India Company, Kiliaen van Rensselear, had the plan modified. In the revised plan issued on June 7, 1629, the terms were much more favorable: colonization requirements were less stringent, the allocation of land to the Patroon was larger and there were broad jurisdictional rights over the colonists. Additionally Patroons were allowed to trade with New England and Virginia and, most importantly, they were allowed to engage in both the fur trade, subject to a company tax of one guilder per pelt, and could participate in the fish trade. In 1630, with the more favorable terms in place, Kiliaen van Rensselear became Patroon to the largest and most lucrative fur trading area in New Netherland, that is, the area along the Hudson River near Fort Orange, which he named the colony of Rensselaerswyck.

Under the Patroonship plan New Netherland continued to expand with more colonists and settlements taking hold. The nerve center of New Netherland was along the Hudson River from New Amsterdam (New York City) northwest to Fort Orange (Albany). The colony of Rensselaerswyck (encompassing the western area beyond the Esopus and up to but not including Beverwyck and Fort Orange) and adjacent areas was the center of the fur trade, while New Amsterdam was the shipping hub for Dutch traders. The northern border of New Netherland was not well defined but was taken to be the Connecticut River, which they called the Fresh River. Based on this border the Dutch felt they had a claim to New Haven and southern Connecticut this was clarified at a convention in Hartford in September of 1650 limiting the Dutch to the territory west of Greenwich Bay (similar to the present day border NY-CT border). To the south, New Netherland took all of New Jersey, establishing Fort Nassau in 1626 near the southern end of New Jersey (at Gloucester, New Jersey) along the Delaware River, which they called the South River. They also established a whaling village on the southern shore of Delaware Bay called Swanendael (Valley of the Swans) near what is now Lewes, Delaware although the village was soon destroyed in an Indian raid. The Dutch also constructed Fort Beversrede in 1648 on the Schuylkill River (at Philadelphia) and Fort Casimir in 1651 (at Newcastle, Delaware) to defend their territory against the Swedes and Finns of the Swedish West India Company in Delaware. In 1655 New Netherland defeated New Sweden and occupied the Swedish stronghold, Fort Christiana (Wilmington).

Merchants

New Netherland settlers did not come to America because of religious or political persecution, nor were they destitute. They came with the hope of making money. The majority were single males, primarily tradesmen or farmers. The West India Company negotiated to bring these people over because the company felt they would be useful in building an economy that would turn a profit for the company. Also, these individuals felt this was an opportunity whereby they could make their fortune. The West India Company provided cattle, horses, provisions and land to farmers. The farmers repaid the company as soon as possible and after ten years were to give the company one-tenth of their crops (Jogues, Narratives, p. 260). For craftsmen, a salary was negotiated and housing arrangements were made, in effect making the individuals company employees. Many colonists started in one profession and either diversified or moved into other more profitable ventures as opportunities presented themselves.

Contemporary chronicles noted this entrepreneurial spirit among the colonists. In Father Isaac Jogues's account of his 1643 visit he stated:

In order to tap this resource of entrepreneurship and thereby increase the revenue from the New Netherland settlement, in 1638 the West India Company abandoned its trading monopoly. The company felt it could share the expenses and risks associated with trade by opening up the area to other merchants and collecting fees from them. With the passage of the Articles and Conditions in 1638 and the Freedoms and Exemptions in 1640 the company allowed merchants of all friendly nations to trade in the area, subject to a 10% import duty, a 15% export duty and the restriction that all merchants had to hire West India Company ships to carry their merchandise. Of course the West India Company continued in the fur trade.

Some of the first individuals to take advantage of this situation were WIC employees who left the company to act as agents for large Dutch merchant firms and also trade on their own, such as Govert Loockermans and Augustine Heermans. Loockermans was a WIC employee from 1633-1639, when he left the company to become the local agent for both the powerful Verbrugge family and for himself. He was suspected of smuggling on several occasions and incurred several fines and eventually the disapproval of the Verbrugge firm. Heermans first came to New Netherlands in 1633 as a company surveyor in the Delaware region. In 1643 he moved to New Amsterdam, where he acted as an agent for the Dutch firm of Gabry and Company and also worked for himself in the fur and tobacco trade. Other WIC employees such as Oloff Stevenson van Cortlandt, who had come over in 1637 as a WIC soldier, rose within the company. He was awarded the job of Commissary, supervising the arrival and storage of provisions. In this position he made numerous business contacts and joined in various trading ventures. He was able to acquire several properties within the city of New Amsterdam and by 1648 owned and operated a brewery. Another of these early independent merchants was Arnoldus van Hardenburg, from an Amsterdam merchant family, who came over to make his fortune. Some English colonists also took advantage of the new trading privileges. Isaac Allerton, an original Plymouth settler, who became a founder of Marblehead, Massachusetts, went to New Amsterdam as did Thomas Willet of Plymouth. Allerton was known as an unscrupulous individual who overcharged customers and manipulated his account books. Willet sometimes worked with Allerton and was of the same demeanor, he was once accused of bribing an inspection official to look the other way while he imported contraband items. Another Englishman, Thomas Hall, had independently moved into the Delaware valley where the Dutch discovered him in 1635 and took him to New Amsterdam as a prisoner. Hall seems to have been released fairly quickly and in 1639 went into partnership with another Englishman, George Holmes, in the acquisition of a tobacco plantation, leading to a career as a tobacco grower and wholesaler (see, Maika, pp. 40-59).

A significant difference between these New Netherland merchants and the merchants in the British colonies, such as the Hancocks of Boston, was that the New Netherland merchants primarily worked at the local level and never controlled the foreign trade. They did trade on their own when it was possible but more frequently they were employed as agents or suppliers for the major Dutch trading firms. Oliver Rink has identified four firms that controlled more than 50% of the New Netherland to Holland trade during the period from 1640 throughout the Dutch era. These four firms were the merchant houses of Kiliaen van Rensselaer, Gilles and Seth Verbrugge, Dirck and Abel de Wolff and Gillis van Hoornbeeck. These four companies worked together to control most of the profits from the New Netherland trade. In the more prosperous years when there was no threat of war, other Dutch merchants, such as Gabry and Company, entered the market, but none kept up the sustained business of these four firms.

Kiliaen van Rensselaer was a jeweler, who became a principle shareholder in the West India Company and was twice elected as one of the company's directors. His jewelry company merged with the firm of Jan van Wely, one of the most prominent Amsterdam jewelers. After the death of his first wife Kiliaen remarried van Wely's daughter and obtained access to the vast van Wely fortune. In 1629 after taking on the Patroonship of Rensselaerswyck he took part in several New Netherland trading ventures. Kiliaen remained in Amsterdam using local New Netherland merchants as his agents and conducting joint ventures with the Verbrugge and de Wolff families. Also, some family members move to New Netherland to administer the Patroonship. After Kiliaen's death in 1643 other family members continued the trade. [ One of his sons became a naturalized New Netherland citizen and continued to prosper during the British period. ?]

Gilles and his son Seth Verbrugge were involved in at least 27 voyages to New Netherland and at least 14 to Virginia, and additionally cosponsored voyages in partnership with English merchants who had dual citizenship in Virginia and New Netherland.

Dirck de Wolff was twice elected as a member of the board of directors for the Broker's Guild in Amsterdam and became supervisor of grain prices, setting the daily rates for wheat and rye as well as overseeing imports and exports. Dirck and his son Abel joined with Gerit Jansz Cuyper to trade in New Netherland. Cuyper had married Abel's sister Geertruyd and had previously worked in New Netherland for the Verbrugge family. Cuyper and his wife moved to New Amsterdam, shipping furs, lumber and tobacco to Abel who sold these products in Amsterdam.

Up to 1651 these Dutch merchants could also trade with New England and Virginia as well as New Netherland. However, once the British instituted the Navigation Acts of 1651, non-English ships were no longer allowed to transport goods from English ports. This forced the Verbrugge family to rely on English intermediaries for their Virginia trade, which they finally abandoned in 1656. The Verbrugge family owned their boats and therefore suffered financial losses due to the Navigation Acts. In 1662 they sold off most of their New Netherland assets, including land, warehouse space and ships. The de Wolff family had rented ship space rather than own their own ships and therefore were not as affected by the acts. Also, they were a more diversified operation with profits from the trading of Baltic grain, French wine and African slaves. The family continued to operate in America until about the mid 1670's, when they abandoned the market for the more profitable slave trade, although Dirck de Wolff's son-in-law, Gerit Cuyper, continued to trade in America until his death in 1679.

The fourth of major Dutch merchant families to predominate in New Netherland trade was the firm of Gillis van Hoornbeeck. He entered the market late, first trading in New Netherland in 1656. Van Hoornbeeck had worked closely with the Verbrugge family and was their largest creditor. In fact, he was the executor of the Verbrugge estate when Gilles and Seth both died in 1663. Van Hoornbeeck stepped in as the Verbrugges were leaving the New Netherland arena. During the ten year period from 1656-1666 his firm was second only to the Rensselears in volume of trade. Van Hoornbeeck continued to trade in America during the British period but found it prohibitively expensive. Rather than abandon the area he continued trading as a client of various English merchants. When Gillis van Hoornbeeck died in 1688 his family liquidated their American holdings and concentrated on the slave trade (see, Rink, Holland, pp. 172-213).

The result of this situation was that a few powerful Amsterdam merchants along with the West India Company controlled New Netherland trade. Oliver A. Rink has succinctly explained the situation as follows:

Demographics

Another important element in the New Netherland province that differed from the British colonies was demographics. It has been estimated that probably one half of the population was not Dutch. The size of the province has been estimated at between 2,000 to 3,500 in 1655 growing to a total of about 9,000 by 1664. A significant number of the inhabitants were Germans, Swedes and Finns that emigrated in the period after 1639 a number that was increased by 300 to 500 with the capture of New Sweden on September 24, 1655. The impact of these German and Scandinavian Lutheran immigrants was brought out in a controversy that arose because the Lutherans in Middleburg, Long Island were holding church services without an approved preacher. The New Amsterdam pastors brought this situation to the attention of the Director General, Pieter Stuyvesant, at the end of 1655, requesting the services be halted. The dispute dragged on for years until a resolution was formulated by the West India Company directors in Amsterdam. It was decided to permit the Lutherans the right to worship by slightly adjusting the catechism. In order not to offend the Lutherans, the Company bluntly stated the complaining New Amsterdam Calvinist pastors would be replaced by younger ministers who were more liberal, unless the dispute was put aside.

There were also about 2,000 English inhabitants in the area of New Netherland, primarily from New England, living on Long Island or in communities along the Connecticut border. The English obtained the Eastern portion of Long Island, (as far as the western end of Oyster Bay) in the border agreement reached at the Hartford Convention of 1650. In fact, five of the ten villages in the vicinity of New Amsterdam were English (namely, Newtown, Gravesend, Hempstead, Flushing and Jamaica, while Brooklyn, Flatlands, Flatbush, New Utrecht and Bushwick were Dutch). There were also a number of "half free" African slaves, who were required to make a fixed yearly payment to the company for their freedom. In September of 1654 a group of 23 Jews were brought to New Amsterdam from the colony in Brazil (which was called New Holland), where the Portuguese had just defeated the Dutch West India Company following an eight-year rebellion. In 1655, the same year charges were made against the Lutherans, the New Amsterdam preachers requested the province get rid of the Jews. This matter was brought to the company directors in Amsterdam, who recommended the Jews be segregated and allowed to practice their religion, but not be permitted to build a synagogue. In this case toleration was granted because some of the Dutch West India Company stockholders were Jewish merchants. In fact, in 1658 when one of these New Netherland Jews, named David de Ferrera, was given a overly harsh punishment for a minor offence, it took the intervention of an important Jewish stockholder in the company, Joseph d'Acosta, to have the punishment reduced.

A French Jesuit priest named Father Isaac Jogues visited New Netherland in 1643-1644. After returning to Canada Father Jogues wrote a brief description of New Netherland, completed on August 3, 1646. In his work the ethnic diversity of the island of Manhattan was described as follows:

British Claims and Conquest

As New Netherland prospered the British set their sights on the province, stating they had a claim to the land as part of John Cabot's discoveries. In May of 1498 the Genoese-born Cabot, working for Britain, had explored the coast of the new world from Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and New England down to Delaware. As this trip predated Hudson's voyage by over a century the British felt they had prior claim to the land.

In the mid-Seventeenth century the British and Dutch saw each other as direct competitors, consequently several times during this period they were at war. During the first Anglo-Dutch war of 1652-1654 Oliver Cromwell planned to attack New Netherland with the help of the New England colonists, but the plan was never carried out. Following that conflict the two nations continued to be trading rivals and were suspicious of each other. With the restoration of Charles II to the British throne in 1660 the United Netherlands feared an English attack, so in 1662 they made an alliance with the French against the English. In response to this alliance in March of 1664, Charles II formally annexed New Netherland as a British province and granted it to his brother James, Duke of York and Albany (later James II), as Lord Proprietor. The Duke sent a fleet under the command of Sir Richard Nicolls to seize the colony. On September 8, 1664, the Director General Pieter Stuyvesant surrendered Fort Amsterdam and on September 24, 1664, Fort Orange capitulated. Both the city of New Amsterdam and the entire colony were renamed New York, while Fort Amsterdam was renamed Fort James and Fort Orange became Fort Albany.

The loss of the New Netherland province led to a second Anglo-Dutch war during 1665-1667. This conflict ended with the Treaty of Breda in August of 1667 in which the Dutch gave up their claim to New Amsterdam in exchange for Surinam (just north of Brazil). Amazingly, within six months, on January 23, 1668, the Dutch made an alliance with Britain and Sweden against the French king Louis XIV, who was trying to capture the Spanish-held areas in the Netherlands. However, in May of 1670 Louis XIV made a secret alliance with Charles II (the Treaty of Dover) and in 1672 he made another separate treaty with Sweden. Then on March 17, 1673 Louis and Charles joined together in a war on the United Netherlands. During this war, on August 7, 1673, a force of 600 Dutch soldiers under Captain Anthony Colve entered the Hudson River. The next day they attacked Fort James and took the fort on August 9th. As the British governor, Francis Lovelace, was absent, the surrender was made by Captain John Manning. When Lovelace returned on Saturday August 12th, he was seized and put in jail. With the fall of the fort the Dutch had retaken New York. They then took control of Albany and New Jersey, changing the name of the area to New Orange in honor of William of Orange.

However these gains were temporary, as the lands were restored to the British at the end of the conflict by the Treaty of Westminster on February 9, 1674. The British governor, Major Edmund Andros, arrived in Manhattan on November 1st and gave the Dutch a week to leave. On November 10, the transfer was completed and Governor Colve and his soldiers marched out of the province. From that point the British controlled both the city and province of New York. Indeed, New York City remained the premier British military stronghold in America during the Revolutionary War and was not liberated until the British evacuation in 1783.

Reference

Oliver A. Rink, Holland on the Hudson: An Economic and Social History of Dutch New York, Ithaca, NY: Cornell, 1986 Dennis J. Maika, Commerce and Community: Manhattan Merchants in the Seventeenth Century, Ph.D. Dissertation, New York University, 1995 John Franklin Jameson, Narratives of New Netherland, 1609-1664, New York: Scribner, 1909.

Special thanks to Nancy Curran for proofreading this text and suggesting numerous improvements.

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Contents

The monarchy of the Netherlands passes by right of succession to the heirs of William I. [Cons 1] The heir is determined through two mechanisms: absolute cognatic primogeniture and proximity of blood. The Netherlands established absolute cognatic primogeniture instead of male preference primogeniture by law in 1983. [ clarification needed ] Proximity of blood limits accession to the throne to a person who is related to the current monarch within three degrees of kinship. For example, the grandchildren of Princess Margriet of the Netherlands (sister of Princess Beatrix) have no succession rights because their kinship with Beatrix when she was queen was of the fourth degree (that is, Princess Beatrix is their parent's parent's parents' daughter). Also, succession is limited to legitimate heirs, precluding a claim to the throne by children born out of wedlock. [Cons 2] A special case arises if the king dies while his wife is pregnant: the unborn child is considered the heir at that point, unless stillborn – the child is then considered never to have existed. So, if the old king dies while his wife is pregnant with their first child, the unborn child is immediately considered born and immediately becomes the new king or queen. If the pregnancy ends in stillbirth, his or her reign is expunged (otherwise the existence of the stillborn king/queen would add a degree of separation for other family members to the throne and might suddenly exclude the next person in line for the throne). [Cons 3]

If the monarch is a minor, a regent is appointed and serves until the monarch comes of age. [Cons 4] [Cons 5] The regent is customarily the surviving parent of the monarch but the constitution stipulates that custody and parental authority of the minor monarch will be determined by law any person might be appointed as regent, as legal guardian or both. [Cons 6]

There are also a number of special cases within the constitution. First, if there is no heir when the monarch dies, the States-General may appoint a successor upon the suggestion of the government. This suggestion may be made before the death of the reigning monarch, even by the monarch himself (in case it is clear that the monarch will die without leaving an heir). [Cons 7] Second, some people are excluded from the line of succession. They are:

  • Any heir who marries without the permission of the States-General loses the right of succession. [Cons 8]
  • A person who is or has become truly undesirable or unfit as monarch can be removed from the line of succession by an act of the States-General, upon suggestion of the reigning monarch. [Cons 9] This clause has never been executed and is considered an "emergency exit". An example would be an heir apparent who commits treason or suffers a serious accident.

Accession Edit

As with most monarchies, the Netherlands cannot be without a monarch – the constitution of the Netherlands does not recognize a situation in which there is no monarch. This is because there must be a head of state in order for the government to function, i.e. there must be someone who carries out the tasks of the constitutional role of the King/Queen. For this reason the new monarch assumes the role the moment the previous monarch ceases to hold the throne. The only exception is if there is no heir at all, in which case the Council of State assumes the role of the monarch pending the appointment of a monarch or regent. [Cons 10]

The monarch is expected to execute his duties and responsibilities for the good of the nation. The monarch must therefore swear to uphold the constitution and execute the office faithfully. The monarch must be sworn in as soon as possible after assuming the throne during a joint session of the States-General held in Amsterdam. Article 32 of the Dutch constitution describes a swearing-in in "the capital Amsterdam", which incidentally is the only phrase in the constitution that names Amsterdam as the capital of the Kingdom. [Cons 11] The ceremony is called the inauguration (inhuldiging).

The Dutch monarch is not crowned the monarch's swearing of the oath constitutes acceptance of the throne. Also note that this ceremony does not equal accession to the throne as this would imply a vacancy of the throne between monarchs which is not allowed. The monarch ascends immediately after the previous monarch ceases to reign. The swearing-in only constitutes acceptance in public.

End of a reign Edit

The monarch's reign can end in two ways:

Death (William II, William III) Abdication The monarch willingly steps down. (William I, Wilhelmina, Juliana, Beatrix)

Both these events cause the regular mechanisms of succession to go into effect. [Cons 12] While the constitution mentions neither possibility explicitly, it does describe what happens after the monarch dies or abdicates. Abdication is a prerogative of the monarch, but it is also irreversible—the person abdicating cannot return to the throne, nor can a child born to a former monarch after an abdication has occurred have a claim to the throne. [Cons 12]

The abdicated monarch is legally a Prince or Princess of the Netherlands as well as Prince or Princess of Orange-Nassau. After his or her death, legally the deceased monarch (abdicated or not) has no titles. However, after death, the abdicated monarch is traditionally referred to as king or queen again. For example, Queen Juliana became queen on 4 September 1948 and princess again on 30 April 1980 following her abdication, but has been referred to as Queen Juliana since her death on 20 March 2004.

Temporary loss of royal authority Edit

There are two ways in which the monarch, without ceasing to be monarch, can be stripped of his or her royal authority:

Voluntary suspension of royal authority The monarch temporarily ceases execution of his or her office. Removal from royal authority The government strips the monarch of his or her royal authority, as he or she is deemed unfit for their tasks.

These cases are both temporary (even if the monarch dies while not executing his office it still counts as temporary) and are described in detail in the constitution. A monarch can temporarily cease to reign for any reason. This can be at his own request or because the Council of Ministers deems the monarch unfit for office. [Cons 13] [Cons 14] Although there can be any reason for the monarch to cede royal authority or be removed from it, both monarch and council are deemed to act responsibly and not leave the execution of the office vacant unnecessarily. Both cases are intended to deal with emergency situations such as physical or mental inability to execute the office of monarch.

In both cases an act of the joint States-General is needed to strip the monarch of authority. In the case of the monarch ceding royal authority, the required act is a law. In case of removal, it is a declaration by the States-General. Formally, both require the normal procedure for passing a new law in the Netherlands. [Cons 13] [Cons 14] The former case is signed into law by the monarch himself, the latter is not, so technically it is not a law (this is allowed explicitly in the constitution, since the monarch who is being stripped of his authority will probably not agree to signing the act of his removal, and—in the case of the States-General removing a monarch who has become unfit due to mental or physical incapacitation—may not be able to).

Since neither ceding nor removal is permanent, neither triggers succession. Instead the States-General appoint a regent. This must be the heir apparent if he or she is old enough. [Cons 5] In order for the monarch to resume his duties, a law (which is signed by the regent) must be passed to that effect. The monarch resumes the throne the moment the law of his return is made public. [Cons 13] [Cons 14]

Although the monarch has roles and duties in all parts of the government and in several important places in the rest of society, the primary role of the monarch is within the executive branch of the Dutch government: the monarch is part of the government of the Netherlands.

The role of the monarch within the government of the Netherlands is described in Article 42 of the constitution: [Cons 15]

This article is the basis of the full power and influence of the monarch and makes him beyond reproach before the law, but also limits his practical power, as he can take no responsibility for it.

The first paragraph of Article 42 determines that the government of the Netherlands consists of the monarch and his ministers. The monarch is according to this article not the head of government the ministers are not answerable to the monarch within the government. [Cons 16] [Cons 17] There is no distinction, no dichotomy, no segregation or separation: the monarch and his ministers are the government and the government is one. [ext 1]

This fact has practical consequences, in that it is not possible for the monarch and the ministers to be in disagreement. The government speaks with one voice and makes decisions as a united body. When the monarch acts in an executive capacity, he does so as representative of the united government. And when the government decides, the monarch is in agreement (even if the monarch personally disagrees). As an ultimate consequence of this, it is not possible for the monarch to refuse to sign into law a proposal of law that has been agreed to and signed by the responsible minister. Such a disagreement between the monarch and his minister is a situation not covered by the constitution and is automatically a constitutional crisis. [ext 1]

The second paragraph of the article, though, is what really renders the monarch powerless. This paragraph states that the monarch is inviolate. He is beyond any reproach, beyond the grasp of any prosecution (criminal or otherwise) for any acts committed or actions taken as monarch. If anything goes wrong, the minister responsible for the topic at hand is responsible for the failings of the monarch. This sounds like it makes the monarch an absolute tyrant, but in fact the opposite is true: since the ministers are responsible, they also have the authority to make the decisions. The ministers set the course of the government and the country, the ministers make executive decisions and run the affairs of state. And since the government is one, the monarch abides by the decision of the ministers. In fact the monarchs of the Netherlands rarely make any executive decisions at all and practically never speak in public on any subject other than to read a statement prepared by the Prime Minister (since an unfortunate off-the-cuff remark could get a minister into trouble). The practical consequence of this limit on the power of the monarch is that the monarch never makes a decision on his own. Every decision, every decree must be countersigned by the responsible minister(s). [ext 1]

Technically, the monarch has a lot of practical power. For instance, no proposal of law actually becomes a law until signed by the monarch – and there is no legal requirement for the monarch to sign. [Cons 18] In practice, the monarch will always give assent since most proposals of law are made by the government "by or on behalf of the King". [Cons 19] And while proposals of law must be approved by the States-General, a lot of the practical running of the country is done by royal decree (in Dutch: Koninklijk Besluit). These royal decrees are used for all sorts of things, ranging from appointments of civil servants and military officers to clarifications of how public policy is to be executed to filling in the details of certain laws. Royal decrees create ministries, [Cons 20] dissolve the houses of the States-General, [Cons 21] and appoint and fire ministers. [Cons 22]

However royal decrees are made by the responsible minister. And while the monarch must sign laws and royal decrees before they come into effect, the constitution determines that the responsible ministers and state secretaries must countersign. [Cons 23] That, given the fact that the ministers have the authority, really means that they decide and it is the monarch who countersigns (the minister asks the monarch for permission, that is, royal authority, and as upholder of the Constitution, the monarch signs first the minister is politically responsible for the Act and countersigns. This is an Act of the Crown: monarch and minister together). Even that is a formality. Also, while the monarch may technically propose laws ("by or on behalf of the King"), ministerial responsibility means that he never does. And even though the government may refuse to sign a States-General approved proposal into law, this is practically unheard of and the monarch refusing to sign on his own is even rarer (and would cause a constitutional crisis). [ext 2]

There is one special case in which the monarch has, if possible, even less power than normal: the appointment of his ministers. Ministers are appointed by royal decree, which have to be countersigned by the responsible minister. The royal decree to appoint a minister, however, is countersigned by two responsible ministers rather than one: the outgoing minister responsible for the ministry and the Prime Minister. [Cons 24]

Though the powers of the monarch of the Netherlands are limited, he or she does not have a ceremonial role. Relating to the formation of a new government after parliamentary elections. [ citation needed ] This power is not directed in the constitution. [ext 1]

After the parliamentary election there follows a period of time in which the leaders of the political parties in parliament seek to form a coalition of parties that can command a majority of the newly elected parliament. The current nationwide party-list system, combined with a low threshold for getting a seat (two-thirds of one percent of the vote), makes it all but impossible for one party to win an outright majority. Thus, the bargaining required to put together a governing coalition is as important as the election itself.

This process of negotiations, which can last anywhere from two to four months (more on occasion), is coordinated in the initial stages by one or more informateurs, whose duty it is to investigate and report upon viable coalitions. After a likely combination is found, a formateur is appointed to conduct the formal coalition negotiations and form a new Council of Ministers (of which the formateur himself usually becomes the Prime Minister). If the negotiations fail, the cycle starts over. The informateurs and formateur in question are all appointed to this task by the monarch. The monarch makes his own decision in this, based on advice from the leaders of the different parties in parliament, as well as other important figures (the speakers of the new parliament and the senate are among them). [ext 1]

There is usually some popular discussion in the Netherlands around the time of these negotiations about whether the authority of the monarch in this matter should not be limited and whether or not the newly elected parliament should not make the appointments that the monarch makes. These discussions usually turn (to varying degrees) on the argument that decision by a monarch is undemocratic and there is no parliamentary oversight over the decision and the monarch might make use of this to push for a government of his or her liking.

On the other hand, it is somewhat questionable that the monarch really has much opportunity here to exert any influence. The informateur is there to investigate possible coalitions and report on them. He could technically seek "favorable" coalitions, but the political parties involved are usually quite clear on what they want and do not want and the first choice for coalition almost always is the coalition of preference of the largest party in the new parliament. Besides, the monarchs and (particularly) the queens have traditionally known better than to appoint controversial informateurs, usually settling for well-established yet fairly neutral people in the political arena (the deputy chairman of the Dutch Council of State is a common choice). Once a potential coalition has been identified the monarch technically has a free rein in selecting a formateur. However, the formateur almost always become the next Prime Minister, and in any case it is a strong convention that a government must command the support of a majority of the House of Representatives in order to stay in office. These considerations mean that the selected formateur is always the party leader of the largest party in the potential coalition. [ext 1]

However, in March 2012 the States-General altered its own procedures, such that any subsequent government formation is done without the monarch's influence. [ext 3] No more than a month later, the government coalition collapsed, [ext 4] triggering early elections in September 2012. As no formal procedures had been outlined as to how a government formation without monarch should take place, it was initially feared the subsequent government formation would be chaotic. [ext 3] However, a new government coalition was formed within 54 days – surprisingly early for Dutch standards. [ext 5] Instead of the monarch, the Speaker of the House of Representatives appointed the informateur – whose function was renamed to 'scout'. [ext 6] After the negotiations, the installation ceremony of ministers – the only duty still left to the monarch – was held in public for the first time in history. [ext 7]

The one branch of government in which the monarch has no control over is the legislative branch, formed by the States-General of the Netherlands. This parliamentary body consists of two chambers, the House of Representatives (also commonly referred to as Parliament) and the Senate. [Cons 25]

As in most parliamentary democracies the States-General are dually responsible for overseeing the government in its executive duties as well as approving proposals of law before they can become as such. In this respect, it is vital for the government to maintain good relations with the States-General and technically the monarch shares in that effort (although the monarch never officially speaks to members of the States-General on policy matters due to ministerial responsibility). [ citation needed ]

Constitutionally, the monarch deals with the States-General in three areas: lawmaking, policy outlining at the opening of the parliamentary year and dissolution.

Of the three, policy outlining is the most straightforward. The parliamentary year is opened on the third Tuesday of September with a joint session of both houses. [Cons 26] At this occasion the monarch addresses the joint states in a speech in which he sets forth the outlines for his government's policies for the coming year (the speech itself is prepared by the ministers, their ministries and finally crafted and approved by the prime minister). This event is mandated by the constitution in Article 65. Tradition has made more of this occasion than a policy speech though, and the event known as Prinsjesdag has become a large affair with much pomp and circumstance, in which the States-General and other major bodies of government assemble in the Ridderzaal to hear the King deliver the speech from the throne after having arrived from the Noordeinde Palace in his golden carriage. Both in constitutional aspects and in ceremony the event has much in common with both the British State Opening of Parliament and the American State of the Union.

Lawmaking is the area in which the monarch has the most frequent involvement with the States-General (although he still has very little to do with it in practice). Laws in the Netherlands are primarily proposed by the government "by or on behalf of" the monarch (this phrase is repeated often in the constitution). [Cons 18] Technically, this means that the monarch may propose laws in person, hearkening back to the days of the first monarchs of the Netherlands when monarchs really could and did control this. However, this possibility is at odds with ministerial responsibility and modern monarchs have always avoided the issue by never proposing laws personally. The monarch must still sign proposals into law though, as historical deference to the fact that the law of the land is decreed by the monarch.

While the king has no practical involvement anymore in lawmaking other than a signature at the end, one might get a different impression from reading the communications between the government and the States-General regarding such affairs. All communication from the States-General to the government is addressed to the monarch and correspondence in the opposite direction formally from the monarch (it is also signed by the monarch, without a ministerial countersignature – such communication is not a decision or decree, so does not require a countersignature). The formal language still shows deference to the position of the monarch, with a refusal of the States-General to approve a proposal of law for example becoming "a request to the King to reconsider the proposal". The constitution prescribes a number of the forms used: [Cons 27]

  • If the government accepts a proposal of law and signs it into law, the language is that "The King accedes to the proposal".
  • If the government refuses a proposal of law, the language is that "The King shall keep the proposal under advisement".

A law, once passed, is formulated in such a way as to be decreed by the monarch.

The final involvement of the monarch with the States is dissolution. Constitutionally, the government is empowered to dissolve either house of the states by royal decree. This means that a minister (usually the prime minister) makes the decision and the monarch countersigns. The signing of such a royal decree constitutionally implies new elections for the house in question and the formation of a new house within three months of dissolution. [Cons 21]

The constitution prescribes a number of cases in which one or more houses of the States are dissolved (particularly for changes to the constitution) this is always done by royal decree. In addition, traditionally a collapse of the government is followed by dissolution of the House of Representatives and general elections. Before World War II, before it became common to form new governments with each new parliament, it would happen from time to time that a Council of Ministers found itself suddenly facing a new and unfriendly parliament. When the inevitable clash came, it was an established political trick for the Prime Minister to attempt to resolve the problem by dissolving the parliament in name of the monarch in the hope that new elections brought a more favorable parliament (but it was also possible for the trick to backfire, in which case the new, equally hostile and far more angry parliament would suspend the budget to force the resignation of the government).

Even though the monarch never speaks with members of the States-General formally, it was tradition until 1999 that the queen would invite the members of parliament a few times a year for informal talks about the general state of affairs in the country. These conversations were held in the strictest confidence due to ministerial responsibility. The tradition was suspended in 1999 though, after repeated incidents in which MPs divulged the contents of the conversations, despite agreeing not to (and embarrassing the Prime Minister in doing so). In 2009, an attempt was made to resume the tradition, but this failed when Arend Jan Boekestijn resumed the tradition of revealing the contents of his conversation with Queen Beatrix anyway. [ext 8]

Other functions of the monarch Edit

The monarch has several functions in addition to the duties and responsibilities described in previous sections. Some of these are (partly) constitutional others are more traditional in nature.

The monarch is the head of state of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. As such, the monarch is the face of the kingdom toward the world: ambassadors of the Netherlands are emissaries of the monarch, foreign ambassadors represent foreign heads of state to the monarch. It is the monarch that makes official state visits to foreign heads of state as representative of the Netherlands. He or She represents the monarch whose face is shown on Dutch stamps and Dutch euro coins.

Constitutionally, the monarch is the head of the Dutch Council of State. [Cons 28] The council is a constitutional body of the Netherlands that serves two purposes. First, it is an advisory council to the government which advises on the desirability, practicability and constitutionality of new proposals of law.

Second, it is the Supreme court for the Netherlands in matters of administrative law. [Cons 29] The position of the monarch as constitutional head of this Council means two things for the constitutional position of the monarch: [ext 9]

  1. The monarch is constitutionally and directly involved with practically all aspects of lawmaking except approval by the States-General (which is representative of the electorate). From inception of the law through proposal to the States to finally signing into law, the monarch is involved. This involvement is derived from the days when the monarch was an absolute ruler and really made law. Originally, with the creation of the first constitutions, the monarchs strove to maintain power by maximum involvement with all aspects of lawmaking. Over time this has grown into a more advisory role.
  2. The monarch is constitutionally involved with at least part of the judicial branch of government as well.

The role played by the monarch in the council is largely theoretical due to ministerial responsibility. While the monarch is officially chairman of the council, in practice the king never votes in Council meetings and always turns over his responsibility as chair of the meetings to the deputy head of the council. He is still presumed to be part of the discussions, though. [ citation needed ]

Despite the limitations on the role the monarch may play in the council, his involvement is seen as valuable due to the experience and knowledge that a monarch accrues over the years. Reciprocally, being part of the Council deliberations is considered invaluable training and preparation for the role of monarch, which is why the heir-apparent is constitutionally an observer-member of the council from the time he comes of age. [Cons 28]

Lastly, the monarch plays a prominent but equally unofficial role in the running of the country as advisor and confidant to the government. This duty traditionally takes the form of a weekly meeting between the Prime Minister and the monarch in which they discuss government affairs of the week, the plans of the cabinet and so on. It is assumed that the monarch exerts most of his influence (such as it is) in these meetings, in that he can bring his knowledge and experience to bear in what he tells the Prime Minister. In the case of Queen Beatrix, several former Prime Ministers have remarked that her case knowledge of each and every dossier is extensive and that she makes sure to be fully aware of all the details surrounding everything that arrives on her desk. [ citation needed ]

Perhaps somewhat surprisingly for a monarchy, the monarch is not nominally the commander-in-chief of the military of the Netherlands. He was until 1983, but a large overhaul of the constitution that year shifted supreme command of the armed forces to the government as a whole. [Cons 30]

Remuneration and privileges Edit

Stipend Edit

Article 40 of the constitution states that the monarch is to receive an annual stipend from the kingdom (in other words wages, except that it cannot be called that since it implies the monarch is employed by the government, but rather it is the opposite). The exact rules surrounding these stipends are to be determined by law, as is the list of members of the royal house who also receive them. [Cons 31]

Under current Dutch law the monarch receives their annual stipend which is part of the annual budget, as do the heir-apparent (if of age), the spouse of the monarch, the spouse of the heir-apparent, the former monarch, and the spouse of the former monarch. [Law 4] In practice, as of June 2019, this means King Willem-Alexander, Queen Maxima, and Princess Beatrix. The monarch receives this stipend constitutionally, the others because they are not allowed to work for anybody due to their positions. For example, the recipients of royal stipends in 2009 were Queen Beatrix (€813,000), Prince Willem-Alexander (the heir-apparent €241,000) and Princess Máxima (€241,000)). [Law 5] For 2017 the stipends were for the King €888,000, for the Queen €352,000, and for Princess Beatrix €502,000. These personal stipends are in addition to an allowance for each of those named to meet official expenditure, these were set at €4.6million for the King, €606,000 for the Queen and just over €1million for Princess Beatrix. [1]

This stipend is linked to the development of the wages of Dutch civil servants. At the beginning of 2009 there was some upset in the parliament about the cost of the royal house and the lack of insight into the structure of those costs. At the insistence of the parliament the development of the stipends of the royal house members was then linked to the development of the salaries of the Dutch civil servants. During 2009 it was agreed collectively that the civil servants would receive a pay increase of 1%. In September 2009, at the first budget debate in parliament during the economic crisis, it was pointed out to the parliament that their earlier decision meant that the stipend to the queen would now also increase. This in turn was reason for the parliament to be displeased again.

Royal privileges Edit

Under the constitution, royal house members receiving a stipend are exempt from income tax over that stipend. [Cons 31] They are also exempt from all personal taxes over assets and possessions that they use or need in the execution of their functions for the kingdom. [Cons 31] The monarch and the heir-apparent are exempt from inheritance tax on inheritances received from members of the royal house. [Cons 31]

The monarch has the use of Huis ten Bosch as a residence and Noordeinde Palace as a work palace. In addition the Royal Palace of Amsterdam is also at the disposal of the monarch (although it is only used for state visits and is open to the public when not in use for that purpose), as is Soestdijk Palace (which is open to the public and not in official use at all at this time). [Law 6]

The monarch has the use of an airplane and a train for state visits (although the airplane is not exclusively reserved for the monarch anymore and the train spends most of its time on display at the Dutch Railway Museum). [ext 10] The monarch also has a small fleet of cars available, on which he may display the royal standard.

The monarch is protected by law against lese-majesty. This is actively enforced, [2] [3] [4] although the sentences tend to be light. [ citation needed ] . According to Dutch TV, in total 18 prosecutions were brought under the law between 2000 and 2012, half of which resulted in convictions. [5]

Positions of other members of the royal house and royal family Edit

The royal family has become quite extensive since the birth of Queen Juliana's children. By consequence so has the Dutch royal house (nominally the collection of persons in line for the throne and their spouses), to the extent that membership of the royal house was limited by a change in the law in 2002. [Law 7]

Despite being a large clan, the family as a whole has very little to do officially with Dutch government or the running of the Netherlands. Constitutionally, an important role is played by the monarch. The heir-apparent is deemed to be preparing for an eventual ascent to the throne, so there are some limited tasks and a number of limits on them (particularly he/she cannot hold a paying job, since this might lead to entanglements later on). Since neither the monarch nor the heir-apparent may hold jobs, they receive a stipend from the government. Their spouses are similarly forbidden from earning an income and receive a stipend as well. But constitutionally that is the whole of the involvement of the royal family with the Dutch government.

In particular, members of the royal house other than the monarch and the heir-apparent have no official tasks within the Dutch government and do not receive stipends. They are responsible for their own conduct and their own income. They may be asked to stand in from time to time such as to accompany the monarch on a state visit if the consort is ill, but this is always a personal favor and not an official duty. In addition, they are not exempt from taxation.

Many members of the royal family hold (or have held) significant positions within civil society, usually functioning as head or spokesperson of one or more charitable organizations, patron of the arts and similar endeavors. Some members of the royal family are also (or have been) avid supporters of some personal cause Prince Bernhard for instance was always passionate about the treatment of World War II veterans and Princess Margriet (who was born in Canada) has a special relationship with Canadian veterans specifically. As a rule of thumb, the members of the royal family who are contemporaries of Princess Beatrix tend to hold civil society positions as a primary occupation whereas younger family members hold these positions in conjunction with a regular, paying job. A notable exception to this rule is Pieter van Vollenhoven (husband to Princess Margriet), who was chairman of the Dutch Safety Board until his retirement.

As noted earlier, the spouses of the monarch and the heir-apparent are forbidden from holding paying jobs or government responsibilities. This is to prevent any monetary entanglements or undue influences involving the current and future monarchs. These legal limits were not a great problem when they were instituted in the 19th century The Netherlands had kings and it was considered normal for a married woman to tend the household, raise the family and not to hold any position outside the home. The limits have been more problematic since the early 20th century, when the monarchy of the Netherlands passed to a series of queens and the consorts became men, starting with Prince Hendrik in 1901. The male consorts since then have all either been raised with an expectation of government responsibility (such as Prince Hendrik), or had established careers of their own before marrying the future queen (Prince Bernhard and Prince Claus). Upon marrying into the Dutch royal family they all found themselves severely restricted in their freedom to act and make use of their abilities. All of the male consorts have been involved in some form of difficulty or another (scandals involving infidelity and finances in the cases of Hendrik and Bernhard, deep depression in the case of Claus) and it has been widely speculated (and even generally accepted) that sheer boredom played at least a part in all of these difficulties.

Over time the restrictions on royal consorts have eased somewhat. Prince Hendrik was allowed no part or role in the Netherlands whatsoever. Due to his war efforts, Prince Bernhard was made Inspector General of the Dutch armed forces (although that role was created for him) and was an unofficial ambassador for the Netherlands who leveraged his wartime contacts to help Dutch industry. All that came to a halt in 1976 however, after the Lockheed bribery scandals. Prince Claus was allowed more leeway still after having established himself in Dutch society (he was unpopular at first, being a German marrying into the royal family after World War II) he was eventually given an advisorship within the Ministry for Development Cooperation pertaining to Africa, where he made good use of his experiences as a German diplomat in that continent. Nevertheless, neither Bernhard nor Claus ever fully got over the restrictive nature of their marriages and at the time of the royal wedding in 2002 it was broadly agreed in government circles that Queen Máxima (who had a career in banking before marrying King Willem-Alexander) should be allowed far more leeway if she desires.

Deceased members of the Dutch royal family since William I Edit

    (son of William II, died in 1822)
  • Prince Frederik Nicholaas of the Netherlands (grandson of William I, died in 1834) (first wife of William I, died in 1837) (died in 1843)
  • Prince Willem Frederik of the Netherlands (grandson of William I, died in 1846) (son of William II, died in 1848) (son of William I, died in 1849) (son of William III, died in 1850) (widow of William I, died in 1864) (widow of William II, died in 1865) (wife of Prince Frederick, son of William I, died in 1870) (granddaughter of William I, died in 1871) (first wife of Prince Henry, son of William II, died in 1872) (widower of Princess Louise, granddaughter of William I, died in 1872) (husband of Princess Mariane, daughter of William I, died in 1872) (first wife of William III, died in 1877) (son of William II, died in 1879) (son of William III, died in 1879) (son of William I, died in 1881) (daughter of William I, died in 1883) (son of William III, died in 1884) (widow of Prince Henry, son of William II, died in 1888) (son of William II, died in 1890) (daughter of William II, died in 1897) (widower of Princess Sophie, daughter of William II, died in 1901) (husband of Princess Marie, granddaughter of William I, died in 1907) (granddaughter of William I, died in 1910) (widow of William III, died in 1934) (husband of Wilhelmina, died in 1934) (daughter of William III, died in 1962) (husband of Beatrix, died in 2002) (daughter of Wilhelmina, died in 2004) (widower of Juliana, died in 2004) (son of Beatrix, died in 2013) (daughter of Juliana, died in 2019)

Death and burial Edit

Although Dutch lawmakers have historically favored being very conservative about creating special legal positions for members of the royal house or the royal family, there is one area in which the rules for members of the royal house are very different from those for other Dutch citizens: the area of death and burial.

For Dutch citizens, the rules surrounding death and burial are laid out by the Funeral Services Law (Dutch: Wet op de Lijkbezorging). [Law 8] However, article 87 of this law states that the entire law is not applicable to members of the royal house and that the Minister of Internal Affairs can also waive the law for other relatives of the monarch. The reason for this exceptional position of members of the royal house is traditional. Ever since the burial of William the Silent in the Nieuwe Kerk in Delft, members of the Orange-Nassau family have favored burial in the same crypt where William was entombed (some members of the family buried elsewhere were even moved there later). However, for health and hygiene reasons, burial in churches was forbidden in the Netherlands by decree of William I in 1829 (the practice had been banned before under French occupation of the country, but returned after 1815). In order to allow entombing of members of the royal family, all Dutch laws pertaining to burial have made an exception for the royal house ever since the 1829 decree.

Burial of members of the royal house is completely a matter of tradition, circumstance, practicality and spirit of the times (this due to the lack of any formal rules whatsoever). As a rule of thumb, the body of a deceased member of the royal house is placed on display for a few days in one of the palaces, to allow the family to say goodbye. Depending on the identity of the deceased (a deceased monarch, for instance), there may also be a viewing for the public. Then, on the burial day, the body is transported to Delft in a special horse-drawn carriage. Current protocol specifies eight horses for a deceased monarch and six for a deceased royal consort (which is relatively new, since Prince Hendrik was borne to Delft by eight horses). The current carriage is purple with white trim (this has also changed since the burial of Queen Wilhelmina in 1962, when the carriage was white). Currently, the route to Delft is lined by members of the Dutch armed forces (which is also new since the burial of Prince Hendrik, which was a very quiet affair).

Once in Delft, the body is entombed in the family crypt after a short service. Only members of the family are allowed into the crypt, through the main entrance in the church which is only opened for royal funerals (the mayor of Delft has a key to a separate service entrance, which is only opened in the presence of two military police officers and two members of the Dutch General Intelligence and Security Service for maintenance).

Importance and position within Dutch society Edit

The importance and position of the monarchy within Dutch society has changed over time, together with changes in the constitutional position of the monarchy.

The monarchy of the Netherlands was established in 1815 as a reaction to the decline and eventual fall of the Dutch Republic. It was observed at the time that a large part of the decline of the republic was due to a lack of a strong, central government in the face of strong, centrally led competitor nations such as Great Britain and the French kingdom. After the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1813 and the resurrection of the Netherlands, it was decided to reform the republic in the Kingdom of the Netherlands with a monarchy rather than the old stadtholder system.

The original monarchy was absolute in nature, with the States-General serving as more of an advisory board without the power to do much against the king. This state of affairs allowed the king great freedom to determine the course of the nation and indeed William I was able to push through many changes that set the nation on the course towards industrialization and wealth. He also established the first Dutch railway system and the Nederlandsche Handel Maatschappij, which would later evolve into the ABN Amro bank. On the other hand, his policies caused great discord with the Southern Netherlands, leading to the Belgian Revolution and a years-long war. A backlash against these policies plus rising fear of early Marxism led to acceptance by William II of a series of reforms, starting with a new constitution in 1848 (which was the start of a continuing series of limitations on royal power).

Direct political power and influence of the king continued until 1890, although it slowly declined in the meantime. Both William I and William II proved quite conservative rulers (although William II was less inclined to interfere with policy than his father was), William I resisted major reforms until eventually conflict with the States-General and his own government forced his abdication. William III's reign was a continuous saga of power struggles between the monarch and the parliamentary government (which he forced out a couple of times), plus major international crises due to the same stubbornness (including the Luxembourg Crisis). As a result, the Dutch government used the succession of William III by a female regent as an opportunity to make a power play and establish government authority over royal authority.

Queen Wilhelmina was not happy with the new situation and made several half-hearted attempts during her reign to reassert authority. She was partly successful in certain areas (being able to push for military rearmament before World War I) but she never succeeded in restoring royal power. She did introduce a new concept to Dutch royalty though: the popular monarch. Establishing her popularity in military circles through her support of Dutch military prior to 1917, she was able to wield her personal popularity to uphold the government against a socialist revolution in November 1918.

Royal power continued to decline until the start of World War II. Forced to flee to London, Queen Wilhelmina established the position of "mother of the Dutch state" through her radio broadcasts into the occupied Netherlands and her support for other Dutchmen evading the Germans and fighting from England. She tried to position her family into more influence by giving Prince Bernhard an important position in the military, but was still relegated to a position of constitutional monarch after the war.

Following Wilhelmina's abdication in 1948, the Orange family seems to have settled for a position of unofficial influence behind the scenes coupled with a role as "popular monarchs" in public. As such the monarchs are practically never seen in public doing their official work (except news footage of state visits and the reading of the government plans on Prinsjesdag) and instead their relationship with the public has become more of a popular and romanticized notion of royalty. Queens Juliana and Beatrix were popularly perceived to have a figurehead role, serving to some extent as "mother of the nation" in times of crises and disasters (such as the 1953 floods). In addition, there is a public holiday called Koningsdag (before 2014: Koninginnedag), during which the royal family pays a visit somewhere in the country and participates in local activities and traditions in order to get closer to the people.

Popularity of the monarchy Edit

The popularity of the monarchy has changed over time, with constitutional influence, circumstance and economic tides.

When the monarchy was established in 1815, popularity was not a major concern. Still, the Orange family held popular support in around 60% percent of the population following the fall of the French. This changed drastically over the following years as William I's policies alienated the Southern Netherlands, drew the country into civil war and established industries that favored the rich Protestants and not the general populace.

Royal popularity remained relatively low throughout the reign of the kings. William II was conservative, but on the whole did as little to lose popularity as he did to gain it. Economic decline drove most of his popular decline, although popular support for the monarch was still not considered of much import then. William III was unpopular under a wide section of the public.

Royal popularity started to increase with Wilhelmina's ascent to the throne. She pushed for national reforms, was a huge supporter of the armed forces and strove for renewed industrialization. Around 1917 the country was generally divided into two camps: socialists in the cities, royalists elsewhere. This showed in the dividing lines during the failed Troelstra revolution, where Troelstra gained popular support in the larger cities but the countryside flocked to the queen. Wilhelmina was able to muster popular support with a countryside "publicity tour" together with her daughter – this showing of popular support for the queen was instrumental in halting the revolution and stabilizing the government. Still, Wilhelmina remained deeply unpopular in the cities throughout the 1920s and 1930s.

Nationwide support came for Wilhelmina and the monarchy during World War II. Wilhelmina was forced to retreat to London, but refused evacuation all the way to Canada (although princess Juliana was sent there with her children). Wilhelmina regularly held radio broadcasts into the occupied Netherlands and staunchly supported the Dutch troops in exile. She became the symbol for Dutch resistance against the Germans.

Prior to the Batavian Revolution of 1795, the semi-independent provinces of the Netherlands had chief-executives called stadtholders, who were all drawn from the House of Orange or the House of Nassau by primogeniture. After 1747 the office became formally hereditary in all seven provinces in the House of Orange-Nassau.

The House of Orange-Nassau came from Dietz, Germany, seat of one of the Nassau counties. Their title 'Prince of Orange' was acquired through inheritance of the Principality of Orange in southern France, in 1544. William of Orange (also known as William the Silent) was the first Orange stadtholder (ironically, appointed by Philip II of Spain). From 1568 to his death in 1584, he led the Dutch struggle for independence from Spain. His younger brother, John VI, Count of Nassau-Dillenburg, Stadtholder of Utrecht, was the direct male line ancestor of the later Stadtholders of Friesland and Groningen, the later hereditary stadtholders and the first King of the Netherlands.

The Netherlands remained, formally, a confederated republic, even when in 1747 the office of stadtholder was centralized (one stadtholder for all provinces) and became formally hereditary under the House of Orange-Nassau.

The present monarchy was founded in 1813, when the French were driven out. The new regime was headed by Prince William Frederick of Orange, the son of the last stadtholder. He originally reigned over only the territory of the old republic as "sovereign prince". In 1815, after Napoleon escaped from Elba, William Frederick raised the Netherlands to the status of a kingdom and proclaimed himself King William I. As part of the rearrangement of Europe at the Congress of Vienna, the House of Orange-Nassau was confirmed as rulers of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, enlarged with what are now Belgium and Luxembourg. At the same time, William became hereditary Grand Duke of Luxembourg in exchange for ceding his family's hereditary lands in Germany to Nassau-Weilburg and Prussia. The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg was a part of the Netherlands (until 1839) while at the same time a member state of the German Confederation. It became fully independent in 1839, but remained in a personal union with the Kingdom of the Netherlands until 1890. [6] [7] [8] [9]

Abdication of the throne has become a de facto tradition in the Dutch monarchy. Queen Wilhelmina and Queen Juliana both abdicated in favour of their daughters and William I abdicated in favor of his eldest son, William II. The only Dutch monarchs to die on the throne were William II and William III.


A Brief Outline of Dutch History and the Province of New Netherland

Although most Americans are familiar with the basic outline of the British colonization of America, and even know some information on the Spanish and French settlements, their is less familiarity with the history and geography of another new word settler, namely the Dutch. Not only did they settle the colony of New Netherland but coins from both the United Provinces of the Netherlands and the Flemish area held by Spain, which we now call Belgium, circulated in America. The following summaries are presented to clarify statements in the various sections of this site that mention events concerning the Dutch below are capsule histories (a) on the formation of the states of Belgium and the Netherlands and (b) the development of the province of New Netherland in America.

The Division of Belgium and the Netherlands

For the most part the cities and provinces in the area known as the Low Countries developed independently from the Ninth through the mid Fourteenth centuries. From 1363-1472 the area was gradually assimilated by four generations of the Dukes of Burgundy from Philip the Bold to Charles the Bold. Eventually the lands passed by marriage to the Hapsburg Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V. Upon Charles's abdication in 1556 the lands reverted to his son Philip II of Spain. Philip then sent his sister Margaret of Parma to rule the area. The Calvinist Dutch in the northern provinces especially disliked the Spanish Catholics. They feared the Inquisition would be brought to the Netherlands, and that personal and economic as well as religious freedom would be lost, so they revolted. Philip then sent Ferdinand Alverez, the Duke of Alba to bring order to the area. On August 8, 1567 the Spanish Duke of Alba entered Brussels as military dictator with some 10,000 troops. Thousands of people from both the northern and the souththern provinces fled the Low Countries, including the prominent noble William of Orange, Count of Nassau. Alba suppressed anyone who opposed him including William of Orange, whose lands he confiscated.

The Calvinist northern provinces began allying themselves with Alba's enemies, namely William of Orange. On April 1, 1572 the Dutch struck back, a navel force under Captain van der Marck took the city of Brill. The revolt quickly spread throughout the north. On July 15, 1572 the northern provinces of Holland and Zeeland acknowledged William of Orange as their Stadtholder and a government was established in Delft. This was the beginning of a bloody civil war against the Spanish which continued until 1579.

On January 5, 1579 the southern regions of Atrois, Hainaut and the town of Douay joined together for mutual protection under the Spanish king in the League of Arras (Artois). Soon thereafter, on January 29, 1579 the northern provinces united in the Union of Utrecht. In 1582 the large provinces of Brabant and Flanders joined the southern alliance. This southern area, what is now know as Belgium, was predominantly Catholic, and included the provinces of Flanders, Antwerp, Hainault, Brabant, Namur, Liege, Limburg, and Luxembourg (Limburg is now part of the Netherlands and Luxembourg is an independent state). The northern provinces, on the other hand, were collectively known as the United Provinces of the Netherlands or the Dutch Republic, and were often referred to by the name of their principle province, that is, Holland. This northern Calvinist area consisted of the seven provinces of Frisia, Groningen, Overijssel, Holland, Gelderland, Utrecht and Zeeland. From the formation of the Union of Utrecht these provinces were able to remain a separate republic but it was not until the Treaty of Westphalia, at the conclusion of the Thirty Years War in 1648, that the independence of the Republic of the United Provinces of the Netherlands was finally recognized.

The southern provinces, which are now known as Belgium, continued under Spanish Hapsburg rule until the death of Charles II in 1700. The lands then reverted to the new Bourbon king of Spain, Philip Duke of Anjou. In 1701 the French king Louis XIV compelled Philip, who was his grandson, to turn the southern provinces over to France. However by the Treaty of Utrecht at the conclusion of the War of Spanish Succession the lands were given to the Austrian Hapsburg line which held the area until they were overthrown by the French Republic in 1794.

Coin from both of the northern and southern regions circulated in the American colonies, including the Cross Dollar of Brabant and the Lion Dollars of the various provinces of the United Netherlands.

The New Netherland Colony

The Early Years, 1609-1621

In 1602 the States General of the United Provinces, known as the Netherlands, chartered the United East India Company (the Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie, called the VOC) with the mission of exploring for a passage to the Indies and claiming any unchartered territories for the United Provinces. On September 3, 1609 the English explorer Henry Hudson, on behalf of the United East India Company, entered the area now known as New York in an attempt to find a northwest passage to the Indies. He searched every costal inlet and on the 12th took his ship, the Halve Maen (Half Moon), up the river which now bears his name, as far as Albany and claimed the land for his employer. Although no passage was discovered the area turned out to be one of the best fur trading regions in North America.

As early as 1611 the Dutch merchant Arnout Vogels set sail in the ship St. Pieter for what was probably the first Dutch trading expedition to the Hudson Bay. This secretive mission was so successful in 1612 Vogels chartered the ship Fortuyn which made two, back to back trips to the area. The initial trip of the Fortuyn was under the command of Captain Adriaen Block. Two months before the Fortuyn returned on her second trip, Adriaen Block landed in Hudson Bay in a different ship. Block did not try to keep his activities a secret, he traded liquor, cloth, firearms and trinkets for beaver and otter pelts however, before he could leave the Hudson for an early spring crossing to Amsterdam he saw the arrival of another Dutch ship, the Jonge Tobias, under the command of Thijs Volckertsz Mossel. Competition to exploit the newly discovered land was underway.

On October 11, 1614 merchants from the cities of Amsterdam and Hoorn formed The New Netherland Company receiving a three year monopoly for fur trading in the newly discovered region from the States General of the United Provinces. In 1615 the company erected Fort Orange on Castle Island near Albany and began trading with the Indians for furs. Although merchants came to New Netherland for business purposes, the area was not colonized and at the end of the three year period the company's monopoly was not renewed. At that point the land was opened to all Dutch traders. Eventually the States General decided to grant an monopoly to a company that would colonized the area. There was a need to have a permanent political presence in their colonies in New Netherland, Brazil and Africa against the possibility of an English, French or Spanish challenge.

The Dutch West India Company and Colonization

In 1621 the newly incorporated Dutch West India Company (the Westindische Compagnie or WIC) obtained a twenty four year trading monopoly in America and Africa and sought to have the New Netherland area formally recognized as a province. Once provincial status was granted in June of 1623 the company began organizing the first permanent Dutch settlement in New Netherland. On March 29, 1624 the ship, Nieu Nederlandt (New Netherland) departed with the first wave of settlers, consisting not of Dutch but rather of thirty Flemish Walloon families. The families were spread out over the entire territory claimed by the company. To the north a few families were left at the mouth of the Connecticut River, while to the south some families were settled at Burlington Island on the Delaware River. Others were left on Nut Island, now called Governor's Island, at the mouth of the Hudson) River, while the remaining families were taken up the Hudson to Fort Orange (Albany). Later in 1624 and through 1625 six additional ships sailed for New Netherland with colonists, livestock and supplies.

It soon became clear the northern and southern outposts were untenable and so had to be abandoned. Also, due to a war between the Mohawk and Mahican tribes in 1625, the women and children at Fort Orange were forced to move to safety. At this point, in the spring of 1626, the Director General of the company, Peter Minuit, came to the province. Possibly motivated to erect a safe haven for the families forced to leave Fort Orange, at some point between May 4 and June 26, 1626 Minuit purchased the island of Manhattan from the Indians for some 60 guilders worth of trinkets. He immediately started the construction of Fort New Amsterdam under the direction of the company engineer Cryn Fredericksz.

Because of the dangers and hardships of life in a new land some colonists decided to return to the homeland in 1628. By 1630 the total population of New Netherland was about 300, many being French speaking Walloons. It is estimated about 270 lived in the area surrounding Fort Amsterdam, primarily working as farmers, while about 30 were at Fort Orange, the center of the Hudson valley fur trade with the Mohawks.

New Netherland was a company owned and operated business, run on a for profit basis by the directors of the West India Company. The intent of the firm was to make a profit for the investors who had purchased shares in the company. WIC paid skilled individuals, as doctors and craftsmen, to move to New Netherland and also sent over over and paid soldiers for military protection of the settlements the company also built forts and continually sent over provisions for the settlers. All the New Netherland positions one would usually consider government or public service jobs, were in fact, company jobs held by WIC employees. Laws were made by the company appointed Director General in the province with the consent of the company directors in Amsterdam even the New Netherland provincial treasury was actually the company treasury. All taxes, fines and trading profits went to the company and the company paid the bills. Basically the company profit was whatever was left after expenses had been paid (it should be noted expenses included ample salaries for the Amsterdam directors). WIC soon discovered the expenses associated with establishing and expanding a new colony were considerable. In order to increase their profit margin the company sought to find what might be thought of as subcontractors. The first attempt at partnerships was the Patroonship plan.

The Patroonship plan was first conceived in 1628 as a way to attract more settlers without increasing company expenses. Under the plan a Patroon would be granted a large tract of land and given the rights to the land as well as legal rights to settle all non capital cases, quite similar to a manorial lord. In return the Patroon would agree to bring over settlers and colonize the land at their own expense. No one accepted a patroonship under these conditions because the lucrative fur and fishing trades were left as a monopoly of the company. One of the most prominent Amsterdam merchants and a principle shareholder in the Dutch West India Company, Kiliaen van Rensselear, had the plan modified. In the revised plan issued on June 7, 1629, the terms were much more favorable: colonization requirements were less stringent, the allocation of land to the patroon was larger and there were broad jurisdictional rights over the colonists. Additionally patroons were allowed to trade with New England and Virginia and, most importantly, they were allowed to engage in both the fur trade, subject to a company tax of one guilder per pelt, and could participate in the fish trade. Under this arrangement Kiliaen van Rensselear became Patroon to the largest and most lucrative fur trading area in New Netherland, that is, the area along the Hudson River out to Fort Orange, which he named the colony of Rensselaerswyck.

Under the Patroonship arrangement New Netherland continued to expand with more colonists and settlements taking hold. The nerve center of New Netherland was along the Hudson River from New Amsterdam (New York City) northwest to Fort Orange (Albany). The colony of Rensselaerswyck, encompassing Fort Orange, was the center of the fur trade while New Amsterdam was the shipping hub for Dutch traders. The northern border was not well defined but was taken to be the Connecticut River, which they called the Fresh River. Based on this border the Dutch felt they had a claim to New Haven and southern Connecticut this was clarified at a convention in Hartford in September of 1650 limiting the Dutch to the territory west of Greenwich Bay (similar to the present day border NY-CT border). To the south, New Netherland took all of New Jersey establishing Fort Nassau in 1626 near the southern end of New Jersey (at Gloucester, New Jersey) along the Delaware River, which they called the South River. They also established a whaling village on the southern shore of Delaware Bay called Swanendael (Valley of the Swans) near what is now Lewes, Delaware although the village was soon destroyed in an Indian raid. The Dutch also constructed Fort Beversrede in 1648 on the Schuylkill River (at Philadelphia) and Fort Casimir in 1651 (at Newcastle, DE) to defend their territory against the Swedes and Finns of the Swedish West India Company in Delaware. In 1655 New Netherland defeated New Sweden and occupied the Swedish stronghold, Fort Christiana (Wilmington).

Merchants

In another attempt to increase revenue from the settlement, in 1638 the West India Company abandoned its trading monopoly. Again the company felt they could share the expenses and risks associated with trade by opening up the area to other merchants and collecting fees from them. With the passage of the Articles and Conditions in 1638 and the Freedoms and Exemptions in 1640 the company allowed merchants of all friendly nations trade in the area, subject to a 10% import duty, a 15% export duty and the restriction that all merchants had to hire West India Company ships to carry their merchandise. Of course the West India Company continued in the fur trade. Some of the first merchants to take advantage of this situation were WIC employees who left the company to act as agents for Dutch merchant firms and also trade on their own, such as Govert Loockermans and Augustine Heermans. Lookermans was a WIC employee from 1633-1639, when he left the company to become the local agent for both the powerful Verbrugge family and for himself. He was suspected of smuggling on several occassions and incurred several fines as well as the disapproval of the Verbrugge firm. Heermans first came to New Netherlands in 1633 as a company surveyor in the Delaware region. In 1643 he moved to New Amsterdam where he acted as an agent for the Dutch firm of Gabry and Company and also worked for himself in the fur and tobacco trade. Others WIC employees as Oloff Stevenson van Cortlandt, who had come over in 1637 as a WIC soldier, rose within the company. He was awarded the job of Commissary, supervising the arrival and storage of provisions. In this position he made numerous business contacts and joined in various trading ventures. He was able to acquire various properites within the city of New Amsterdam and by 1648 owned and operated a brewry. Another of these early independent merchants was Arnoldus van Hardenburg, from an Amsterdam merchant family, who came over to make his fortune. Some English colonists also took advantage of the new trading privileges. Isaac Allerton, an original Plymouth settler, who became a founder of Marblehead, Massachusetts went to New Amsterdam as did Thomas Willet of Plymouth. Allerton was knows as an uncrupulous individual who overcharged customers and manipulated his account books. Willet sometimes worked with Allerton and was of the same demeanor, he was once accused of bribing an an inspecion official to look the other way while he imported contraband items. Another Englishman, Thomas Hall, had independently moved into the Delaware valley where the Dutch discovered him in 1635 and took him to New Amsterdam as a prisoner. Hall he seems to have soon been released and in 1639 went in partnership with another Englishman, George Holmes, in the acquisition of a tobacco plantation, leading to a career as a tobacco grower and wholesaler (see, Maika, pp. 40-59).

As these smaller scale merchants and traders became successful both for themselves and for their employeers some of the more prominent Amsterdam merchant establishments decided to follow the lead of the Rensselear family, hoping to increase their profits by expanding into the new market. The most important and earliest participants were Gillis and Seth Verbrugge who traded from the 1640's-mid 1650's and even attempted to establish a potash factory in New Amsterdam (used in the production of soap). In the 1650's and 1660's they were followed by two other major merchant firms who entered the fur trade, namely the Dirck and Abel de Wolff Company and the firm of Gillis van Hoonbeeck. From the mid 1640's through the mid 1660's these three firms along with the Rensselear family accounted for more than 50% of the New Netherland trade.

Up to 1651 Dutch merchants could also trade with New England and Virginia as well as New Netherland. However once the British instituted the Navigation Act of 1651, non English ships were no longer allowed to transport goods from English ports. This forced the Verbrugge family to abandon their lucrative Virginia tobacco trade and eventually took them out of the new world market. The De Wolff family was more diversified that the Verbrugge, trading in Baltic grain, French wine and West African slaves as well as New Netherland furs. Also, rather than invest in ships this firm rented space on other ships and so remained competitive. Van Hoonbeeck entered the New Nwtherland market late, but was able to take advantage of the Verbrugge's Company fall.

The result of this situation was that a few powerful Amsterdam merchants along with the West India Company controlled New Netherland trade. Oliver A. Rink has succinctly explained the situation as follows:

Demographics

Another important element in the New Netherland province that differed from the British colonies was demographics. It has been estimated that probably one half of the population was not Dutch. The size of the province has been estimated at between 2,000 to 3,500 in 1655 growing to a total of about 9,000 by 1664. A significant number of the inhabitants were Germans, Swedes and Finns that emigrated in the period after 1639. This number was increased by 300 to 500 with the capture of New Sweden on September 24, 1655. The impact of these German and Scandinavian Lutheran immigrants is brought out in a controversy that arose because the Lutherans in Middleburg, Long Island were holding church services without an approved preacher. The New Amsterdam pastors brought this situation to the attention of the Director General, Pieter Stuyvesant at the end of 1655, requesting the services be halted. The dispute dragged on for years until a resolution was formulated by the West India Company directors in Amsterdam. It was decided to permit the Lutherans the right to worship by slightly adjusting the catechism. In order not to offend the Lutherans, the Company bluntly stated the complaining New Amsterdam Calvinist pastors would be replaced by younger ministers who were more liberal, unless the dispute was put aside.

There were also about 2,000 English inhabitants in the area of New Netherland, primarily from New England, living on Long Island or in communities along the Connecticut border. The English obtained the Eastern portion of Long Island, (as far as the western end of Oyster Bay) in the border agreement reached at the Hartford Convention of 1650. In fact, five of the ten villages in the vicinity of New Amsterdam were English (namely, Newtown, Gravesend, Hemptead, Flushing and Jamaica while Brooklyn, Flatlands, Flatbush, New Utrecht and Bushwick were Dutch). There were also a number of "half free" African slaves, who were required to make a fixed yearly payment to the company for their freedom. In September of 1654 a group of 23 Jews were brought to New Amsterdam from the colony in Brazil (which was called New Holland), where the Portuguese had just defeated the Dutch West India Company following an eight year rebellion. In 1655, the same year charges were made against the Lutherans, the New Amsterdam preachers requested the province get rid of the Jews. This matter was brough to the company directors in Amsterdam who recommended the Jews be segregated and allowed to practice their religion, but not be permitted to build a synagogue. In this case toleration was granted because some of the Dutch West India Company stockholders were Jewish merchants. In fact, in 1658 when one of these New Netherland Jews, named David de Ferrera, was given a overly harsh punishment for a minor offence, it took the intervention of an important Jewish stockholder in the company, Joseph d'Acosta, to have the punishment reduced.

A French Jesuit priest named Father Isaac Jogues visited New Netherland in 1643-1644. After returning to Canada Father Jogues wrote a brief description of New Netherland, completed on August 3, 1646. In his work the ethnic diversity of the island of Manhattan was described as follows:

British Claims and Conquest

As New Netherland prospered the British set their sights on the province, stating they had a claim to the land as part of John Cabot's discoveries. In May of 1498 the Genoese born Cabot, working for Britain, had explored the coast of the new world from Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and New England down to Delaware. As this trip predated Hudson's voyage by over a century the British felt they had prior claim to the land.

In the mid Seventeenth century the British and Dutch saw each other as a direct competitor, consequently several times during this period they were at war. During the first Anglo-Dutch war of 1652-1654 Oliver Cromwell planed to attack New Netherland with the help of the New England colonists but the plan was never carried out. Following that conflict the two nations continued to be trading rivals and were suspicious of each other. With the restoration of Charles II to the British throne in 1660 the United Netherlands feared an English attack, so in 1662 they made an alliance with the French against the English. In response to this alliance in March of 1664, Charles II formally annexed New Netherland as a British province and granted it to his brother James, Duke of York and Albany (later James II), as Lord Proprietor. The Duke sent a fleet under the command of Sir Richard Nicolls to seize the colony. On September 8, 1664, the Director General Pieter Stuyvesant surrendered Fort Amsterdam and on September 24, 1664, Fort Orange capitulated. Both the city of New Amsterdam and the entire colony were renamed New York, while Fort Amsterdam was renamed Fort James and Fort Orange became Fort Albany.

The loss of the New Netherland province led to a second Anglo-Dutch war during 1665-1667. This conflict ended with the Treaty of Breda in August of 1667 in which the Dutch gave up their claim to New Amsterdam in exchange for Surinam (just north of Brazil). Amazingly, within six months, on January 23, 1668, the Dutch made an alliance with Britain and Sweden against the French king Louis XIV, who was trying to capture the Spanish held areas in the Netherlands. However, in May of 1670 Louis XIV made a secret alliance with Charles II (the Treaty of Dover) and in 1672 he made another separate treaty with Sweden. Then on March 17, 1673 Louis and Charles joined together in a war on the United Netherlands. During this war, on August 7, 1673, a force of 600 Dutch soldiers under Captain Anthony Colve entered the Hudson River. The next day they attacked Fort James and took the fort on the 9th, As the British governor, Francis Lovelace was absent, the surrender was made by Captain John Manning. When Lovelace returned on Saturday August 12th, he was siezed and put in jail. With the fall of the fort the Dutch had retaken New York, they then took control of Albany and New Jersey, changing the name of the area to New Orange in honor of William of Orange.

However these gains were temporary, as the lands were restored to the British at the end of the conflict by the Treaty of Westminster on February 9, 1674. The British governor, Major Edmund Andros, arrived in Manhattan on November 1st and gave the Dutch a week to leave. On November 10, the transfer was completed and Governor Colve and his soldiers marched out of the province. From that point the British controlled both the city and province of New York. Indeed, New York City remained the premier British military stronghold in America during the Revolutionary War and was not liberated until the British evacuation in 1783.

Reference

Oliver A. Rink, Holland on the Hudson: An Economic and Social History of Dutch New York, Ithaca, NY: Cornell, 1986 Dennis J. Maika, Commerce and Community: Manhattan Merchants in the Seventeenth Century, Ph.D. Dissertation, New York University, 1995 John Franklin Jameson, Narratives of New Netherland, 1609-1664, New York: Scribner, 1909.

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Nongovernmental Organizations and Other Associations

Nongovernmental organizations in the Netherlands consist mostly of charity funds and environmental and human rights organizations. Important organizations include Amnesty International, Greenpeace, the World Wildlife Fund, and Natuurmonumenten (an organization for the protection of the Dutch natural environment), which have a large middle and upper class following. They have a considerable impact on national politics. The Dutch contribute large sums to international disaster aid and consider themselves morally obliged to do so.


Dutch New York: The Dutch settlements in North America

The 17th century Dutch colony of Nieuw-Nederland was situated between the South River (Delaware River) and the Fresh River (Connecticut River) with his center on the North or Great River (Hudson River) practically in the present US States of New York, Delaware, Connecticut and New Jersey.

The Dutch connection with North America began in September 1609, when Henry Hudson, an English Captain in the service of the VOC (Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie) discovered with his ship “De Halve Maan” (The Half Moon) the river, which today bears his name. He was in search of the Northwest Passage to Asia. Shortly after the return of the Hudson expedition Dutch merchants sent out new expeditions, the aim of all these expeditions was the fur trade with the Indians.

In 1614 the Staten Generaal of the United Provinces of the Netherlands granted a charter for three years to the New Netherlands Company of Amsterdam. The first Dutch settlement in North America was built in late 1614 on Castle island (an island in the Hudson river just south of Albany, NY). This trading post was called Fort Nassau, but this fort frequently lay under water and was consequently abandoned in 1617. In 1621 the newly founded West-Indische Compagnie (WIC) was granted a charter, which included the coast and countries of Africa from the tropic of Cancer to the Cape of Good Hope and also all the coast of America.

New Amsterdam (Dutch New York). Author Jacques Cortelyou (1660)

In 1624 the first WIC expedition started. A ship with about thirty families of colonists (most of them were Walloons) reached the Hudson or Great River. They anchored near the abandoned Fort Nassau. Later in 1624 a new fort called Fort Oranje was built here on the west side of the river, where Albany now stands. In the same year the Dutch began to build two forts, one on the South River (Delaware) named Fort Nassau and the other on the Fresh River (Connecticut), which was called Fort De Goede Hoop.

In 1626 a fort was built on Manhattan Island at the mouth of the Hudson River. This fort was called Fort Amsterdam and around it the town of Nieuw Amsterdam developed. It was destined to become the capital of the Dutch colony. In 1628 the population of Nieuw Amsterdam amonted to 270 souls. In 1630 three patroonships were founded: on the South River Swanendael on the North River at its mouth, Pavonia and at Fort Oranje, Rensselaerswyck. The last, Rensselaerswyck, was the only successful patroonship in New Netherlands. In 1633 a wooden church was erected in Nieuw Amsterdam and in 1642 it was replaced by a stone church inside the Fort.

The Dutch settlements in North America. Author Marco Ramerini

In March 1638 a Swedish expedition arrived on the South River (Delaware), where they founded the colony of Nya Sverige (New Sweden). The Dutch at Fort Nassau strongly protested. The Dutch reply arrived in 1655, when a Dutch army with more than 300 soldiers made the whole Nya Sverige give in after some resistance on 15 September 1655.

In 1647 the population of New Netherlands was about 1,500-2,000 souls. In 1652 the population of the city of Nieuw Amsterdam had 800 souls. A Municipal Government was given to it in 1652-53 and a Burgomaster was appointed. In 1664 the population of Nieuw Amsterdam amounted to 1,600 souls and the number of inhabitants of the whole New Netherlands was about 10,000 souls.

On 8 September 1664 (during the Second Anglo-Dutch War) the English took possession of Nieuw Amsterdam and they renamed the city New York. By the treaty of Breda (1667) New Netherlands was exchanged with the English for the colony of Suriname, which at that time was a more developed and rich colony.

New Amsterdam (Dutch New York). Author Johannes Vingboon (1639)

The Dutch in August 1673 (during the third Anglo-Dutch War) retook possession of New York, the fort was renamed Fort Willem Hendrick, while New York became Nieuw Oranje. But by the treaty of Westminster, which was signed in February 1674, the colony went back to the English. In November 1674 the Dutch flag waved in Nieuw Oranje (New York) for the last time.

Description (1643) of Nieuw Nederland (New York and Albany) from a narrative of Father Isaac Jogues

Nieuw Nederland is situated between Virginia and New England. The mouth of the river, which some people call Nassau or Great North River, to distinguish it from another one, which they call the South River and which I think is called Maurice River on some maps, which I have recently seen, is at 40 degrees, 30 minutes. The channel is deep and navigable for the largest ships, which ascend to Manhattan Island, which is seven leagues in circumference and on which there is a fort to serve as the commencement of a town to be built there and to be called New Amsterdam.

Nieuw Amsterdam, Long Island and environs 1664. Author Marco Ramerini

This fort, which is at the point of the island about five or six leagues from the river’s mouth is called Fort Amsterdam. It has four regular bastions, mounted with several pieces of artillery. All these bastions and the curtains existed in 1643, but most mounds had crumbled away. Thus one entered the fort on all sides. There were no ditches. The garrison of the said fort and of another one, which they had built still further up against the incursions of the savages, their enemies, consisted of sixty soldiers. They were beginning to face the gates and bastions with stone. Within the fort there were a pretty large stone church, the house of the Governor (called Director General by them) – quite neatly built of brick – and the storehouses and barracks.

On the island of Manhattan and its environs there may well be four or five hundred people of different sects and nations: the Director General told me that there were persons of eighteen different languages they are scattered here and there on the river, upstream and downstream, as the beauty and convenience of the spot has stimulated everybody to settle: some mechanics, however, who ply their trade, are ranged under the fort all the others are exposed to the incursions of the natives, who in 1643 actually killed quite some Hollanders and burnt many houses and barns full of wheat. The river, which is very straight and runs in due north-south direction, is at least a league broad before the fort. Ships lie at anchor in a bay, which forms the other side of the island and can be defended by the fort. [….]

No religion is publicly exercised but the Calvinist one, but in reality it is different besides the Calvinists there are Catholics, English Puritans, Lutherans, Anabaptists (Mennonites) and more in the colony. When anyone comes to settle in the country, they lend him horses, cows etc. they give him provisions, which he all returns as soon as he is at ease regarding the land, he pays to the West India Company the tenth of the produce he harvests after ten years. [….]

Map of New Netherland and New England (1635). Author Willem Blaeu in Theatrum Orbis Terrarum

Ascending the river to the 43d degree, you meet the second Dutch settlement, which the tides reach, but do not pass beyond. Ships of a hundred and twenty tons can come up to it. There are two things in this settlements (which is called Renselaerswijck, i.e. settlement of Renselaers, who is a rich Amsterdam merchant): first a miserable little fort called Fort Oranje, built of logs with four or five pieces of Breteuil cannon and as many pedereros. This has been reserved and is maintained by the West India Company. This fort was formerly on an island in the river it is now on the mainland towards the Iroquois, a little above the said island. Secondly, a colony sent here by Renselaers, who is the patron. This colony is composed of about one hundred persons, who reside in some twenty-five or thirty houses built along the river, each of them to be found most convenient. In the principal house lives the patron’s agent the minister has his apartment, in which religious service is performed. There is also a kind of bailiff, whom they call the schout (seneschal), who administers justice. All their houses are merely of boards and thatched with no mason work except the chimneys. The forest furnishing many large pines, they make boards by means of their saw mills, which they have established for this purpose. They found already some pieces of ground, which the savages had formerly cleared, in which they sow wheat and oats for beer and for their horses, of which they have a great number. There is little land fit for tillage, being hemmed by hills, which have poor soil. This obliges them to separate and they already occupy two or three leagues of country. Trade is free to all this gives the Indians the chance to buy all things at a cheap price. Each Hollander tries to outbid his neighbor, which gives him satisfaction, provided he can gain some profit. [….]

There are many [Indian] nations between the two Dutch settlements, which are about thirty leagues apart. [about 200-250 Km.] [….]

Father Isaac Jogues. From Trois Rivières in Nouvelle France, 3 August 1646.

ACADIA WAS ALSO DUTCH

In August 1674 a Dutch ship under Captain Jurriaen Aernoutsz attacked the French fort and military headquarters of Pentagouet in Penobscot Bay (Acadia), which surrendered to it after a siege of two hours then the Dutch ship sailed to the Saint John River, were it conquered another French fort (Jemseg). This conquest was short-lived. Aernoutsz claimed all Acadia as a Dutch colony, but when he left the forts in search of reinforcements, the Dutch garrison was routed by an expedition of New Englanders. In a “foolish attack” the Dutch Government named Cornelis Steenwyck Governor of the Coasts and Countries of Nova Scotia and Acadia in 1676, but at that time he had only the title and not the land.

Nieuw Amsterdam (Dutch New York) by Johannes Vingboons (1664) Map of New Netherland and New England (1635). Author Willem Blaeu in Theatrum Orbis Terrarum New Amsterdam (Dutch New York). Author Jacques Cortelyou (1660) New Amsterdam (Dutch New York). Author Johannes Vingboon (1639)

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

– Various Authors, “The Colonial History of New York under the Dutch”, CD-Rom in 5 volumes. Includes: “Narratives of New Netherland” (Jameson), “History of New Netherland” (O’Callaghan), “History of New York” (Brodhead) and also includes Cadwallader Colden and four Munsell tracts, edited by O’Callaghan

– Condon, Thomas J., “New York Beginnings: The Commercial Origins of New Netherland”, New York University Press, 1968, New York, USA.

– Griffis, W. E. “The story of New Netherland. The Dutch in America”, 292 pp., Houghton, 1909, Boston/New York, USA. – Heywoood, Linda M. & Thornton, John K., (2007) “Central Africans, Atlantic Creoles and the making of the Foundation of the Americas, 1585-1660”, Cambridge and New York : Cambridge University Press

– Jameson, J. Franklin “Narratives of New Netherlands 1609-1664” 480 pp. Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1909, N.Y. USA

– O’Callaghan, E. B., “The History of New Netherland”, 2 vols., D. Appleton, 1848, New York, USA

– Ward, C. “The Dutch and Swedes on the Delaware 1609 – 1664” 393 pp. University of Pennsylvania Press, 1930 Philadelphia, Penn. USA

– Weslager, C.A., “Dutch explorers, traders and settlers in the Delaware valley 1609-1664”, 329 pp., illustrations, University of Pennsylvania Press 1961, Philadelphia, U.S.A.

– Zwierlein, L. D. “Religion in New Netherlands: A History of the Development of the Religious Conditions in the Province of New Netherlands 1623-1664” 327 pp. John Smith Printing Co, 1910, Rochester, N.Y. USA.

– Champernowne Francis “The Dutch Conquest of Acadie and Other Historical Papers” edited by Charles W. Tuttle and Albert H. Hoyt

– Mahaffie “A land of discord always: Acadia from its beginnings to the expulsion of its people 1604 – 1755”


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