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Netherland Population - History

Netherland Population - History

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16,715,999 (July 2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 60

Age structure:

0-14 years: 17.4% (male 1,485,873/female 1,416,999)
15-64 years: 67.7% (male 5,720,387/female 5,604,014)
65 years and over: 14.9% (male 1,070,496/female 1,418,230) (2009 est.)

Median age:

total: 40.4 years
male: 39.6 years
female: 41.2 years (2009 est.)

Population growth rate:

0.412% (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 162

Birth rate:

10.4 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 186

Death rate:

8.74 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 87

Net migration rate:

2.46 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 34


urban population: 82% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 0.9% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.76 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2009 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 4.73 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 198
male: 5.25 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 4.19 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 79.4 years
country comparison to the world: 30
male: 76.8 years
female: 82.14 years (2009 est.)

Total fertility rate:

1.66 children born/woman (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 174

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

0.2% (2007 est.)

country comparison to the world: 107

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

18,000 (2007 est.)

country comparison to the world: 82

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

fewer than 200 (2007 est.)

country comparison to the world: 122


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

Ethnic groups:

Dutch 80.7%, EU 5%, Indonesian 2.4%, Turkish 2.2%, Surinamese 2%, Moroccan 2%, Netherlands Antilles & Aruba 0.8%, other 4.8% (2008 est.)


Roman Catholic 30%, Dutch Reformed 11%, Calvinist 6%, other Protestant 3%, Muslim 5.8%, other 2.2%, none 42% (2006)


Dutch (official), Frisian (official)


definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99%
male: 99%
female: 99% (2003 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):

total: 16 years
male: 17 years
female: 16 years (2006)

Education expenditures:

5.3% of GDP (2005)

country comparison to the world: 58

Please note that the population clock above does not reflect actual migration situation due to movement restrictions.

Current population (as of Tuesday, June 22, 2021)
Population rank
69 (0.22% of world population)
Total area
41,530 km 2 (16,035 mi 2 )
Population density
414.3 per km 2 (1,072.9 people/mi 2 )
Sex ratio
0.99 (8,541,663 men to 8,662,505 women)
Median age
42.1 years
Life expectancy
79.7 years (77.1 - men, 82.4 - women)

(Population figures are estimates by Countrymeters based on the latest United Nations data)


The population development of Roermond as well as related information and services (Wikipedia, Google, images).

Roermond Municipality53,76754,44655,59557,00558,806
Nederland [ Netherlands ]Country15,985,53816,405,39916,655,79916,900,72617,474,693

Source: Statistics Netherlands (web).

Explanation: Provinces and municipalities in the boundaries of January 2021. 2021 population figures are preliminary. The 2021 figures of Boxtel, Oisterwijk, Tilburg and Vught are provisionally calculated.

Reclaiming the Zuiderzee

Storms and floods in 1916 provided the impetus for the Dutch to start a major project to reclaim the Zuiderzee. From 1927 to 1932, a 19-mile (30.5-kilometer) long dike called Afsluitdijk (the "Closing Dike") was built, turning the Zuiderzee into the IJsselmeer, a freshwater lake.

On February 1, 1953, another devastating flood hit the Netherlands. Caused by a combination of a storm over the North Sea and spring tide, waves along the sea wall rose to 15 feet (4.5 meters) higher than mean sea level. In some areas, the water peaked above existing dikes and spilled upon unsuspecting, sleeping towns. Just over 1,800 people in the Netherlands died, 72,000 people had to be evacuated, thousands of livestock died, and there was a tremendous amount of property damage.

This devastation prompted the Dutch to pass the Delta Act in 1958, changing the structure and administration of the dikes in the Netherlands. This new administrative system, in turn, created the project known as the North Sea Protection Works, which included building a dam and barriers across the sea. This vast engineering feat is now considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Further protective dikes and works including dams, sluices, locks, levees, and storm surge barriers were built, beginning to reclaim the land of the IJsselmeer. The new land led to the creation of the new province of Flevoland from what had been sea and water for centuries.

Dutch government

Foreign policy has impacted domestic politics in recent years, and influenced two government collapses in the space of around two years. The last collapse in April 2012 resulted from a coalition breakdown over austerity measures to steer the Eurozone’s fifth-largest economy below the EU deficit ceiling of 3 percent.

The Dutch government’s traditional reliance on a coalition of two or more parties has earned it the nickname the land of compromise. But, for the first time, a majority coalition formed in the last September 2012 elections. The Netherlands strengthened its stance on austerity with large gains achieved by pro-European parties, the central-right liberal VVD, and the social-democratic labor party PvdA. In contrast, losses were incurred by the previous coalition parties, the Christian Democrat CDA and Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party (PVV), a nationalistic party known for its right-wing focus. The next elections for Dutch political parties in the lower chamber of parliament are scheduled for March 2017.

With Mark Rutte continuing as prime minister, a coalition with Diederik Samsom’s PvdA gives the current Dutch government a comfortable majority to pass budget cuts, although further opposition support is needed to pass any laws in the Senate. Economic downturn, however, saw a large shift in public opinion towards cuts of EUR 6 billion in the 2014 budget. But the deficit met the EU’s target in 2014, and is expected to sit at 2.2 percent in 2015.


Plants and animals that thrive in temperate climates are found in the Netherlands. The most common trees are oak, elm, pine, linden, and beech. The country is famous for its flowers, both cultivated varieties (best known among them the Dutch tulip) and wild flowers such as daisies, buttercups, and the purple heather that blooms on the heaths in September. Birds are those characteristic of Western and Central Europe, with large numbers of seagulls swarming over the coastal areas from time to time. Many kinds of fish abound along the North Sea coast and in the lakes and rivers. Wild or large animals are practically nonexistent. As of 2002, there were at least 55 species of mammals, 192 species of birds, and over 1,200 species of plants throughout the country.


"The Netherlands" means "the low lands". The land only rises, on average, 1 meter above sea level. One third of the land is below sea level. The Netherlands is also - incorrectly - referred to as Holland. Holland was a very rich area (two provinces) in the western part of the Netherlands, thus causing people to be mistaken. Some people who do not live in the western part of the Netherlands do not like it when people call the country Holland. The name "Holland" originates from the old Dutch words "Holt land" which means "wood lands".

At the end of the Middle Ages the dukes of Burgundy, a country that is now part of France, united seventeen areas. Those areas were called the Netherlands. When the daughter of a duke married Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor in 1477, the Netherlands became part of Spain. In the 16th century many Dutch people became Protestant. The king of Spain did not like it, he wanted all Dutch to be Roman Catholic. Of course the Dutch people did not like this, and after violent excesses by the Spanish they started a war against Spain in 1568, also for reasons of taxation. The war lasted until 1648, therefore it is called the Eighty Years' War. An important leader of the Dutch in this war was Willem van Oranje (Willem of orange) also called William the Silent.

In 1648 the Netherlands and Spain signed peace. The Dutch people were allowed to keep all the areas they conquered. The part of the Netherlands that was not conquered by the Dutch stayed part of Spain. Later this part became the country Belgium.

When the Netherlands became independent, it was a very special country. That time almost all countries in Europe were ruled by a king, but the Netherlands was a republic. The Netherlands was made up of seven provinces, that were ruled by the big cities. The cities were ruled by the municipality which consisted of rich civilians. Together those provinces were ruled by a stadtholder, a very powerful man, but compared to the kings of other European countries he had much less power.

In the 17th century the Netherlands was the richest and one of the most powerful countries in the world. Therefore, the Dutch call the 17th century the Golden Age. Their Dutch Empire had colonies around the world. One important colony was the East Indies, which is now called Indonesia. They also had colonies in the Caribbean, like the other European empires. They also started New Netherland, which is now called New York. The Netherlands often fought wars against other European countries, especially the Anglo-Dutch Wars against England. Michiel de Ruyter, a Dutch admiral, became a Dutch hero when he defeated the English navy close to London.

In the 18th century the Netherlands became poorer. Many people blamed this on the government leaders, the stadtholders. Many thought they had too much power and wanted them to get away. In 1789 the French people deposed (got rid of) their king. French armies attacked other countries to depose their leaders too. In 1795 they attacked the Netherlands. Stadtholder William V had to flee to England. The Netherlands were renamed to Batavian Republic and became a democracy. But the French were not content (satisfied) with the Dutch ruler, so in 1806 the French emperor Napoleon made his brother Louis Bonaparte king of the Netherlands. Louis became popular in the Netherlands, but the emperor was again not content with him, so in 1810 the Netherlands became a part of France.

In 1815 Napoleon was defeated, and the Netherlands became independent again. The rulers of European countries thought it was a good idea to make the Netherlands stronger, to make them able to resist another French invasion. Therefore, Belgium and Luxembourg were added to the Netherlands. William I, the son of stadtholder William V, became king. Some Belgians disliked their Dutch king. In 1830 they revolted. William sent an army. He was much more powerful than the Belgians but after ten days the French sent an army to support them. In 1831 the Belgians chose their own king and Belgium became an independent country.

Some people again thought the Dutch king had too much power. They wanted to give him less power and vote for the government themselves. In 1848 there were violent revolts against the kings of many European countries. The Dutch king was afraid the same would happen in the Netherlands. Therefore, he allowed Johan Rudolf Thorbecke to write a constitution. From then on people were allowed to vote. At first only rich men were allowed to vote. From 1919 on all adults were allowed to vote.

In World War I, the Netherlands did not fight and were not invaded. The Dutch wanted to stay neutral in World War II as well, but in 1940 the country was invaded and occupied by Germany. Like in other countries they had occupied, the German authorities started to kill Jews. Anne Frank was a Jewish girl who lived in the Netherlands. Her family hid from the Nazis and she wrote a diary. She died in a Nazi concentration camp and her diary became famous.

In 1944 the American, Canadian, Polish and British armies liberated the south of the Netherlands from Nazi Occupation. They wanted to cross the Rhine river in Operation Market Garden to liberate the rest of the country, but they were defeated. It took until May 1945 before the entire country was liberated. During the five years of Nazi occupation, 250,000 people had died in the Netherlands.

Shortly after the war, Indonesia declared its independence. The Dutch sent soldiers to fight in Indonesia. After other countries, including the United States, told the Dutch to leave Indonesia, they finally did so in 1949.

After the war the Netherlands became one of the richest countries in the world. In 2004 the United Nations said that the Netherlands was the 5th best country to live in.

The Netherlands is a constitutional monarchy. That means the country has a king, but the real power is in the hands of a parliament, chosen by the Dutch people. All Dutch people at least 18 years old or older are allowed to vote. The Dutch parliament consists of two chambers: the Second Chamber (Dutch: Tweede Kamer, this is the House of Representatives, elected every four years), and the First Chamber (Dutch: Eerste Kamer, this is the Senate, elected by provincial politicians every four years). After the Second Chamber elections, parties that have had a majority of the votes create a cabinet. The cabinet consists of a prime minister and several other ministers and deputy ministers. Current government is the liberal-Christian democratic Third Rutte cabinet, consisting of VVD, CDA, D66 and CU politicians. Prime Minister is Mark Rutte (VVD).

The latest general elections were held on March 17, 2021. Winners were liberal parties like VVD (also the biggest party), D66 (second biggest party) and Volt, and populist parties like FVD and JA21. Losers were left parties like SP and GL, Christian democratic party CDA, populist party PVV, and senior citizen party 50+.

The Netherlands is known for tolerance in politics. The Netherlands is the only country where soft drugs are not entirely considered illegal. Furthermore, the Netherlands is one of the few countries that allow same-sex marriages, euthanasia and prostitution to a certain extent.

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).


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:


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.


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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The population development in Limburg as well as related information and services (Wikipedia, Google, images).

The icon links to further information about a selected division including its population structure (gender, age groups, age distribution, urbanization, nationality, birth country of parents).

Limburg Province1,142,5841,123,7051,122,6271,117,9411,115,895
Beekdaelen ( incl. Nuth, Onderbanken, Schinnen )Municipality38,81037,50937,01936,35336,057
Beek (L.) Municipality17,17416,69616,54816,21415,883
Beesel Municipality13,18813,64313,84413,51113,448
Bergen (L.) Municipality13,44413,49913,35013,15213,111
Brunssum Municipality30,39529,74229,37528,65627,682
Echt-Susteren Municipality32,26932,17232,26431,94731,744
Eijsden-Margraten Municipality25,81425,02624,94024,96725,898
Gennep Municipality16,82216,89017,38317,28017,038
Gulpen-Wittem Municipality15,52514,71214,49614,49714,204
Heerlen Municipality95,14989,67189,21287,50086,935
Horst aan de Maas Municipality. 40,85741,81441,66142,497
Kerkrade Municipality51,06548,33447,40946,52445,468
Landgraaf Municipality40,76838,74838,18637,45637,261
Leudal Municipality36,68936,74436,60036,24436,046
Maasgouw Municipality24,59724,54524,27223,76623,947
Maastricht Municipality122,161118,004119,664122,397120,182
Meerssen Municipality20,24519,74419,49519,06318,651
Mook en Middelaar Municipality7,9788,0847,9477,7627,910
Nederweert Municipality16,17116,66516,67816,77617,169
Peel en Maas Municipality42,30142,68843,18843,44843,658
Roerdalen Municipality21,56621,14221,23920,69920,602
Roermond Municipality53,76754,44655,59557,00558,806
Simpelveld Municipality11,50011,20610,95310,84410,481
Sittard-Geleen Municipality97,92395,69194,81493,72491,724
Stein (L.) Municipality26,42826,09125,70925,13424,876
Vaals Municipality10,8389,8389,8059,69410,082
Valkenburg aan de Geul Municipality17,88417,09917,02416,61816,364
Venlo Municipality99,541100,61599,793100,536101,984
Venray Municipality. 42,53042,78443,20243,706
Voerendaal Municipality13,14112,75712,66412,39712,464
Weert Municipality48,15148,30548,56348,91450,017
Nederland [ Netherlands ]Country15,985,53816,405,39916,655,79916,900,72617,474,693

Source: Statistics Netherlands (web).

Explanation: Provinces and municipalities in the boundaries of January 2021. 2021 population figures are preliminary. The 2021 figures of Boxtel, Oisterwijk, Tilburg and Vught are provisionally calculated.

Major studies of the Dutch

E. Altena, R. Smeding, K. van der Gaag, M. H. D. Larmuseau, R. Decorte, O. Lao, M. Kayser, T. Kraaijenbrink, and P. de Knijff. "The Dutch Y-chromosomal landscape." European Journal of Human Genetics. First published online on September 5, 2019. Forthcoming in print.
2,085 males from across the Netherlands had their Y chromosomes sampled for this study and they were compared with previous Flemish data from northern Belgium. A table within this study lists the following frequencies for particular Y chromosomes among these 2,085 Dutchmen: 57.79% carry R1b, 4.08% carry R1a, 27.82% carry I-M170, 3.45% carry J lineages of which J2-M172 was found in 2.69%, 2.69% carry G-M201, and 2.64% carry E lineages of which E1b-V13 was found in 1.58%. Excerpts from the Abstract:

Maarten H. D. Larmuseau, N. Vanderheyden, M. Jacobs, M. Coomans, L. Larno, and R. Decorte. "Micro-geographic distribution of Y-chromosomal variation in the central-western European region Brabant." Forensic Science International: Genetics 5:2 (March 2011): pages 95-99. First published online on October 29-30, 2010.
The researchers concentrated on the Brabant region that today encompasses three Belgian provinces and a Dutch province called Noord-Brabant (North Brabant). 477 males with deep paternal ancestry in this region were tested for their Y-DNA. Excerpts from the Abstract:

Brian P. McEvoy, Grant W. Montgomery, Allan F. McRae, Samuli Ripatti, Markus Perola, Tim D. Spector, Lynn Cherkas, Kourosh R. Ahmadi, Dorret Boomsma, Gonneke Willemsen, Jouke Jan Hottenga, Nancy L. Peterson, Patrik K. E. Magnusson, Kirsten Ohm Kyvik, Kaare Christensen, Jaako Kaprio, Kauko Heikkila, Aarno Palotie, Elisabeth Widen, Juha Muilu, Anne-Christine Syvanen, Ulrika Liljedahl, Orla Hardiman, Simon Cronin, Leena Peltonen, Nicholas G. Martin, and Peter M. Visscher. "Geographical structure and differential natural selection amongst North European populations." Genome Research 19 (2009): pages 804-814. First published online on March 5, 2009.
The entire genome SNP polymorphism was studied in 2099 people with origins in multiple Northern European countries, which was whittled down to 2051 people after further analysis of some of their backgrounds and genetic admixture. The Netherlands was one of those countries and a total of 284 Netherlands people participated. The paper notes that the genetics of the United Kingdom partly overlap with those of the Netherlands.

Maurice P. A. Zeegers, Frans van Poppel, Robert Vlietinck, Liesbeth Spruijt, and Harry Ostrer. "Founder mutations among the Dutch." European Journal of Human Genetics 12 (2004): pages 591-600. Published online on March 10, 2004. Excerpts from the Abstract:

Abdel Abdellaoui, Jouke-Jan Hottenga,1 Peter de Knijff, Michel G. Nivard, Xiangjun Xiao, Paul Scheet, Andrew Brooks, Erik A. Ehli, Yueshan Hu, Gareth E. Davies, James J. Hudziak, Patrick F. Sullivan, Toos van Beijsterveldt, Gonneke Willemsen, Eco J. de Geus, Brenda W. J. H. Penninx, and Dorret I. Boomsma. "Population structure, migration, and diversifying selection in the Netherlands." European Journal of Human Genetics 21:11 (November 2013): pages 1277-1285. First published online on March 27, 2013.
This autosomal DNA study found differences between Northern Dutch and Southern Dutch people and between Eastern Dutch and Western Dutch people and also found differences between Dutch in the middle of the country and other Dutch.

Lakshmi Chaitanya, Mannis van Oven, Silke Brauer, Bettina Zimmermann, Gabriela Huber, Catarina Xavier, Walther Parson, Peter de Knijff, and Manfred Kayser. "High-quality mtDNA control region sequences from 680 individuals sampled across the Netherlands to establish a national forensic mtDNA reference database." Forensic Science International Genetics 21 (March 2016): pages 158-167. First published online on December 10, 2015. Excerpts from the Abstract:

Oscar Lao, Eveline Altena, Christian Becker, Silke Brauer, Thirsa Kraaijenbrink, Mannis van Oven, Peter Nürnberg, Peter de Knijff, and Manfred Kayser. "Clinal distribution of human genomic diversity across the Netherlands despite archaeological evidence for genetic discontinuities in Dutch population history." Investigative Genetics 4:9 (2013). Published online on May 20, 2013. Results section:

The Genome of the Netherlands Consortium. "Whole-genome sequence variation, population structure and demographic history of the Dutch population." Nature Genetics 46 (2014): pages 818-825. Published electronically on June 29, 2014.
For this project, 250 pairs of Dutch parents and children had their whole genomes tested. The researchers found "fine-scale structure across" the Netherlands which was created in part by "multiple ancient migrations".

Ross P. Byrne, Wouter van Rheenen, Project MinE ALS GWAS Consortium, Leonard H. van den Berg, Jan H. Veldink, and Russell L. McLaughlin. "Dutch population structure across space, time and GWAS design." Nature Communications 11 (September 11, 2020): article number 4556.

Excerpts from the Abstract:

"[. ] Here we apply advanced haplotype sharing methods (ChromoPainter/fineSTRUCTURE) to study fine-grained population genetic structure and demographic change across the Netherlands using genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphism data (1,626 individuals) with associated geography (1,422 individuals). We identify 40 haplotypic clusters exhibiting strong north/south variation and fine-scale differentiation within provinces. Clustering is tied to country-wide ancestry gradients from neighbouring lands and to locally restricted gene flow across major Dutch rivers. North-south structure is temporally stable, with west-east differentiation more transient, potentially influenced by migrations during the middle ages. [. ]"

Excerpts from the Results section:

"[. ] we investigated possible admixture from outside demographic groups using GLOBETROTTER with 4514 European individuals representing modern proxies for admixing sources. Across the Dutch sample, significant admixture dating to 1088 CE (95% CI 1004-1111 CE) was inferred with the major contributing source best modelled by modern Germans and the minor source best modelled by southern European groups (France, Spain) [. ] Notably, a significant admixture event with a major Danish source was inferred between 759 and 1290 CE in the NHFG cluster group (representing Dutch northern seaboard provinces) this period spans a historical period of recorded Danish Viking contact and rule in northern Dutch territories."


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