[GB] The History of the Netherlands in 5 minutes

The History of the Netherlands in 5 minutes – (5.000 years in 5 minutes, so watch closely!)

Thanks to and despite of 1) THE WATER (het water). The first inhabitants: Hunebed-builders (ca. 5000 BP = before present) – The stones were leftovers from the Ice Age [Ijstijd]. For a long time it was thought that giants, the Huns, built these structures, hence the name 2) Hunebedden (‘dólmenes’): Hun’s beds. Actually, normal people used poles to roll the stones; they buried a layer of stones to roll the large ones on top. The folk of the Hunebeds is called after their ceramics: ‘Trechterbekercultuur’ or ‘Funnelbeaker culture’ [‘cultura de los vasos de embudo’].

3000 years later (ca 1 AD) 3) The Romans [de Romeinen] conquered the Low Countries. All of it? No! The river Rhine (Rijn) became their Northern Border for about 500 years (until ca 450 AD). When the Romans left other peoples came… and they left.

Emperors came: 4) Charles the Great… [Karel de Grote = Carlomagno: ca. 740-814] and they left. The Low Countries 5) became divided in Duchies [Hertogdommen], Counties [Graafschappen], Bishoprics [Bis(schops)dommen], but at the end of the Middle Ages [de Middeleeuwen; ca. 500 - ca. 1500] these were all united by the 6) Duke of Burgundy [Hertog van Bourgondië - los duques de Borgoña, de 1363 a 1506].

7) Charles V, [Karel V - 1500-1558] ruler of a LARGE empire in 1516: - Spain (and American Colonies) - Austria - The Low Countries. His son 8) Philip II [Filips II - 1527-1598] was very unpopular here. Reason: repression of 9) Calvinism [Calvinisme]. Result: the 10) Dutch Revolt [Nederlandse Opstand] or Eighty Years’ War [Tachtigjarige Oorlog - la ‘Guerra de los 80 años’ o ‘Guerra de Flandes’]. Under the lead of 11) Prince William of Orange [Prins Willem van Oranje], with help of a pirating fleet of ‘Watergeuzen’ [‘mendigos (= rebeldes) del mar’]. Dutch style defense: prevent a city’s siege by… flooding the area! Finally the Northern part of the Netherlands became independant as 12) ‘The Republic of the Seven United Netherlands’ [De Republiek der Zeven Verenigde Nederlanden].

During the war, the Dutch economy grew stronger. 13) The Dutch ‘Golden Age’ [De Gouden Eeuw] had begun. Most parts of society flourished: - Trade [Handel], - Colonies [Kolonies], - Arts [Kunst], - Science [Wetenschap], - Landscaping [Landschapschilders].

14) Amsterdam was the biggest port [haven] in the world; Stock exchange [De Beurs] originated here. Colonies in the Americas, Africa and Asia. Trade in everything, including slaves… Rembrandt van Rhijn [The Night Watch = De Nachtwacht], Christiaan Huygens (pendulum clock, planetarium), Jan Adriaensz. Leeghwater - ‘De Beemster’. Ir. “Emptywater” [< 'Leeghwater'] drained Holland. But all good times must come to an end…

and after a while 15) Napoleon Bonaparte became an emperor hungry for conquest. Brother Louis Napoleon [Lodewijk I Napoleon] became king of the newly formed Kingdom of Holland (for a while). But everyone must face his Waterloo (1815), and afterwards… The 16) Kingdom of the Netherlands [Koninkrijk der Nederlanden] came into being under William I [Willem I]. 17) ‘Belgium’ [België] didn’t like being part of this and separated in 1830.

18) More land was needed at the turn of the 20th century so Ir. Lely made the plan for the IJsselmeer-polders [los pólders del Lago IJssel]. Closing of the ‘Zuiderzee’ (‘Mar del Sur’, ahora llamado Ijsselmeer- ‘Lago IJssel’) with the ‘Afsluitdijk’ [Dique de Cierre] in 1934.

The Netherlands remained neutral in the 19) First World War [Eerste Wereldoorlog], but in 20) World War II [Tweede Wereldoorlog] the country couldn’t avoid being occupied [bezet > de bezetting]. Bombardment on Rotterdam [Bombardement op Rotterdam]. Anne Frank, perhaps the best known victim of the 21) Holocaust. But from May 5, 1945, [de Bevrijding = la liberación] freedom could be experienced again and the country rebuilt. “Sing, fight, cry, pray, laugh, work and admire [popular song by Ramses Shaffy]. After the war a big effort was made to rebuild the country and to expand for the growing population.

Unfortunately, a few years later disaster struck a large part of the Netherlands again (February 1, 1953). 22) A great flood [Watersnood, Overstroming, Ramp] killed 1825 people in the Southwest of the Netherlands, and ruined 9% of the Dutch Farmland. The dikes had proven to be too weak, and therefore a plan was made to prevent this in the future: 23) The Delta Works [De Deltawerken]. A total of 13 dams, sluices and storm surge barriers were built in almost half a century, finishing in 1997. In this way the coastline of this part of the Netherlands was reduced drastically. History ends here (for now).