History of Holland: aan de wandel met reliekschrijn Sint Servatius






The History of Holland

Looking at the World map, it isn't easy to imagine that an insipid little country as Holland has played a significant role in world history. But it has.The Dutch dominated world trade through the centuries. Amsterdam pranced onto the European stage in what was the province of Holland's most glorified period: the Golden Age from about 1580 to about 1740.

History of Holland in De StaatskrantThe serie The History of Holland is written as a tribute to the achievements of those energic Dutchmen. The serie is made by Mohamed el-Fers and René Zwaap is focussing on the great past and broadcasted by MokumTV of Amsterdam.

Half a century before the end of the Golden Century the last kin of blood of William the Silent, inherited Prince of Orange, moved to England to be proclaimed King William III (King Billy of Orange) in 1689 and the British began dominating the world's seas.

Only half Roman

Before the start of the common era, the Netherlands were only half part of the Roman Empire. Before the Netherlands was politically organized as the County of Holland, early settlers located in the Rhine River Delta, a land of low marshlands and changing geography. The rivers continually chose different paths across the land while the ocean intruded from the west during storms. This fight against water comprises a large part of Dutch history and the resulting Dutch character.

Historical accounts of the Netherlands date from the 1st century BC, when Roman forces conquered Germanic and Celtic tribes inhabiting the area. North of the river Rhine Dutch tribes as the Batavi and Frisian stayed independent. The Batavi, who drained the sea lagoons and the Frisians, who lived on mounds in the remote north remained independent until the defeat of the Frisian King Radboud in 690.
In 732 Karel Martel beats the moslem army of Abd er-Rahman at Portiers in France.Two years later Martel fights the Dutch Frisians at Oudeschouw-Irnsum. Not such an easy job as Portiers. Not 'till 785 the total territory of the Netherlands, including Holland and Frisia, is occupied by the Franks.
Holland means "Woodland" in old Dutch, but is also the Viking name of a region in Sweden, called "Halland". The Vikings often visited this part of Europe until the 10th century. Those that stayed in Holland kept the lion in their weapon shields. Those of Holland in the Netherlands and Halland in Sweden look very much the same as both have a climbing lion on the shield. The Viking Counts of Holland fought many wars against a part that was still called West-Frisia.

A short introduction

The history of Holland starts with Count Gerolf the First. He was born around the year 850. He was most likely of Viking descent.
He was the first to be inaugurated as Count of Holland. It happened on a sacred tomb hill called Scepelenbergh of Huldtoneel near the village of Heemskerk.
In the Community hall of Heemskerk a stained glass window Shows Count Jan the Second of Brabant with his wife Jacoba of Bavaria during their inauguration on that hill as Count and Countess of Holland
The first written history about the Counts of Holland dated from about 1230 and was gathered by the monks of the Abbey of Egmond in West-Frisia.


Most of the Counts of Holland took part in the Crusades to Palestine between the 9th and 12th century. In which the citizens of Haarlem played such a heroic role. One of the Counts of Holland has his grave in Antakya in Turkey, where he still lays in front of the altar. The other members of the First House of Holland are burried in Rijnsburg and Egmond.

The Western Crusades were not only an insane and bloodthirsty attack on the sophisticated Muslim world. For some the motivations has been as well piety, devotion, and selflessness.
The oldest cities in Holland were Dordrecht, Delft, Leiden and Haarlem.

First Republic of modern Europe

In the 16th century the Dutch revolted and by virtue of the Union of Utrecht (1579) the seven northern Dutch provinces became the Republic of the United Netherlands.
The Dutch United Provinces supported the Americans in the Revolutionary War. In 1795, French troops ousted the head of the House of Orange Willem V of Orange and the Stadhouder under the Dutch Republic. First king of the Netherlands was Louis Napoleon, a brother of...

Following Napoleon's defeat in 1813, the House of Orange made their return. The Netherlands and Belgium formed the Kingdom of the United Netherlands. In 1830 the Belgians ousted the House of Orange and formed their own kingdom.

The Netherlands proclaimed neutrality at the start of both world wars. Although it escaped occupation in World War I German troops overran the country in May 1940. The Orange Queen fled and established a government-in-exile in London, to return after the Netherlands was liberated in May 1945.

Elements of the Netherlands' once far-flung empire were granted either full independence or nearly complete autonomy after World War II. Indonesia formally gained its independence in 1949 and Suriname became independent in 1975.

The five islands of the Netherlands Antilles (Curacao Bonaire Saba St. Eustatius and a part of St. Maarten) are part of the Netherlands realm with a degree of autonomy. Aruba which had been a part of the Netherlands Antilles was granted in January 1986 a separate status within the kingdom on par with but apart from the Netherlands Antilles.

The amazing history of Amsterdam

Amsterdam, also called Mokum, is said to be established during the 13th century as a fishing village at the mouth of the Amstel River. But the real history of Amsterdam started more than a century earlier. When monks build the so called Spaarndammerdaik at the Westside of the city.

After the Spaarndammerdijk was built is became necessary to build another dike to avoid the floods from the South Sea entering the inlands. So in 1220 the Dam in the Amstel was build, but Amsterdam as place isn't sooner mentioned in recorded history than in the year 1275.

That year Floris V, count of Holland granted permission to levy tolls at Amstelodammus, that's old Dutch for that Dam in the Amstel River.
Floris V was responsible for the treaty of 1294 between King Edward I of England and King Adolf of Germany, in 1295, when the English Wool-heap came officially to Dordrecht.

Count Floris V.was murdered in 1296. His son Jan became count at the age of 13 and ruled only 2 years. Family and enemies put so much pressure on him that he died of stress at the age of 15, shortly after English nobles had forced him to step down. He was the last of the Holland-counts. His family had ruled Holland more than 4 centuries. From that moment on till present days Holland was ruled by foreign counts, dukes and kings. The area first passed into the hands of the House of Burgundy and the Austrian Habsburgs.


Her Majesty Queen Beatrix with the new coat of arms of Spamstelstad, Amsterdam and Haarlem unitedThe Randstad (Edge City, i.e. a city at the edge of a circle, with empty space in the centre) is a conurbation in the Netherlands. It consists of the largest Dutch cities (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Haarlem and Utrecht), and the surrounding areas. With almost half of the population of the Netherlands; when other conurbations connected to this area are also taken into consideration, it would have a population a little over 10 million, almost 2/3 of the entire Dutch population it is one of the largest conurbations in Europe. The main center is however clearly Amsterdam-Haarlem, which could - as such - be considered a classical centralistic metropole. Through the years, the boundaries between the cities have blurred. The union of both towns is the first and logic step in the making one of the largest population centers in Europe. As both are build near a river, Haarlem is also known as Spaarnestad, and Amsterdam as Amstelstad. After the union the new city of Amsterdam-Haarlem will be known as Spamstelstad.

White Stormfront

The Nationalist White Stormfront mocked the MokumTV serie 'because the History of Holland "was made by a Jew and a Muslem".

More positive was writer Bruno Friedrich. He wrote:
Dutch are not perfect, but lack, thanks to their past, that massive inferiority complex of the Poles, Czechs or Serbs.The purpose of the History of Holland is, I suppose, to tell it like it was. No one can justify the slave-trade committed by the Dutch. Or the transport of jews to Germany willingly executed by Dutch policemen.

BRUNO FRIEDRICH in De Brom, magazine for local television in Amsterdam 27th July 2004.


The canon
of the Netherlands

  • 300 BC - Germanic and Celtic tribes move into the area south of the Rhine River
  • 50 BC - Romans defeat tribes in Gallica Belgica.
  • 70 AD - Batavi rebel against Romans
  • 382 AD - St. Servatius, cousin of the Holy Vigrin Mary, moves Bishop's seat from Tongeren (B) to Maastricht (NL), beginning Catholic domination in the Low Countries.
  • 734 AD Karel Martel beats Dutch Frisians at Oudeschouw-Irnsum.
  • 785 AD Total territory of the Netherlands, including Holland and Frisia, is occupied by the Franks.
  • 800 AD - Charlemagne crowned, he controls the Low Countries from his Valkenhof in Nijmegen and nearby Aken.
  • 800-900 AD - Scandinavian Viking frequently raided the coastal areas and sailed far up the rivers, some based in Utrecht in 879-882AD/ These raids led to the emergence of fortified towns.
  • Modern Dutch History seems to begin in the 10th century when Dirk I landed and established a stronghold.
  • 922 AD - Dirk I of Holland granted lands in and around Haarlem and builds in Egmont a Benedictine monastery.
  • 991 AD - Empres Theophanu, sister of the Byzantine Emperor, dies at the Valkenhof in Nijmegen.
  • 1018 - Dirk III, Count of Holland, first to use Holland in title.
  • 1096-99 - 1st Crusade
    1147-49 - 2nd Crusade
    1189-92 - 3rd Crusade
    1202-04 - 4th Crusade
  • 1205 - The Lords of Van Amstel build a castle near Amstel river and IJ lake, now the area between the underground parking at the Nieuwezijds Kolk and the 420 cafe De Kuil in the Oudebrugsteeg.
  • 1212 - Childrencrusade
  • 1205-22 - Reign of William I of Holland, died in Egypt in the Crusade.
  • 1222 - Damming of the Amstel river, Amstelledamme created.
  • 1228-29 - 5th Crusade
  • 1234-1256 - Reign of William II of Holland, elected Holy Roman Emperor, but killed by the Frisians at Worms before he could be crowned.
  • 1248-54 - 6th Crusade,
  • 1256-96 - Reign of Floris V, grandson of William II and killed by Gysbrecht van Amstel near Muiden.
  • 1270 - 7th (last) Crusade.
  • 1306 - Amsterdam gains charter from Guy of Asvenes, Bishop of Utrecht. This making Amsterdam a city.
  • 1317 - William II wins Amsterdam from Utrecht.
  • 1323 - Holland gains Zeeland (Sealand) from Flanders.
  • 1334 - Founding of Oude Kerk in Amsterdam (Old Church).
  • 1380 - Founding of Nyekirk, Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam (New Church),
  • 1400 - Italian Renaissance announced by Humanists.
  • 1421 - Amsterdam fire and St. Elizabeth Floods. Oldest cafe of Amsterdam (De Kuil) build the same year.
  • 1428 - Phillip the Good, Duke of Burgundy takes Holland and Zeeland from Jacoba.
  • 1467 - Charles the Bold succeeds Phillip the Good.
  • 1473 - All of Low Countries except Friesland in Burgundian hands.
  • 1477 - Death of Charles the Bold, whose daughter Mary of Burgundy was married to Maximillian of the Habsburg Empire, and she was forced to concede the Netherlands autonomy in favor of Austro-Hungarian control which lasted almost a century.
  • 1494 - Phillip the Fair inherits rule when Maximillian is made Holy Roman Emperor.
  • 1515 - Charles I, son of Phillip the Fair, inherits the Low Countries.
  • 1516 - Charles I becomes Carlos I, King of Spain.
  • 1517 - Luther nails 95 Theses to Wittenburg's castle church.
  • 1519-56 - Charles I reigns as Charles V, German Emperor.
  • 1523-43 - Charles V collects more lands into Holland, takes Friesland, Overijssel, Utrecht, Groningen, Drenthe and Gelderland.
  • 1548 - Independent Kingdom of 17 Provinces in Pays-Bas, the Low Countries.
  • 1555 - Charles granted control of Spain and the Netherlands to his son, Philip II, whose oppressive rule led to a Revolt against Spanish rule when Protestantism spreads and the disaffection with Catholic Spain coincided with the Protestant revolt against the Roman Catholic church.
  • In 1566 anti-Catholic riots spread across the country. Philip sent Spanish troops, whose harsh actions resulted in open revolt. William I, prince of Orange, led the revolt and eventually took control of most northern towns.
  • In 1579 the Union of Utrecht, an alliance of all northern and some southern territories, was formed. The provinces that joined the union would become the Netherlands; those that did not would become Belgium.
  • In 1581 the Union of Utrecht proclaimed independence from Spain. The new nation suffered a series of reverses in the war with Spain, but eventually the tide turned.
  • In 1648 the Spanish recognized the sovereignty of the Dutch Republic.
  • 1579 - Ten southern provinces sign Union of Arras, ceding control to Phillip II and agreeing to stop resisting; Seven northern provinces sign Union of Utrecht, banding together to retain independence.
  • 1581 Reign of Phillip II ends, Republic of United Provinces created.
  • 1597 - A merchant expedition of three vessels sailed from Amsterdam to Indonesia, Dutch found colony of Batavia in Java. the first of numerous Dutch trading stations that resulted in lucrative trading throughout the world.
  • 1602 - Dutch East India Company founded, early stock exchange founded.
  • 1607 - Jamestown colony founded.
  • 1620 - Mayflower lands in Plymouth.
  • 1621 - Dutch West India Company founded to trade with newfound America.
  • 1625-6 - Dutch West India Company establishes Niewe Amsterdam on Manhattan. By the mid-17th century the Netherlands was the foremost commercial and maritime power of Europe, and Amsterdam was the financial center of the continent. Inevitably, the Dutch and the English, the leading maritime trading nations, came into conflict.
  • 1652-54 - First Anglo-Dutch War.
  • 1653-72 Period without stadhouder (stadholder, city holder).
  • 1665-7 - Second Anglo-Dutch War
    In the late 18th century a struggle broke out between conservatives and those who desired democratic reforms. The conflict became moot after Napoleon I incorporated the Low Countries into the French Empire in 1810.
  • 1806 - Louis Bonaparte made first King of Holland by Napoleon.
  • 1810 - Louis Bonaparte abdicates, Holland now part of French Empire.
  • 1813 William VI of the (ne founded) House of Orange is named as the last Dutch leader under the old Stadholder system. When Napoleon was ultimately defeated in the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, the resulting mess was sorted out by the Congress of Vienna.
    This Congress renamed William VI of Nassau to William I, Prince of Orange, King of the Netherlands, and Grand Duke of Luxembourg. At this time the Netherlands was expanded to include Belgium, making William I ruler in all of modern-day Benelux (BElgium, NEtherlands, LUxembourg),
  • 1830 - Brussels Revolution, Belgian Independence given over 10 years
    In 1830 Brussels Revolution was the precursor the Belgium's independence. While Luxembourg remained in flux through World War II, 1830 saw the birth of the independent Kingdom of the Netherlands, which has lasted until today.
  • From about 1880 to 1914 the Netherlands enjoyed an era of economic expansion.
  • 1889 - Centraal Station completed in Amsterdam.
  • 1890 - Queen Wilhemina assumes power.
  • 1914-1918 During World War I, the nation kept its neutrality, but suffered hardship through loss of trade as a result of the Allied blockade of the Continent.
  • 1918 - Land Reclamation Act leads to 1932 Zuiderzee Project, Afsluitdijk.
  • 1934 - Foodriots in Amsterdam neighbourhoods Staatsliedenbuurt and Jordaan.
  • 1939 - Netherlands declares neutrality in WWII.
  • 1940 - After bombing of Rotterdam Netherlands submits to German occupation, Dutch Royals fled to England and Canada. Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam made Nazi headquarters in the Netherlands.
  • 1945 - Germans lose WWII, Dutch Royals return to the Netherlands,
  • 1948 - Queen Wilhemina passes power to daughter Juliana.
  • 1949. The Netherlands lost a war against colony Indonesia, which gained its independence.
  • 1953 Disastrous floods. Delta Plan follows in 1957-86.
  • 1957 - Netherlands one of the founding countries of the EEC.
  • 1960 - Benelux economic agreement between Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg observed.
  • 1962 Netherlands lost New Guinea to Indonesia.
  • 1975 Suriname gained its independence.
  • 1980 - Queen Juliana hands crown to daughter Beatrix in rioting Amsterdam.
  • 1992 - Treaty of Maastricht. Against the will of the people the Netherlands are part of Europe.
  • 1992 - Israeli-based El Al jet crashes into Amsterdam - scandalous cargo discovered.



Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum viditur - Al wat in het Latijn gezegd wordt, wordt als verheven beschouwd


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