List of Dutch inventions and discoveries

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Dutch-speaking people, in spite of their relatively small number, have a significant history of exploration, invention, innovation and discovery. The Netherlands and its people have made important contributions to civilization in the arts and humanities, architecture, science and technology, medicine, cartography, governance, economics and agriculture. Revolutionary Dutch inventions include advanced optical devices, timepieces, the first navigable submarine, the thermostat and mercury thermometer and Leyden jar.

In the Age of Discovery, the Dutch built ships and traveled to every corner of the world, leaving their language embedded in the names of places they visited. At one time, every inhabited continent in the world had a Dutch foothold or at least some connection to the Netherlands. Australia, for instance, while never a Dutch possession, had Dutch seamen first map the coastline. Australia was originally known as New Holland. Dutch exploratory voyages revealed vast new territories to Europeans. Dutch explorers and cartographers were pioneers in first systematic charting/mapping of the largely unknown southern-hemispheric heavens in the late 16th century.

The following list is composed of objects, processes or techniques that were invented by or discovered by people from the Netherlands and Dutch-speaking people from the former Southern Netherlands. Until the fall of Antwerp, the Dutch and Flemish were generally seen as one people.


Inventions and innovations[edit]

Arts and architecture[edit]

Movements and styles[edit]

De Stijl (Neo-Plasticism) (1917)[edit]

The De Stijl school proposed simplicity and abstraction, both in architecture and painting, by using only straight horizontal and vertical lines and rectangular forms. Furthermore, their formal vocabulary was limited to the primary colours, red, yellow, and blue and the three primary values, black, white and grey. De Stijl's principal members were painters Theo van Doesburg (1883–1931), Piet Mondrian (1872–1944), Vilmos Huszár (1884–1960), and Bart van der Leck (1876–1958) and architects Gerrit Rietveld (1888–1964), Robert van 't Hoff (1888–1979) and J.J.P. Oud (1890–1963).


Brabantine Gothic architecture (1300s)[edit]

Brabantine Gothic, occasionally called Brabantian Gothic, is a significant variant of Gothic architecture that is typical for the Low Countries. It surfaced in the first half of the 14th century at Saint Rumbold's Cathedral in the City of Mechelen. The Brabantine Gothic style originated with the advent of the Duchy of Brabant and spread across the Burgundian Netherlands.

Dutch-Flemish gable architecture (Netherlandish gabled roof) (1400s-1600s)[edit]
Frederiksborg Castle was built as a royal residence for King Christian IV of Denmark. The majority of the present castle was built between 1600-1620 in Dutch Renaissance style with sweeping gables, sandstone decorations.
The Great Armoury in Gdańsk with its typical Dutch style (stepped-gable red-brick facade ornamented with light sandstone bands), considered to be the one of the most notable examples of Dutch-Flemish Renaissance architecture.

The Dutch gable was a notable feature of the Dutch-Flemish Renaissance architecture (or Mannerist architecture) that spread to northern Europe from the Low Countries, arriving in Britain during the latter part of the 16th century. Notable castles/buildings including Frederiksborg Castle, Rosenborg Castle, Kronborg Castle, Børsen, Riga's House of the Blackheads and Gdańsk's Green Gate were built in Dutch-Flemish Renaissance style with sweeping gables, sandstone decorations and copper-covered roofs. Later Dutch gables with flowing curves became absorbed into Baroque architecture. Examples of Dutch-gabled buildings can be found in historic cities across Europe such as Potsdam, Friedrichstadt, Gdańsk and Gothenburg. The style spread beyond Europe, for example Barbados is well known for Dutch gables on its historic buildings. Dutch settlers in South Africa brought with them building styles from the Netherlands: Dutch gables, then adjusted to the Western Cape region where the style became known as Cape Dutch architecture. In the Americas and Northern Europe, the West End Collegiate Church (New York City, 1892), the Chicago Varnish Company Building (Chicago, 1895) and the Helsingør Station (Helsingør, Denmark, 1891) are typical examples of the Dutch-Flemish Renaissance Revival architecture in the late 19th century.

Netherlandish Mannerist architecture (1500s)[edit]
The Green Gate (Brama Zielona) is one of the most notable tourist attractions in Gdańsk, Poland. It was built between 1568-1571 in the Netherlandish/Dutch Mannerist architectural style.

Antwerp Mannerism is the name given to the style of a largely anonymous group of painters from Antwerp in the beginning of the 16th century. The style bore no direct relation to Renaissance or Italian Mannerism, but the name suggests a peculiarity that was a reaction to the classic style of the early Netherlandish painting. Antwerp Mannerism may also be used to describe the style of architecture, which is loosely Mannerist, developed in Antwerp by about 1540, which was then influential all over Northern Europe. The Green Gate (Brama Zielona) in Gdańsk, Poland, is a building which is inspired by the Antwerp City Hall. It was built between 1568-1571 by Regnier van Amsterdam and Hans Kramer to serve as the formal residence of the Polish monarchs when visiting Gdańsk.

Cape Dutch architecture (1650s)[edit]

Cape Dutch architecture is an architectural style found in the Western Cape of South Africa. The style was prominent in the early days (17th century) of the Cape Colony, and the name derives from the fact that the initial settlers of the Cape were primarily Dutch. The style has roots in mediaeval Netherlands, Germany, France and Indonesia. Houses in this style have a distinctive and recognisable design, with a prominent feature being the grand, ornately rounded gables, reminiscent of features in townhouses of Amsterdam built in the Dutch style.

Amsterdam School (Dutch Expressionist architecture) (1910s)[edit]

The Amsterdam School (Dutch: Amsterdamse School) flourished from 1910 through about 1930 in The Netherlands. The Amsterdam School movement is part of international Expressionist architecture, sometimes linked to German Brick Expressionism.

Rietveld Schröder House (De Stijl architecture) (1924)[edit]
The exterior of the Rietveld Schröder House. The Rietveld Schröder House (Rietveld Schröderhuis) is considered one of the icons of the Modern Movement in architecture. With its radical approach to design and the use of space, the Rietveld Schröderhuis occupies a seminal position in the development of architecture in the modern age.

The Rietveld Schröder House or Schröder House (Rietveld Schröderhuis in Dutch) in Utrecht was built in 1924 by Dutch architect Gerrit Rietveld. It became a listed monument in 1976 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000. The Rietveld Schröder House constitutes both inside and outside a radical break with tradition, offering little distinction between interior and exterior space. The rectilinear lines and planes flow from outside to inside, with the same colour palette and surfaces. Inside is a dynamic, changeable open zone rather than a static accumulation of rooms. The house is one of the best known examples of De Stijl architecture and arguably the only true De Stijl building.


Dutch door (1600s)[edit]
A Dutch door with the top half open, in South Africa

The Dutch door (also known as stable door or half door) is a type of door divided horizontally in such a fashion that the bottom half may remain shut while the top half opens. The initial purpose of this door was to keep animals out of farmhouses, while keeping children inside, yet allowing light and air to filter through the open top. This type of door was common in the Netherlands in the seventeenth century and appears in Dutch paintings of the period. They were commonly found in Dutch areas of New York and New Jersey (before the American Revolution) and in South Africa.

Red and Blue Chair (1917)[edit]
A Rietveld joint, also called a Cartesian node in furniture-making, is an overlapping joint of three battens in the three orthogonal directions. It was a prominent feature in the Red and Blue Chair that was designed by Gerrit Rietveld in 1917. Rietveld joints are inextricably linked with the early 20th century Dutch artistic movement called De Stijl (of which Gerrit Rietveld was a member).

The Red and Blue Chair was designed in 1917 by Gerrit Rietveld. It represents one of the first explorations by the De Stijl art movement in three dimensions. It features several Rietveld joints.

Zig-zag chair (1934)[edit]

The Zig Zag-chair was designed by Rietveld in 1934. It is a minimalist design without legs, made by 4 flat wooden tiles that are merged in a Z-shape using Dovetail joints. It was designed for the Rietveld Schröder House in Utrecht.

Visual arts[edit]

Modern oil-painting (1400s)[edit]
Signature of Jan van Eyck. Jan Van Eyck is often credited as the first master of oil painting.

Although oil paint was first used for Buddhist paintings by Indian and Chinese painters sometime between the fifth and tenth centuries, it did not gain notoriety until the 15th century. Its practice may have migrated westward during the Middle Ages. Oil paint eventually became the principal medium used for creating artworks as its advantages became widely known. The transition began with Early Netherlandish painting in northern Europe, and by the height of the Renaissance oil painting techniques had almost completely replaced tempera paints in the majority of Europe. Early Netherlandish painting (Jan van Eyck in particular) in the 15th century was the first to make oil the default painting medium, and to explore the use of layers and glazes, followed by the rest of Northern Europe, and only then Italy.[1][2][3][4] Early works were still panel paintings on wood, but around the end of the 15th century canvas became more popular, as it was cheaper, easier to transport, and allowed larger works.

Dutch realism / Netherlandish realism (1400s–1600s)[edit]

Two aspects of realism were rooted in at least two centuries of Netherlandish tradition: conspicuous textural imitation and a penchant for ordinary and exaggeratedly comic scenes. Two hundred years before the rise of literary realism, Dutch painters had already made an art of the everyday – pictures that served as a compelling model for the later novelists. By the mid-1800s, 17th-century Dutch painting figured virtually everywhere in the British and French fiction we esteem today as the vanguard of realism.

Pre-surrealism (1470s–1510s)[edit]

Hieronymus Bosch is considered one of the prime examples of pre-surrealism. The surrealists relied most on his insights. In the 20th century, Bosch's paintings (e.g. The Garden of Earthly Delights, The Haywain, The Temptation of St. Anthony and The Seven Deadly Sins and the Four Last Things) were cited by the Surrealists as precursors to their own visions.

Modern still-life painting (1500s–1600s)[edit]

Still-life painting as an independent genre or specialty first flourished in the Netherlands in the last quarter of the 16th century, and the English term derives from stilleven: still life, which is a calque, while Romance languages (as well as Greek, Polish, Russian and Turkish) tend to use terms meaning dead nature.

Naturalistic landscape painting (1500s–1600s)[edit]
The Windmill at Wijk by Jacob van Ruisdael (1670). It is a commonplace of art history that the so-called "naturalistic landscape painting" first emerged in Holland in the seventeenth century.

The term "landscape" derives from the Dutch word landschap, which originally meant "region, tract of land" but acquired the artistic connotation, "a picture depicting scenery on land" in the early 1500s. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the tradition of depicting pure landscapes declined and the landscape was seen only as a setting for religious and figural scenes. This tradition continued until the 16th century when artists began to view the landscape as a subject in its own right. The Dutch Golden Age painting of the 17th century saw the dramatic growth of landscape painting, in which many artists specialized, and the development of extremely subtle realist techniques for depicting light and weather.

Genre painting (1500s)[edit]

The Flemish Renaissance painter Pieter Brueghel the Elder chose peasants and their activities as the subject of many paintings. Genre painting flourished in Northern Europe in his wake. Adriaen van Ostade, David Teniers, Aelbert Cuyp, Jan Steen, Johannes Vermeer and Pieter de Hooch were among many painters specializing in genre subjects in the Netherlands during the 17th century. The generally small scale of these artists' paintings was appropriate for their display in the homes of middle class purchasers.

Modern marine painting (1600s)[edit]
The genre of marine painting as a distinct category separate from landscape is attributed to Hendrick Cornelisz Vroom from early in the seventeenth century.

Marine painting began in keeping with medieval Christian art tradition. Such works portrayed the sea only from a bird's eye view, and everything, even the waves, was organized and symmetrical. The viewpoint, symmetry and overall order of these early paintings underlined the organization of the heavenly cosmos from which the earth was viewed. Later Dutch artists such as Hendrick Cornelisz Vroom, Cornelius Claesz, Abraham Storck, Jan Porcellis, Simon de Vlieger, Willem van de Velde the Elder, Willem van de Velde the Younger and Ludolf Bakhuizen developed new methods for painting, often from a horizontal point of view, with a lower horizon and more focus on realism than symmetry.

Vanitas (1600s)[edit]

The term vanitas is most often associated with still life paintings that were popular in seventeenth-century Dutch art, produced by the artists such as Pieter Claesz. Common vanitas symbols included skulls (a reminder of the certainty of death); rotten fruit (decay); bubbles, (brevity of life and suddenness of death); smoke, watches, and hourglasses, (the brevity of life); and musical instruments (the brevity and ephemeral nature of life). Fruit, flowers and butterflies can be interpreted in the same way, while a peeled lemon, as well as the typical accompanying seafood was, like life, visually attractive but with a bitter flavor.

Civil group portraiture (1600s)[edit]
Syndics of the Drapers' Guild by Rembrandt (1662). The civil group portraiture was practically a Dutch invention.

Group portraits were produced in great numbers during the Baroque period, particularly in the Netherlands. Unlike in the rest of Europe, Dutch artists received no commissions from the Calvinist Church which had forbidden such images or from the aristocracy which was virtually non-existent. Instead, commissions came from civic and businesses associations. Dutch painter Frans Hals used fluid brush strokes of vivid color to enliven his group portraits, including those of the civil guard to which he belonged. Rembrandt benefitted greatly from such commissions and from the general appreciation of art by bourgeois clients, who supported portraiture as well as still-life and landscape painting. Notably, the world's first significant art and dealer markets flourished in Holland at that time.

Tronie (1600s)[edit]
Girl with a Pearl Earring (1665), Vermeer's masterpiece is often considered as a “tronie”.

In the 17th century, Dutch painters (Hals, Rembrandt, Jan Lievens and Johannes Vermeer) began to create uncommissioned paintings called tronies that focused on the features and/or expressions of people who were not intended to be identifiable. Tronies were not necessarily defined by their moral or narrative content as were conventional paintings of the period. They were conceived more for art's sake than to satisfy conventions.

Rembrandt lighting (1600s)[edit]
The typical Rembrandt lighting setup. Rembrandt lighting technique is used by many modern photographers and cinematographers.

Rembrandt lighting is a lighting technique that is used in studio portrait photography. It can be achieved using one light and a reflector, or two lights, and is popular because it is capable of producing images which appear both natural and compelling with a minimum of equipment. Rembrandt lighting is characterized by an illuminated triangle under the eye of the subject, on the less illuminated side of the face. It is named for the Dutch painter Rembrandt, who often used this type of lighting in his portrait paintings.

Pronkstilleven (1650s)[edit]

Pronkstilleven (pronk still life or ostentatious still life) is a type of banquet piece whose distinguishing feature is a quality of ostentation and splendor; they usually depict one or more especially precious objects. Although the term is a post-17th century invention, this type is characteristic of the second half of the seventeenth century, developed by still life masters Jan Davidsz. de Heem, Abraham van Beijeren, Willem Claeszoon Heda and Willem Kalf.

Pre-expressionism (1880s)[edit]

Vincent van Gogh's work is most often associated with Post-Impressionism, but his innovative style had a vast influence on 20th-century art and established what would later be known as Expressionism, also greatly influencing fauvism and early abstractionism.

Graphic arts (1920s–1960s)[edit]

Dutch graphic artist Maurits Cornelis Escher, usually referred to as M. C. Escher, is known for his often mathematically inspired woodcuts, lithographs, and mezzotints. These feature impossible constructions, explorations of infinity, architecture and tessellations. His special way of thinking and rich graphic work has had a continuous influence in science and art, as well as permeating popular culture. His ideas have been used in fields as diverse as psychology, philosophy, logic, crystallography and topology. His art is based on mathematical principles like tessellations, spherical geometry, the Möbius strip, unusual perspectives, visual paradoxes and illusions, different kinds of symmetries and impossible objects. Gödel, Escher, Bach by Douglas Hofstadter discusses the ideas of self-reference and strange loops, drawing on a wide range of artistic and scientific work, including Escher's art and the music of J. S. Bach, to illustrate ideas behind Gödel's incompleteness theorems.

Miffy (Nijntje) (1955)[edit]

Miffy (Nijntje) is a small female rabbit in a series of picture books drawn and written by Dutch artist Dick Bruna.


Holstein Friesian cattle (100s BC)[edit]

A typical Holstein-Friesian cow. Holstein cattle, a breed that now dominates the global dairy industry, are most quickly recognized by their distinctive color markings and outstanding milk production.

Holsteins or Holstein-Friesians are a breed of cattle known today as the world's highest-production dairy animals. Originating in Europe, Friesians were bred in the two north Holland provinces of North Holland and Friesland, and Schleswig-Holstein in what became Germany. The animals were the regional cattle of the Frisians and the Saxons. The Dutch breeders bred and oversaw the development of the breed with the goal of obtaining animals that could best use grass, the area's most abundant resource. Over the centuries, the result was a high-producing, black-and-white dairy cow. Its color pattern came from artificial selection by the breeders.[5]

Orange-coloured carrot (1500s)[edit]

Carrots can be selectively bred to produce different colours.

Through history, carrots have been white, black, purple, red, brown, yellow or orange. That latter had never been the dominant colour. Orange-coloured carrots appeared in the Netherlands in the 16th century. Dutch farmers in Hoorn bred the color. They succeeded by cross-breeding pale yellow with red carrots. The colour choice may have been made to gain favour with the House of Orange, who led the Dutch Revolt against the Spanish Empire and later became the Dutch Royal family.[6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17] Beta-Carotene, found in orange carrots is converted into vitamin A in the body by all animals except cats.

Groasis Waterboxx (2010)[edit]

The Groasis Waterboxx is a device designed to help grow trees in dry areas. It was developed by former flower exporter Pieter Hoff, and won Popular Science's "Green Tech Best of What's New" Innovation of the year award for 2010.


Tinbergen's four questions (1963)[edit]

Tinbergen's four questions, named after Nikolaas Tinbergen (one of the founders of modern ethology), are complementary categories of explanations for behavior. He suggested that an integrative understanding of behavior must include both a proximate and ultimate (functional) analysis of behavior, as well as an understanding of both phylogenetic/developmental history and the operation of current mechanisms.

Cartography and geography[edit]

Mercator projection (1569)[edit]

The 1569 Mercator map of the world (Nova et Aucta Orbis Terrae Descriptio ad Usum Navigantium Emendate Accommodata).

The Mercator projection is a cylindrical map projection presented by the Flemish geographer and cartographer Gerardus Mercator in 1569. It became the standard map projection for nautical purposes because of its ability to represent lines of constant course, known as rhumb lines or loxodromes, as straight segments which conserve the angles with the meridians.

First modern world atlas (1570)[edit]

Ortelius world map, 1570 (Theatrum Orbis Terrarum)

Flemish geographer and cartographer Abraham Ortelius generally recognized as the creator of the world's first modern atlas, the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum (Theatre of the World). The Ortelius atlas consisted of a collection of uniform map sheets and sustaining text bound into book form, for which copper printing plates were specifically engraved. It is sometimes referred to as the summary of sixteenth-century cartography.

First printed nautical atlas (1584)[edit]

The first printed atlas of nautical charts (De Spieghel der Zeevaerdt or The Mirror of Navigation / The Mariner's Mirror) was produced by Lucas Janszoon Waghenaer in Leiden. This atlas was the first attempt to systematically codify nautical maps. The English translation of Waghenaer's work was published in 1588 and became so popular that any volume of sea charts soon became known as a "waggoner".

Continental drift hypothesis (1596)[edit]

The speculation that continents might have 'drifted' was first put forward by Abraham Ortelius in 1596. The concept was independently and more fully developed by Alfred Wegener in 1912. Because Wegener's publications were widely available in German and English and because he adduced geological support for the idea, he is credited by most geologists as the first to recognize the possibility of continental drift. During the 1960s geophysical and geological evidence for seafloor spreading at mid-oceanic ridges established continental drift as the standard theory or continental origin and an ongoing global mechanism.

Chemicals and materials[edit]

Bow dye (1630)[edit]

While making a coloured liquid for a thermometer, Cornelis Drebbel dropped a flask of Aqua regia on a tin window sill, and discovered that stannous chloride makes the color of carmine much brighter and more durable. Though Drebbel himself never made much from his work, his daughters Anna and Catharina and his sons-in-law Abraham and Johannes Sibertus Kuffler set up a successful dye works. One was set up in 1643 in Bow, London, and the resulting color was called bow dye.

Dyneema (1979)[edit]

Dutch chemical company DSM invented and patented the Dyneema in 1979. Dyneema fibres have been in commercial production since 1990 at their plant at Heerlen, the Netherlands. These fibers are manufactured by means of a gel-spinning process that combines extreme strength with incredible softness. Dyneema fibres, based on ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWPE), is used in many applications in markets such as life protection, shipping, fishing, offshore, sailing, medical and textiles.

Communication and multimedia[edit]

Compact cassette (1962)[edit]

Compact Cassette

In 1962 Philips invented the compact audio cassette medium for audio storage, introducing it in Europe in August 1963 (at the Berlin Radio Show) and in the United States (under the Norelco brand) in November 1964, with the trademark name Compact Cassette.[18][19][20][21][22]

Laserdisc (1969)[edit]

Laserdisc technology, using a transparent disc,[23] was invented by David Paul Gregg in 1958 (and patented in 1961 and 1990).[24] By 1969, Philips developed a videodisc in reflective mode, which has great advantages over the transparent mode. MCA and Philips decided to join forces. They first publicly demonstrated the videodisc in 1972. Laserdisc entered the market in Atlanta, on 15 December 1978, two years after the VHS VCR and four years before the CD, which is based on Laserdisc technology. Philips produced the players and MCA made the discs.

Compact disc (1979)[edit]

Compact Disc

The compact disc was jointly developed by Philips (Joop Sinjou) and Sony (Toshitada Doi). In the early 1970s, Philips' researchers started experiments with "audio-only" optical discs, and at the end of the 1970s, Philips, Sony, and other companies presented prototypes of digital audio discs.

Bluetooth (1990s)[edit]

A typical Bluetooth mobile phone headset

Bluetooth, a low-energy, peer-to-peer wireless technology was originally developed by Dutch electrical engineer Jaap Haartsen and Swedish engineer Sven Mattisson in the 1990s, working at Ericcson in Lund, Sweden. It became a global standard of short distance wireless connection.

Wi-fi (1990s)[edit]

In 1991, NCR Corporation/AT&T Corporation invented the precursor to 802.11 in Nieuwegein, The Netherlands. Dutch electrical engineer Vic Hayes chaired IEEE 802.11 committee for 10 years, which was set up in 1990 to establish a wireless networking standard. He has been called the father of Wi-Fi (the brand name for products using IEEE 802.11 standards) for his work on IEEE 802.11 (802.11a & 802.11b) standard in 1997.

DVD (1995)[edit]

The DVD optical disc storage format was invented and developed by Philips and Sony in 1995.

Ambilight (2002)[edit]

Ambilight, short for "ambient lighting", is a lighting system for televisions developed by Philips in 2002.

Blu-ray (2006)[edit]

Philips and Sony in 1997 and 2006 respectively, launched the Blu-ray video recording/playback standard.

Computer science and information technology[edit]

Dijkstra's algorithm (1956)[edit]

Dijkstra's algorithm, conceived by Dutch computer scientist Edsger Dijkstra in 1956 and published in 1959, is a graph search algorithm that solves the single-source shortest path problem for a graph with non-negative edge path costs, producing a shortest path tree. This algorithm is often used in routing and as a part of other graph algorithms.

Semaphore (programming) (1965)[edit]

The semaphore concept was invented by Dijkstra in 1965 and the concept has found widespread use in a variety of operating systems.

Dekker's algorithm (1965)[edit]

Dekker's algorithm is the first known correct solution to the mutual exclusion problem in concurrent programming. Dijkstra attributed the solution to Dutch mathematician Theodorus Dekker in his manuscript on cooperating sequential processes. It allows two threads to share a single-use resource without conflict, using only shared memory for communication. Dekker's algorithm is the first published software-only, two-process mutual exclusion algorithm.

Van Wijngaarden grammar (1968)[edit]

Van Wijngaarden grammar (also vW-grammar or W-grammar) is a two-level grammar that provides a technique to define potentially infinite context-free grammars in a finite number of rules. The formalism was invented by Adriaan van Wijngaarden to rigorously define some syntactic restrictions that previously had to be formulated in natural language, despite their formal content. Typical applications are the treatment of gender and number in natural language syntax and the well-definedness of identifiers in programming languages. The technique was used and developed in the definition of the programming language ALGOL 68. It is an example of the larger class of affix grammars.

Structured programming (1968)[edit]

In 1968, computer programming was in a state of crisis. Dijkstra was one of a small group of academics and industrial programmers who advocated a new programming style to improve the quality of programs. Dijkstra coined the phrase "structured programming" and during the 1970s this became the new programming orthodoxy.

Eight-to-fourteen modulation (1985)[edit]

EFM (Eight-to-Fourteen Modulation) was invented by Dutch electrical engineer Kees A. Schouhamer Immink in 1985. EFM is a data encoding technique – formally, a channel code – used by CDs, laserdiscs and pre-Hi-MD MiniDiscs.

Python programming language (1989)[edit]

Python was conceived in the late 1980s and its implementation was started in December 1989 by Guido van Rossum.

Vim text editor (1991)[edit]

Vim is a text editor written by the Dutch free software programmer Bram Moolenaar and first released publicly in 1991. Based on the Vi editor common to Unix-like systems, Vim carefully separated the user interface from editing functions. This allowed it to be used both from a command line interface and as a standalone application in a graphical user interface.

EFMPlus (1995)[edit]

EFMPlus is the channel code used in DVDs and SACDs, a more efficient successor to EFM used in CDs. It was created by Dutch electrical engineer Kees A. Schouhamer Immink, who also designed EFM. It is 6% less efficient than Toshiba's SD code, which resulted in a capacity of 4.7 gigabytes instead of SD's original 5 GB. The advantage of EFMPlus is its superior resilience against disc damage such as scratches and fingerprints.


Corporate business model (multinational, public limited liability, join-stock company) (1602)[edit]

One of the oldest known stock certificates, issued by the VOC chamber of Enkhuizen, dated 9 Sep 1606
A bond from the Dutch East India Company, dating from 7 November 1623

The Dutch East India Company (VOC) was the first corporation to issue shares of stock and what evolved into corporate bonds.[25][26][27][28][29]

Many economic and political historians consider the Dutch East India Company (VOC) as the most valuable, powerful and influential company/corporation in world history. With a value of 78 million Dutch guilders in 1637, adjusted to 2012 dollars VOC was worth $7.4 trillion.
VOC monogram formerly above the entrance to the Castle of Good Hope.

The Dutch East India Company was the world's first corporation to operate in many geographies, making it the first multinational corporation.[30][31][32]

Megacorporation (1602)[edit]

A coin (duit) minted in 1744 by the VOC.

The Dutch East India Company was arguably the first megacorporation, possessing quasi-governmental powers, including the ability to wage war, imprison and execute convicts, negotiate treaties, coin money and establish colonies.

Dutch auction (1600s)[edit]

A Dutch auction is also known as an open descending price auction. Named after the famous auctions of Dutch tulip bulbs in the 17th century, it is based on a pricing system devised by Nobel prize winning economist William Vickrey. In the traditional Dutch auction, the auctioneer begins with a high asking price which is lowered until some participant is willing to accept the auctioneer's price. The winning participant pays the last announced price. Dutch auction is also sometimes used to describe online auctions where several identical goods are sold simultaneously to an equal number of high bidders. In addition to cut flower sales in the Netherlands, Dutch auctions have also been used for perishable commodities such as fish and tobacco.

First large-scale open art market (1600s)[edit]

The Dutch Republic was the birth of the modern art market. Until the 17th century, commissioning works of art was largely the preserve of the church, monarchs and aristocrats. The emergence of a powerful and wealthy middle class in Holland, though, produced a radical change in patronage as the new Dutch bourgeoisie bought art. For the first time, the direction of art was shaped by relatively broadly-based demand rather than religious dogma or royal whim, and the result was a market which today's dealers and collectors would find familiar. With the creation of the first large-scale open art market, prosperous Dutch merchants, artisans, and civil servants bought paintings and prints in unprecedented numbers. Foreign visitors were astonished that even modest members of Dutch society such as farmers and bakers owned multiple works of art. Dutch 17th-century art saw the rise of new subjects, as landscapes, still lifes, and scenes of daily life replaced formerly dominant religious images and scenes from classical mythology.[33]

First large-scale foreign direct investment (1600s)[edit]

The construction in 1619 of a train-oil factory on Smeerenburg in the Spitsbergen islands by the Noordsche Compagnie, and the acquisition in 1626 of Manhattan Island by the Dutch West India Company are referred to as the earliest cases of foreign direct investment (FDI) in Dutch and world histor. Throughout the seventeenth century, the Dutch East India Company (VOC) and the Dutch West India Company (WIC) also began to create trading settlements around the globe. Their trading activities generated enormous wealth, making the Dutch Republic one of the most prosperous countries of that time. The Dutch Republic's extensive arms trade occasioned an episode in the industrial development of early-modern Sweden, where arms merchants like Louis de Geer and the Trip brothers, invested in iron mines and iron works, another early example of foreign direct investment.

First capitalist economy (1600s)[edit]

Economic historians consider the Netherlands as the first predominantly capitalist country.[34][35][36] In Early modern Europe it featured the wealthiest trading city (Amsterdam) and the first full-time stock exchange. The traders created insurance and retirement funds, along with less benign phenomena, such as the boom-bust cycle, the world's first asset-inflation bubble, the Tulip mania of 1636–1637. World-systems theorists (including Immanuel Wallerstein and Giovanni Arrighi) often consider the economic primacy of the Dutch Republic in the 17th century as the first capitalist hegemony[37][38][39][40][41][42][43] [44] in world history (followed by hegemonies of the United Kingdom in the 19th century and the United States in the 20th century).

Dynamic macroeconomic model (1936)[edit]

Dutch economist Jan Tinbergen developed the first national comprehensive macroeconomic model, which he first built for the Netherlands and after World War II later applied to the United States and the United Kingdom.

Fairtrade certification (1988)[edit]

The concept of fair trade has been around for over 40 years, but a formal labelling scheme emerged only in the 1980s. At the initiative of Mexican coffee farmers, the world's first Fairtrade labelling organisation, Stichting Max Havelaar, was launched in the Netherlands on 15 November 1988 by Nico Roozen, Frans van der Hoff and Dutch ecumenical development agency Solidaridad. It was branded "Max Havelaar" after a fictional Dutch character who opposed the exploitation of coffee pickers in Dutch colonies.


First official stock exchange (1602)[edit]

Courtyard of the Amsterdam Stock Exchange by Emanuel de Witte, 1653

The Amsterdam Stock Exchange is considered the oldest in the world. It was established in 1602 by the Dutch East India Company for dealings in its printed stocks and bonds. Here, the Dutch also pioneered stock futures, stock options, short selling, debt-equity swaps, merchant banking, bonds, unit trusts and other speculative instruments. Also, a speculative bubble that crashed in 1695 and a change in fashion that unfolded and reverted in time with the market.

Initial public offering (1602)[edit]

In 1602, the Dutch East India Company (VOC) became the first modern company to issue shares to the public, thus launching the first initial public offering (IPO). The VOC held the first public offering of shares in history shortly after its founding.

Central bank (1609)[edit]

A painting by Pieter Saenredam of the old town hall in Amsterdam where the Wisselbank was founded in 1609. The Amsterdamsche Wisselbank (Amsterdam Exchange Bank), the precursor to, if not the first modern central bank.

The Bank of Amsterdam (Amsterdamsche Wisselbank) was an early bank, vouched for by the city of Amsterdam, established in 1609, the forerunner to, if not the first true central bank.

Short selling (1609)[edit]

Financial innovation in Amsterdam took many forms. In 1609, investors led by Isaac Le Maire formed history's first bear syndicate to engage in short selling, but their coordinated trading had only a modest impact in driving down share prices, which tended to be robust throughout the 17th century.

First European banknote (1661)[edit]

In 1656, King Charles X Gustav of Sweden signed two charters creating two private banks under the directorship of Johan Palmstruch (though before having been ennobled he was called Johan Wittmacher or Hans Wittmacher), a Riga-born merchant of Dutch origin. Palmstruch modeled the banks on those of Amsterdam where he had become a burgher. The first real European banknote was issued in 1661 by the Stockholms Banco of Johan Palmstruch, a private bank under state charter (precursor to the Sveriges Riksbank, the central bank of Sweden).

First stock trading handbook (1688)[edit]

Joseph de la Vega, also known as Joseph Penso de la Vega, was an Amsterdam trader from a Spanish Jewish family and a prolific writer as well as a successful businessman. His 1688 book Confusion de Confusiones (Confusion of Confusions) explained the workings of the city's stock market. It was the earliest book about stock trading, taking the form of a dialogue between a merchant, a shareholder and a philosopher. The book described a market that was sophisticated but also prone to excesses, and de la Vega offered advice to his readers on such topics as the unpredictability of market shifts and the importance of patience in investment.

First global financial centre (1600s)[edit]

In the Early Modern period (the seventeenth century in particular), Amsterdam, despite its small size and population, was the first ever global financial centre. Amsterdam – unlike its predecessors Bruges, Antwerp, Genoa, and Venice – controlled crucial resources and markets directly, sending its fleets to all quarters of the world.

Modern financial system (1600s)[edit]

In the early 1600s, the Dutch revolutionized domestic and international finance by inventing common stock — that of the Dutch East India Company and founding a proto-central bank], the Wisselbank or Bank of Amsterdam. In 1609, the Dutch had already had a government bond market for some decades. Shortly thereafter, the Dutch Republic had in place, in one form or another, all of the key components of a modern financial system: formalized public credit, stable money, elements of a banking system, a central bank of sorts and securities markets. The Dutch Republic went on to become that century's leading economy.

Food and drink[edit]

Doughnut (1600s)[edit]

Many people believe it was the Dutch who invented doughnuts. A Dutch snack made from potatoes had a round shape like a ball, but, like Gregory's dough balls, needed a little longer time when fried to cook the inside thoroughly. These potato-balls developed into doughnuts when the Dutch finally made them into ring-shapes reduce frying time.

Gin jenever (1650)[edit]

A selection of bottled gins offered at a liquor store.

Believed to have been invented by a Dutch chemist and alchemist named Franciscus Sylvius, jenever (a.k.a genever or Dutch gin) was first sold as a medicine.

Stroopwafel (1780s)[edit]

A stroopwafel (also known as syrup waffle, treacle waffle or caramel waffle) is a waffle made from two thin layers of baked batter with a caramel-like syrup filling the middle. They were first made in Gouda in the 1780s. The traditional way to eat the stroopwafel is to place it atop of a drinking vessel with a hot beverage (coffee, tea or chocolate) inside that fits the diameter of the waffle. The heat from the rising steam warms the waffle and slightly softens the inside and makes the waffle soft on one side while still crispy on the other.

Cocoa powder (1828)[edit]

A bowl of cocoa powder

In 1820s, Casparus van Houten, Sr. patented an inexpensive method for pressing the fat from roasted cocoa beans. The center of the bean, known as the "nib", contains an average of 54 percent cocoa butter, which is a natural fat. Van Houten's machine – a hydraulic press – reduced the cocoa butter content by nearly half. This created a "cake" that could be pulverized into cocoa powder, which was to become the basis of all chocolate products.[45][46][47][48][49][50][51][52][53][54][55]

Dutched cocoa (1828)[edit]

Dutch-processed chocolate or Dutched chocolate is chocolate that has been treated with an alkalizing agent to modify its color and give it a milder taste compared to "natural cocoa" extracted with the Broma process. It forms the basis for much of modern chocolate, and is used in ice cream, hot cocoa, and baking. The Dutch process was developed in the early 19th century by Dutch chocolate maker Coenraad Johannes van Houten, whose father Casparus is responsible for the development of the method of removing fat from cacao beans by hydraulic press around 1828, forming the basis for cocoa powder.

Law and jurisprudence[edit]

Freedom of the Seas (1609)[edit]

In 1609, Hugo Grotius, famous Dutch jurist who is generally known as the father of modern international law, published his book Mare Liberum (The Free Sea), which first formulated the notion of freedom of the seas. He developed this idea into a legal principle. According to his view, everyone had a right under international law to sail freely and trade with others. His work sparked a debate in the seventeenth century over whether states could exclude the vessels of other states from certain waters. Grotius won this debate, as freedom of the seas became a universally-recognized legal principle, associated with concepts such as communication, trade and peace.

Modern international law (1625 )[edit]

The publication of De jure belli ac pacis (English: On the Law of War and Peace), another work by Hugo Grotius in 1625 marked the emergence of international law as an 'autonomous legal science'. Grotius' truly distinctive contribution to international law was that he 'secularized' it by giving it a basis outside the context of a particular religious tradition.

International relations (1625)[edit]

The Grotian conception of international society became the most distinctive characteristic of the internationalist (or rationalist) tradition in international relations. This is why it is also called the Grotian tradition. According to it international politics takes place within international society in which states are bound not only by rules of prudence or expediency but also of morality and law. Grotius was arguably not the first to formulate such a doctrine. However, he was first to expressely and clearly define the idea of one society of states, governed not by force or warfare but by laws and mutual agreement to enforce those laws. As Hedley Bull declared: ‘The idea of international society which Grotius propounded was given concrete expression in the Peace of Westphalia’, affirming that ‘Grotius must be considered the intellectual father of this first general peace settlement of modern times’.[56]

Cannon shot rule (1702)[edit]

By the end of the seventeenth century, support was growing for some limitation to the seaward extent of territorial waters. What emerged was the so-called "cannon shot rule", which acknowledged the idea that property rights could be acquired by physical occupation and in practice to the effective range of shore-based cannon: about three nautical miles. The rule was long associated with Cornelis van Bijnkershoek, a Dutch jurist who, especially in his De Dominio Maris Dissertatio (1702), advocated a middle ground between the extremes of Mare Liberum and John Selden's Mare Clausum, accepting both the freedom of states to navigate and exploit the resources the of the high seas and a right of coastal states to assert wide-ranging rights in a limited marine territory.

Marriage equality (2001)[edit]

In 2001, the Netherlands became the first country in the world to legally recognize (legalize) same-sex marriage, the right of any two adults to enter into marriage, regardless of their respective genders.


Pendulum clock (first high-precision clock) (1656)[edit]

The first pendulum clock. From its invention in 1656 by Christiaan Huygens until the 1930s, the pendulum clock was the world's most precise timekeeper, accounting for its widespread use.
Spring driven pendulum clock, designed by Huygens, built by instrument maker Salomon Coster (1657), and manuscript Horologium Oscillatorium

A pendulum clock uses a pendulum's arc to mark intervals of time. From their invention until about 1930, the most accurate clocks were pendulum clocks. Pendulum clocks cannot operate on vehicles or ships at sea, because the accelerations disrupt the pendulum's motion, causing inaccuracies. The pendulum clock was invented by Christian Huygens in 1656, based on the pendulum introduced by Galileo Galilei. Pendulum clocks remained the mechanism of choice for accurate timekeeping for centuries, with F. M. Fedchenko's observatory clocks produced from after World War II up to around 1960 marking the end of the pendulum era as a time standard. Pendulum clocks remain popular for domestic, decorative and antique use.[57][58][59][60][61][62][63][64][65][66]

Spiral-hairspring watch (first high-precision watch) (1675)[edit]

Drawing of one of his first balance springs, attached to a balance wheel, by Christiaan Huygens, published in his letter in the Journal des Sçavants of 25 February 1675. The application of the spiral balance spring for watches ushered in a new era of accuracy for portable timekeepers, similar to that which the pendulum had introduced for clocks.

Some dispute remains as to whether British scientist Robert Hooke (his was a straight spring) or Dutch scientist Christiaan Huygens was the actual inventor of the balance spring. Huygens was clearly the first to successfully implement a spiral balance spring in a portable timekeeper. This is significant because up to that point the pendulum was the most reliable.[62][64][67][68][69][70][71][72][73][74][75][76]

Mercury thermometer (first accurate thermometer) (1714)[edit]

A medical mercury-in-glass maximum thermometer. Fahrenheit's mercury-in-glass thermometer was far more reliable and accurate than any that had existed before, and the mercury thermometers in use today are made in the way Fahrenheit devised.

In 1714, Danzig-born, German-Dutch scientist Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit invented the mercury thermometer in Amsterdam.[77][78][79][80][81][82][83][84] Fahrenheit had settled in Amsterdam in 1701 before travelling around Europe, meeting instrument makers and scientists. He returned to Amsterdam in 1717. He published his method for thermometer construction in the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London in 1724.

Fahrenheit scale (first standardized temperature scale) (1724)[edit]

Fahrenheit is a temperature scale based on one namesake Fahrenheit proposed in 1724. The Fahrenheit scale was the first widely used temperature scale. By the end of the 20th century, most countries used the Celsius scale rather than the Fahrenheit scale, though Canada retained it as a supplementary scale used alongside Celsius. Fahrenheit remains the official scale for Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, Belize, the Bahamas, Palau and the United States and associated territories.

Snellen chart (1862)[edit]

Typical Snellen chart to estimate visual acuity

The Snellen chart is an eye chart used by eye care professionals and others to measure visual acuity. Snellen charts are named after Dutch ophthalmologist Hermann Snellen who developed the chart in 1862. Vision scientists now use a variation of this chart, designed by Ian Bailey and Jan Lovie.

String galvanometer (1902)[edit]

Previous to the string galvanometer, scientists used a machine called the capillary electrometer to measure the heart's electrical activity, but this device was unable to produce results at a diagnostic level. Dutch physiologist Willem Einthoven developed the string galvanometer in the early 20th century, publishing the first registration of its use to record an electrocardiogram in a Festschrift book in 1902. The first human electrocardiogram was recorded in 1887, however only in 1901 was a quantifiable result obtained from the string galvanometer.

Schilt photometer (1922)[edit]

In 1922, Dutch astronomer Jan Schilt invented the Schilt photometer, a device that measures the light output of stars and, indirectly, their distances.


Clinical electrocardiography (1902)[edit]

ECG as done by Willem Einthoven

In the 19th century it became clear that the heart generated electric currents. The first to systematically approach the heart from an electrical point-of-view was Augustus Waller, working in St Mary's Hospital in Paddington, London. In 1911 he saw little clinical application for his work. The breakthrough came when Einthoven, working in Leiden, used his more sensitive string galvanometer, than the capillary electrometer that Waller used. Einthoven assigned the letters P, Q, R, S and T to the various deflections that it measured and described the electrocardiographic features of a number of cardiovascular disorders. He was awarded the 1924 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for his discovery.[85][86][87][88][89][90][91][92]

First European blood bank (1940)[edit]

When German bombers attacked The Hague in 1940 while Willem Johan Kolff was there, he organised the first blood bank in continental Europe.

First practical artificial kidney (1943)[edit]

Kolff's artificial kidney

An artificial kidney is a machine and its related devices which clean blood for patients who have an acute or chronic failure of their kidneys. The first artificial kidney was developed by Dutchman Willem Johan Kolff. The procedure of cleaning the blood by this means is called dialysis, a type of renal replacement therapy that is used to provide an artificial replacement for lost kidney function due to renal failure. It is a life support treatment and does not treat disease.

Artificial heart (1957)[edit]

On 12 December 1957, Kolff implanted an artificial heart into a dog at Cleveland Clinic. The dog lived for 90 minutes. In 1967, Dr. Kolff left Cleveland Clinic to start the Division of Artificial Organs at the University of Utah and pursue his work on the artificial heart. Under his supervision, a team of surgeons, chemists, physicists and bioengineers developed an artificial heart and made it ready for industrial production. To help manage his many endeavors, Dr. Kolff assigned project managers. Each project was named after its manager. Graduate student Robert Jarvik was the project manager for the artificial heart, which was subsequently renamed the Jarvik-7. Based on lengthy animal trials, this first artificial heart was successfully implanted into the thorax of patient Barney Clark in December 1982. Clark survived 112 days with the device.


House of Orange-Nassau's military reforms (1590s–1600s)[edit]

Dutch States Army musketeer by Jacob de Gheyn II from his Wapenhandelinge

The early modern Military Revolution began with reforms inaugurated by Prince Maurice of Nassau with his cousins Count Willem Lodewijk of Nassau-Dillenburg and Count John VII of Nassau during the 1590s. Maurice developed a system of linear formations (linear tactics), discipline, drill and volley fire based on classical Roman methods that made his army more efficient and his command and control more effective. He also developed a 43-step drill for firing the musket that was included in an illustrated weapons manual by Jacob de Gheyn II in 1607 (Wapenhandelinghe or Exerise of Arms). This became known as the Dutch drill. It was widely read and emulated in the rest of Europe. Adopting and perfecting the techniques pioneered by Maurice of Nassau several decades earlier, Gustavus Adolphus repeatedly proved his techniques by defeating the armies of Spain (1630–1632), an empire with resources fantastically larger than Sweden's during the Thirty Years' War.[93][94][95][96][97][98][99][100]

Norden bombsight (1920s)[edit]

The Norden bombsight was designed by Carl Norden, a Dutch engineer educated in Switzerland who emigrated to the U.S. in 1904. In 1920, he started work on the Norden bombsight for the United States Navy. The first bombsight was produced in 1927. It was essentially an analog computer, and bombardiers were trained in great secrecy on how to use it. The device was used to drop bombs accurately from an aircraft, supposedly accurate enough to hit a 100-foot circle from an altitude of 21,000 feet—but under actual combat situations, such an accuracy was never achieved.

Submarine snorkel (1939)[edit]

A submarine snorkel is a device that allows a submarine to operate submerged while still taking in air from above the surface. It was invented by the Dutchman J.J.Wichers shortly before World War II and copied by the Germans during the war for use by U-Boats. Its common military name is snort.

Goalkeeper CIWS (1975)[edit]

Goalkeeper is a close-in weapon system (CIWS) still in use as of 2013. It is autonomous and completely automatic short-range defense of ships against highly maneuverable missiles, aircraft and fast maneuvering surface vessels. Once activated the system automatically performs the entire process from surveillance and detection to destruction, including selection of priority targets.

Musical instruments[edit]

First mechanical metronome[edit]

A mechanical wind-up metronome in motion

The first metronome was invented by Dietrich Nikolaus Winkel in Amsterdam in 1812, but named (patented) after Johann Maelzel, who took the idea and popularized it.

Fokker organ (1950)[edit]

Dutch musician-physicist Adriaan Fokker designed and had built keyboard instruments capable of playing microtonal scales via a generalized keyboard. The best-known of these is his 31-tone equal-tempered organ, which was installed in Teylers Museum in Haarlem in 1951. It is commonly called the Fokker organ.

Kraakdoos (1960s)[edit]

The Kraakdoos or Cracklebox is a custom-made battery-powered noise-making electronic device. It is a small box with six metal contacts on top, which when pressed by fingers generates unusual sounds and tones. The human body becomes a part of the circuit and determines the range of sounds possible – different players generate different results. The concept was first conceived by Michel Waisvisz and Geert Hamelberg in the 1960s, and developed further in the 1970s when Waisvisz joined the STEIM foundation in Amsterdam.

Moodswinger (2006)[edit]

The Moodswinger is a twelve-string electric zither with an additional third bridge designed by Dutch luthier Yuri Landman. The rod functions as the third bridge and divides the strings into two sections to add overtones, creating a multiphonic sound.

Springtime guitar (2008)[edit]

The Springtime guitar is an experimental electric guitar with seven strings and three outputs. Landman created the instrument in 2008.

Philosophy and Social Sciences[edit]

Neostoicism (1580s)[edit]

Neostoicism was a syncretic philosophical movement, joining Stoicism and Christianity. Neostoicism was founded by Dutch-Flemish humanist Justus Lipsius, who in 1584 presented its rules, expounded in his book De constantia (On Constancy), as a dialogue between Lipsius and his friend Charles de Langhe. It started in the Protestant Netherlands during the revolt against Catholic Spain.

Early liberalism (1600s)[edit]

"European liberalism", Isaiah Berlin wrote, "wears the appearance of a single coherent movement, little altered during almost three centuries, founded upon relatively simple foundations, laid by Locke or Grotius or even Spinoza; stretching back to Erasmus and Montaigne..."

As Bertrand Russell noted in his A History of Western Philosophy (1945): "Descartes lived in Holland for twenty years (1629–49), except for a few brief business trips to France and one to England.... Holland in the seventeenth century,[was] the one country where there was freedom of speculation. Hobbes had to have his books printed there; Locke took refuge there during the five worst years of reaction in England before 1688; Bayle (of the Dictionary) found it necessary to live there; and Spinoza would hardly have been allowed to do his work in any other country." Russell described early liberalism in Europe: "Early liberalism was a product of England and Holland, and had certain well-marked characteristics. It stood for religious toleration; it was Protestant, but of a latitudinarian rather than of a fanatical kind; it regarded the wars of religion as silly..."

Beginning of modern philosophy (1630s–1640s)[edit]

Cartesianism is the name given to the philosophical doctrine of René Descartes. Descartes is often regarded as the first thinker to emphasize the use of reason to develop the natural sciences. Cartesianism had been controversial for several years before 1656. Descartes himself had lived in the Dutch Republic for some twenty years (1628–1649). His Discours de la méthode (1637) was originally published at Leiden, and his Principia philosophiae (1644) appeared from the presses at Amsterdam. In the 1630s and 1640s, Descartes's ideas gained a foothold at the Dutch universities.

Spinozism (1660s–1670s)[edit]

Spinozism is the monist philosophical system of the Dutch-Jew philosopher Baruch Spinoza which defines "God" as a singular self-subsistent substance, with both matter and thought as its attributes.

Affect (1670s)[edit]

Affect (affectus or adfectus in Latin) is a concept used in the philosophy of Spinoza and elaborated by Henri Bergson, Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari that emphasizes bodily experience. The term "affect" is central to what became known as the "affective turn" in the humanities and social sciences.

Mathematical intuitionism (1907–1908)[edit]

Mathematical intuitionism was founded by the Dutch mathematician and philosopher Luitzen Egbertus Jan Brouwer. In the philosophy of mathematics, intuitionism, or neointuitionism (opposed to preintuitionism), is an approach where mathematics is considered to be purely the result of the constructive mental activity of humans rather than the discovery of fundamental principles claimed to exist in an objective reality. That is, logic and mathematics are not considered analytic activities wherein deep properties of objective reality are revealed and applied, but are instead considered the application of internally consistent methods used to realize more complex mental constructs, regardless of their possible independent existence in an objective reality.

Religious movements[edit]

Devotio Moderna (1370s–1390s)[edit]

Devotio Moderna, or Modern Devotion, was a movement for religious reform, calling for apostolic renewal through the rediscovery of genuine pious practices such as humility, obedience and simplicity. It began in the late fourteenth-century, largely through the work of Gerard Groote, and flourished in the Low Countries and Germany in the fifteenth century, but came to an end with the Protestant Reformation. It is most known today through its influence on Thomas à Kempis, the author of The Imitation of Christ, a book which proved highly influential for centuries.

Mennonites (1536)[edit]

The Mennonites are a Christian group based around the church communities of Anabaptist denominations named after Menno Simons (1496–1561) of Friesland. Through his writings, Simons articulated and formalized the teachings of earlier Swiss founders. The teachings of the Mennonites were founded on their belief in both the mission and ministry of Jesus Christ, which they held to with great conviction despite persecution by various Roman Catholic and Protestant states.

Dutch Reformed Church (1571)[edit]

The Dutch Reformed Church (in Dutch: Nederlandse Hervormde Kerk or NHK) was a Reformed Christian denomination. It developed during the Protestant Reformation, with its base in what became known as the Roman Catholic Church. It was founded in the 1570s and lasted until 2004, the year it merged with the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Kingdom of the Netherlands to form the Protestant Church in the Netherlands.

Arminianism (1620)[edit]

Arminianism is based on the theological ideas of Dutch Reformed theologian Jacobus Arminius (1560–1609) and his historic supporters known as the Remonstrants. His teachings held to the five solae of the Reformation, but they were distinct from the particular teachings of Martin Luther, Zwingli, John Calvin, and other Protestant Reformers. Arminius (Jacobus Hermanszoon) was a student of Beza (successor of Calvin) at the Theological University of Geneva.

Scientific instruments[edit]

Microscope (1590)[edit]

18th century microscopes from the Musée des Arts et Métiers, Paris

In 1590 the Dutchmen Hans and Zacharias Janssen (father and son) invented the first compound microscope.[101][102][103][104][105][106][107] It would have a single glass lens of short focal length for the objective lens and another single glass lens for the eyepiece or ocular. A resident of Delft, Anton van Leeuwenhoek, effectively launched high-power microscopy using single-lens, simple microscopes. With these initial instruments he discovered the world of micro-organisms. Modern microscopes are far more sophisticated, with multiple lens components in both objective and eyepiece assemblies. These multi-component lenses are designed to reduce aberrations, particularly chromatic aberration and spherical aberration. In modern microscopes the mirror is replaced by a lamp unit providing stable, controllable illumination.

Telescope (1608)[edit]

Early depiction of a "Dutch telescope" from 1624.

Hans Lippershey created and disseminated the first practical telescope.[107][108][109][110][111][112] Crude telescopes and spyglasses may have been created much earlier, but Lippershey is believed to be the first to apply for a patent for his design (a few weeks before Jacob Metius) and make it available for general use in 1608. He failed to receive a patent but was rewarded by the Dutch government for his design. A description of Lippershey's instrument quickly reached Galileo Galilei, who created a working unit in 1609, with which he made the observations found in his Sidereus Nuncius of 1610.

Alegend holds that Lippershey's children actually discovered the telescope while playing with flawed lenses in their father's workshop.

Lippershey crater, on the Moon, bears his name.[113]

Van Leeuwenhoek microscope (1670s)[edit]

Replica of microscope by Leeuwenhoek

van Leeuwenhoek created at least 25 microscopes, of differing types, of which only nine survive. His simple microscopes were made of silver or copper frames, holding hand-ground lenses. Those that have survived are capable of magnification up to 275 times. It is suspected that Van Leeuwenhoek possessed units that could magnify up to 500 times. Using his handcrafted microscopes, he was the first to observe and describe single-celled organisms, which he originally referred to as animalcules, and which now referred to as micro-organisms or microbes.[114][115][116][117][118][119][120]

Pyrometer (1739)[edit]

The pyrometer, invented by Pieter van Musschenbroek, is a temperature measuring device. A simple type uses a thermocouple placed either in a furnace or on the item to be measured. The voltage output of the thermocouple is read from a meter. Many different types of thermocouple arev available, for measuring temperatures from −200 °C to above 1500 °C.[121]

Leyden jar (first capacitor) (1745–1746)[edit]

A battery of four water-filled Leyden jars, Museum Boerhaave, Leiden. The Leyden jar was the first device capable of storing an electric charge.

The Leyden jar was the original capacitor, developed by Pieter van Musschenbroek in the 18th century and used to conduct early experiments in electricity. The device was a glass jar coated inside and out with metal. The inner coating was connected to a rod that passed through the lid and ended in a metal ball. Typical designs consist of an electrode and a plate, each of which stores an opposite charge. These two elements are conductive and are separated by an insulator (e.g., the glass dielectric). The charge is stored at the surface of the elements, at the boundary with the dielectric.[122][123][124][125][126][127][128]

Eisinga Planetarium (1781)[edit]

The Eisinga Planetarium (Royal Eise Eisinga Planetarium) was built by Eise Eisinga in his home in Franeker, Friesland, Netherlands. It took Eisinga seven years to build his planetarium, completing it in 1781. The orrery still exists and is the world's oldest working planetarium.

Kipp's apparatus (1860)[edit]

Kipp's apparatus, also called a Kipp generator, is designed for preparation of small volumes of gases. It was invented around 1860 by Dutch pharmacist Petrus Jacobus Kipp and widely used in chemical laboratories and for demonstrations in schools into the second half of the 20th century.

Phase contrast microscope (1933)[edit]

In optical microscopy many objects such as cell parts in protozoans, bacteria and sperm tails are essentially fully transparent unless stained (and therefore killed). The difference in densities and composition within these objects however often gives rise to changes in the phase of light passing through them, hence they are sometimes called "phase objects". Using the phase-contrast technique makes these structures visible and allows the study of living specimens. This phase contrast technique proved to be such an advancement in microscopy that Dutch physicist Frits Zernike was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1953.

Magnetic horn (1961)[edit]

The magnetic horn (also known as the Van der Meer horn) is a high-current, pulsed focusing device, invented by the Dutch physicist Simon van der Meer at CERN. It selects pions and focuses them into a sharp beam. Its original application was in the context of neutrino physics, where beams of pions have to be tightly focused. When the pions then decay into muons and neutrinos or antineutrinos, an equally well-focused neutrino beam is obtained. The muons were stopped in a wall of 3000 tons of iron and 1000 tons of concrete, leaving the neutrinos or antineutrinos to reach the Gargamelle bubble chamber.

Sports and Games[edit]

Kolf (1200s)[edit]

Kolf players on ice, Hendrick Avercamp's painting (1625)

A golf-like game (kolf in Dutch) is recorded as taking place on 26 February 1297, in a city called Loenen aan de Vecht, where the Dutch played a game with a stick and leather ball. The winner was whomever hit the ball with the least number of strokes into a target several hundred yards away. Some scholars argue that this game of putting a small ball in a hole in the ground using clubs was also played in 17th-century Netherlands and that this predates the game in Scotland.

Figure skating (1400s–1600s)[edit]

St. Lidwina of Schiedam's fall when she was ice skating, wood drawing from the 1498 edition of John Brugman's Vita of Lidwina.

The Dutch played a significant role in the history of ice skating (including speed skating and figure skating). The first feature of ice skating in a work of art was made in the 15th century. The picture, depicted Saint Lidwina, patron saint of ice skaters, falling on the ice. Another important aspect is a man seen in the background, who is skating on one leg. This means that his skates must have had sharp edges similar to those found on modern ice skates. Until the 17th century, ice skating was mostly used for transportation. Some of the Stuarts (including King Charles II of England) who had fled to the Dutch Republic during the Cromwell Royal reign later returned to Britain, bringing with them the new sport. Upon his return to England in 1658, the King brought two innovations in ice skating – a pair of iron skates and the Dutch roll. The Dutch roll was the first form of a gliding or skating motion made possible by the iron skate's two edges. However, speed skating was the focus of the Dutch, while the English developed modern figure skating.

Speed skating (1400s–1600s)[edit]

Speed skating match on the Zuiderzee near Hindeloopen, Netherlands in 1828

Speed skating, which had developed in the Netherlands in the 17th century, was given a boost by the innovations in skate construction. Speed skating, or speedskating, is a competitive form of skating in which skaters race each other over a certain distance. Types of speed skating are long track speed skating, short track speed skating and marathon speed skating. In the modern Olympic Games, long-track speed skating is usually referred to as just "speed skating", while short-track speed skating is known as "short track".

Yachting (1600s)[edit]

Sailing, also known as yachting, is a sport in which competitors race from point to point, or around a race course, in sail-powered boats. Yachting refers to recreational sailing or boating, the specific act of sailing or using other water vessels for sporting purposes. The invention of sailing is prehistoric, but the racing of sailing boats is believed to have started in the Netherlands some time in the 17th century. While living in the Dutch Republic, King Charles II of England fell in love with sailing and in 1660, took home the Dutch gifted 66-foot yacht he called Mary. The sport's popularity spread across the British Isles. The world's first yacht club was founded in Cork, Ireland in 1720.

Korfball (1902)[edit]

Korfball (Korfbal in Dutch) is a mixed gender team sport, with similarities to netball and basketball. A team consists of eight players; four female and four male. A team also includes a coach. It was founded in the Netherlands in 1902 by Nico Broekhuysen.

Cruyff Turn (1974)[edit]

The Cruijff Turn (also known as Cruyff Turn), is a famous dribbling trick in football, was perfected by the Dutch football player Johan Cruijff for whom the evasive trick was named. To make this move, the player first looks to pass or cross the ball. However, instead of kicking it, he drags the ball behind his planted foot with the inside of his other foot, turns through 180 degrees and accelerates away. The trick was famously employed by Cruijff in the 1974 FIFA World Cup, first seen in the Netherlands' match against Sweden and soon widely copied.

Total Football (1970s)[edit]

The foundations for Total Football were laid by Englishman Jack Reynolds who was the manager of AFC Ajax from 1915–1925, 1928–1940 and 1945–1947. Rinus Michels, who played under Reynolds, later became manager of Ajax and refined the concept into what is known today as "Total Football" (Totaalvoetbal in Dutch language), using it in his training for the Ajax Amsterdam squad and the Netherlands national football team in the 1970s. It was further refined by Stefan Kovacs after Michels left for FC Barcelona. Cruyff was the system's most famous exponent. Due to Cruyff's style of play, he is still referred to as the total footballer. Its cornerstone was a focus on positional interchange.

Tiki-taka (1990s)[edit]

FC Barcelona and the Spanish national football team play a style of football known as Tiki-taka that has its roots in Total Football. Cruyff founded Tiki-taka (commonly spelled tiqui-taca in Spanish) during his time as manager of FC Barcelona (1988–1996) and was successfully adopted by the all-conquering Spanish national team (2008–2012). Tiki-taka style differs from Total Football in that it focuses on ball movement rather than positional interchange.

Technology and Engineering[edit]

First pound lock in Europe (1373)[edit]

The Netherlands revived the construction of canals during the 13th–14th century that had generally been discontinued since the fall of the Roman Empire. They also contributed in the development of canal construction technology, such as introducing the first flash locks in Europe. The first pound lock in Europe was built by the Dutch in 1373 at Vreeswijk, where a canal from Utrecht joins the river Lek.

Thermostat (1620s)[edit]

Bimetallic thermostat for buildings. In 1620s, Cornelius Drebbel invented a mercury thermostat to regulate the temperature of a chicken incubator. This is one of the first recorded modern feedback-controlled devices.

Around the 1620s, Cornelis Drebbel developed an automatic temperature control system for a furnace, motivated by his belief that base metals could be turned to gold by holding them at a precise constant temperature for long periods of time. He also used this temperature regulator in an incubator for hatching chickens.

Feedback control system (1620s)[edit]

Feedback control has been used for centuries to regulate engineered systems. In the 17th century, Drebbel invented one of the earliest devices to use feedback, an chicken incubator that used a damper controlled by a thermostat to maintain a constant temperature.

Magic lantern (first practical image projector) (1659)[edit]

Magic lantern at the Wymondham Museum. The magic lantern (Laterna magica or Lanterna magica) was the forerunner of the modern slide projector.

The magic lantern is an optical device, an early type of image projector developed in the 17th century. The history of the magic lantern starts around 1420 when something that looked like a magic lantern first appeared in a drawing. The identity of its inventors is debated, but the most widely accepted account attributes it to Christiaan Huygens in the late 1650s.[129][130][131][132][133][134]

Fire hose (1673)[edit]

In Amsterdam, the Superintendent of the Fire Brigade, Jan van der Heyden, and his son Nicholaas took firefighting to its next step with the fashioning of the first fire hose in 1673.

Gunpowder engine (1680)[edit]

Huygens employed gunpowder to drive water pumps, to supply 3000 cubic meters of water/day for the Versailles palace gardens, essentially creating the first rudimentary internal combustion piston engine.

Hollander beater (1680s)[edit]

The Hollander beater is a machine developed by the Dutch in 1680 to produce pulp from cellulose-containing plant fibers. It replaced stamp mills for preparing pulp because the Hollander could produce in one day the same quantity of pulp that a stamp mill could produce in eight.

Gas lighting (1783)[edit]

In 1783, Maastricht-born chemist Jan Pieter Minckelers used coal gas for lighting and developed the first form of gas lighting.

Pentode (1926)[edit]

A pentode is an electronic device having five active electrodes. The term most commonly applies to a three-grid vacuum tube (thermionic valve), which was invented by the Dutchman Bernhard D.H. Tellegen in 1926.

Philishave (1939)[edit]

Philishave was the brand name for electric shavers manufactured by the Philips Domestic Appliances and Personal Care unit of Philips (in the US, the Norelco name is used). The Philishave shaver was invented by Philips engineer Alexandre Horowitz, who used rotating cutters instead of the reciprocating cutters that had been used in previous electric shavers.

Gyrator (1948)[edit]

A gyrator is a passive, linear, lossless, two-port electrical network element invented by Tellegen as a hypothetical fifth linear element after the resistor, capacitor, inductor and ideal transformer.

Traffic enforcement camera (1958)[edit]

Dutch company Gatsometer BV, founded by the 1950s rally driver Maurice Gatsonides, invented the first traffic enforcement camera. Gatsonides wished to better monitor his speed around the corners of a race track and came up with the device in order to improve his time around the circuit.[135] The company developed the first radar for use with road traffic and is the world's largest supplier of speed-monitoring camera systems. Because of this, in some countries speed cameras are sometimes referred to as "Gatsos". They are also sometimes referred to as "photo radar", even though many of them do not use radar.

The first systems introduced in the late 1960s used film cameras, replaced by digital cameras beginning in the late 1990s.

Variomatic (1958)[edit]

Variomatic is the stepless, fully automatic transmission of the Dutch car manufacturer DAF, originally developed by Hub van Doorne. The Variomatic was introduced in 1958 (DAF 600), the first automatic gear box made in the Netherlands. It continues in use in motorscooters. Variomatic was the first commercially successful continuously variable transmissions (CVT).

Red light camera (1965)[edit]

A Red light camera is a traffic enforcement camera that captures an image of a vehicle that enters an intersection against a red traffic light. By automatically photographing such vehicles, the camera produces evidence that assists authorities in their enforcement of traffic laws. The first red light camera system was introduced in 1965, using tubes stretched across the road to detect the violation and trigger the camera. One of the first developers of these red light camera systems was Dutch company Gatsometer BV.

Stochastic cooling (1968)[edit]

Stochastic cooling is a form of particle beam cooling. It is used in some particle accelerators and storage rings to control the emission of particle beams. This process uses the electrical signals that the individual charged particles generate in a feedback loop to reduce the tendency of individual particles to move away from other particles in the beam. This technique was invented and applied at the Intersecting Storage Rings, and later the Super Proton Synchrotron, at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland by Dutch physicist Simon van der Meer. By increasing the particle density to close to the required energy, this technique improved the beam quality and, inter alia, brought the discovery of W and Z bosons within reach.

Clap skate (1980)[edit]

The clap skate (also called clapskates, slap skates, slapskates) is a type of ice skate used in speed skating. Clap skates were developed at the Faculty of Human Movement Sciences of the Vrije Universiteit of Amsterdam, led by Gerrit Jan van Ingen Schenau, although the idea is much older. van Ingen Schenau, who started work on a hinged speed skate in 1979, created his first prototype in 1980 and finished his PhD thesis on the subject in 1981 using the premise that a skater would benefit from extended movement keeping the blade on the ice, allowing the calf muscles more time to exert force.


Ice skate improvements (1300s–1400s)[edit]

During the 13th and 14th century, wooden skates with metal blades were introduced by Dutch. These ice skates were made of steel, with sharpened edges on the bottom to aid movement. The construction of modern ice skates has stayed largely the same since then.

In the 14th century, the Dutch started using wooden platform skates with flat iron bottom runners. The skates were attached to the skater's shoes with leather straps and poles were used to propel the skater. Around 1500, the Dutch shifted to a narrow metal double edged blade, so the skater could now push and glide with his feet, eliminating the need for a pole.

Yacht (1580s)[edit]

An 18th-century Dutch yacht owned by the Rotterdam chapter of the Dutch East India Company. This yacht has the gaff rig and leeboards of the period.

Originally defined as a light, fast sailing vessel used by the Dutch navy to pursue pirates and other transgressors around and into the shallow waters of the Low Countries. Later, yachts came to be perceived as luxury, or recreational vessels.

Fluyt (1500s)[edit]

Dutch fluyt, 1677

Fluyt, a type of sailing vessel originally designed as a dedicated cargo vessel. Originating from the Netherlands in the 16th century, the vessel was designed to facilitate transoceanic delivery with the maximum of space and crew efficiency. The inexpensive ship could be built in large numbers. This ship class was credited with enhancing Dutch competitiveness in international trade and was widely employed by the Dutch East India Company in the 17th and 18th centuries. The fluyt was a significant factor in the 17th century rise of the Dutch seaborne empire.

Wind-powered sawmill (1592)[edit]

De Salamander, a wind-driven sawmill in Leidschendam, The Netherlands

Cornelis Corneliszoon (Born 1550 in Uitgeest – died 1600) was the inventor of the wind-powered sawmill. Prior to the invention of sawmills, boards were rived and planed, or more often sawn by two men with a whipsaw using saddleblocks to hold the log and a pit for the pitman who worked below and got the benefit of sawdust in his eyes. Sawing was slow and required strong and durable sawmen. The topsawer had to be the stronger of the two because the saw was pulled in turn by each man, and the lower had the advantage of gravity. The topsawyer also had to guide the saw to produce a plank of even thickness. This was often done by following a chalkline.

Early sawmills adapted the whipsaw to mechanical power, generally driven by a water wheel to speed up the process. The circular motion of the wheel was changed to back-and-forth motion of the saw blade by a pitman thus introducing a term used in many mechanical applications. A pitman is similar to a crankshaft used in reverse. A crankshaft converts back-and-forth motion to circular motion.

Generally only the saw was powered and the logs had to be loaded and moved by hand. An early improvement was the development of a movable carriage, also water powered, to steadily advance the log through the saw blade.

Land yacht (1600)[edit]

Land yachts designed by Simon Stevin in the year 1600

The Wind chariot or land yacht (Zeilwagen) was designed by Dutch-Flemish mathematician & engineer Simon Stevin for Prince Maurice of Orange. Land yacht. It offered a carriage with sails, of which a little model was preserved in Scheveningen until 2012. Around the year 1600, Stevin, Maurice and twenty-six others used it on the beach between Scheveningen and Petten. The carriage was propelled solely by force of wind, and traveled faster than horse-drawn vehicles.

First navigable submarine (1620)[edit]

The Drebbel, the first navigable submarine

Cornelius Drebbel was the inventor of the first navigable submarine, while working for the British Royal Navy. Using William Bourne's design from 1578, he manufactured a steerable submarine with a leather-covered wooden frame. Between 1620 and 1624 Drebbel successfully built and tested two more, successively larger vessels. The third model had 6 oars and could carry 16 passengers. This model was demonstrated to King James I and several thousand Londoners. The submarine stayed submerged for three hours and could travel from Westminster to Greenwich and back, cruising at a depth of from 12 to 15 feet (3.7 to 4.6 m). This submarine was tested many times in the Thames, but never used in battle.

Four-wheel drive (1903)[edit]

The 1903 Spyker 60 H.P. 4WD

In 1903, Dutch car manufacturer Spyker introduced the first four-wheel drive car, as well as hill-climb racer, with an internal combustion engine, the Spyker 60 H.P.


First practial national anthem (Het Wilhelmus) (1574)[edit]

Wilhelmus van Nassouwe (Het Wilhelmus) is the national anthem of the Netherlands and is the oldest national anthem in the world. The anthem was first written down in 1574 (during the Dutch Revolt). The Japanese anthem, Kimigayo, has the oldest (9th century) lyrics, but a melody was only added in the late 19th century, making it a poem rather than an anthem for most of its lifespan. Although the Wilhelmus was not officially recognised as the Dutch national anthem until 1932, it has always been popular with parts of the Dutch population and resurfaced on several occasions in the course of Dutch history before gaining its present status.

First modern-oriented society model (1600s)[edit]

It is a commonplace among historians that the Dutch Republic was the first modern-oriented society in history.[136][137][138][139][140][141][142][143] Sievers (2010) argues the 17th century Dutch Republic was the first civil society.[144] Socially, it saw the rise of what is often called the first "bourgeois" society, dominated by merchants and professional administrators rather than by noblemen, prelates, and aristocrats. Politically, it was an anomaly, a republic surrounded by absolutist regimes. In religion too the Netherlands stood out, being the most tolerant country in Europe, home to a wide variety of Christian denominations as well as Jews. The Dutch Republic was the first European state to practice religious toleration on a large scale. They also became the first state to articulate the notion that the government should leave people to their religious preferences.



Constellation Columba (1592)[edit]

Columba is a small, faint constellation named in the late sixteenth century. Its name is Latin for dove. It is located just south of Canis Major and Lepus. Columba was named by Dutch astronomer Petrus Plancius in 1592 in order to differentiate the 'unformed stars' of the large constellation Canis Major. Plancius first depicted Columba on the small celestial planispheres of his large wall map of 1592. It is also shown on his smaller world map of 1594 and on early Dutch celestial globes.

Novaya Zemlya effect (1597)[edit]

The first person to record the Novaya Zemlya effect was Gerrit de Veer, a member of Willem Barentsz' ill-fated third expedition into the polar region. Novaya Zemlya, the archipelago where de Veer first observed the phenomenon, lends its name to the effect.

Southern constellations (1597–1598)[edit]

Plancius defined 12 constellations created by Plancius from the observations of Pieter Dirkszoon Keyser and Frederick de Houtman.

Apus is a faint constellation in the southern sky, first defined in the late 16th century. Its name means "no feet" in Greek, and it represents a bird-of-paradise (once believed to lack feet). It first appeared on a 35 cm diameter celestial globe published in 1597 (or 1598) in Amsterdam by Plancius with Jodocus Hondius.

Chamaeleon is named after the chameleon, a kind of lizard.

Dorado is now one of the 88 modern constellations. Dorado has been represented historically as a dolphinfish and a swordfish.

Grus is Latin for the crane, a species of bird. The stars that form Grus were originally considered part of Piscis Austrinus (the southern fish).

Hydrus' name means "male water snake".

Indus represents an Indian, a word that could refer at the time to any native of Asia or the Americas.

Musca is one of the minor southern constellations. It first appeared on a 35-cm diameter celestial globe published in 1597 (or 1598) in Amsterdam by Plancius and Hondius. The first depiction of this constellation in a celestial atlas was in Johann Bayer's Uranometria of 1603.

Pavo is Latin for peacock.

Phoenix is a minor southern constellation, named after the mythical phoenix. It was the largest of the twelve.

Triangulum Australe is Latin for "the southern triangle", which distinguishes it from Triangulum in the northern sky and is derived from the almost equilateral pattern of its three brightest stars. It was first depicted on a celestial globe as Triangulus Antarcticus by Plancius in 1589, and later with more accuracy and its current name by Johann Bayer in his 1603 Uranometria.

Tucana is Latin for the toucan, a South American bird.

Volans represents a flying fish; its name is a shortened form of its original name, Piscis Volans.

Constellation Camelopardalis (1612–1613)[edit]

Camelopardalis was created by Plancius in 1613 to represent the animal Rebecca rode to marry Isaac in the Bible. One year later, Jakob Bartsch featured it in his atlas. Johannes Hevelius gave it the official name of "Camelopardus" or "Camelopardalis" because he saw the constellation's many faint stars as the spots of a giraffe.

Constellation Monoceros (1612–1613)[edit]

Monoceros is a relatively modern creation. Its first certain appearance was on a globe created by Plancius in 1612 or 1613. It was later charted by Bartsch as Unicornus in his 1624 star chart.

Rings of Saturn (1655)[edit]

Christiaan Huygens was the first person to describe Saturn's rings as a disk surrounding Saturn

In 1655, Huygens became the first person to suggest that Saturn was surrounded by a ring, after Galileo's much less advanced telescope had failed to show rings. Galileo had reported the anomaly as possibly 3 planets instead of one.

Saturn moon Titan (1655)[edit]

Titan was the first known moon of Saturn, discovered in 1655 by Christiaan Huygens.

In 1655, using a 50 power refracting telescope that he designed himself, Huygens discovered the first of Saturn's moons, Titan.

Evidence of dark matter (1932)[edit]

In 1932, Dutch astronomer Jan Oort became the first person to discover evidence of dark matter. Oort proposed the substance after measuring the motions of nearby stars in the Milky Way relative to the galactic plane. He found that the mass of the galactic plane must be more than the mass of the material that can be seen. A year later (1933), Fritz Zwicky examined the dynamics of clusters of galaxies and found their movements similarly perplexing.

Uranus moon Miranda (1948)[edit]

Miranda is the smallest and innermost of Uranus's five major moons. It was discovered by Gerard Kuiper on 16 February 1948 at McDonald Observatory.

1949 Nereid (Neptune's moon)[edit]

Nereid, also known as Neptune II, is the third-largest moon of Neptune and was its second moon to be discovered, on 1 May 1949, by Gerard Kuiper, on photographic plates taken with the 82-inch telescope at McDonald Observatory.


Function of the Fallopian tubes (1660s)[edit]

Dutch physician & anatomist Regnier de Graaf may have been the first to understand the reproductive function of the Fallopian tubes. He described the hydrosalpinx, linking its development to female infertility. de Graaf recognized pathologic conditions of the tubes. He was aware of tubal pregnancies, and he surmised that the mammalian egg traveled from the ovary to the uterus through the tube.

Development of ovarian follicles (1672)[edit]

In his De Mulierum Organis Generatione Inservientibus (1672), de Graaf provided the first thorough description of the female gonad and established that it produced the ovum. De Graaf used the terminology vesicle or egg (ovum) for what now called the ovarian follicle. Because the fluid-filled ovarian vesicles had been observed previously by others, including Andreas Vesalius and Falloppio, De Graaf did not claim their discovery. He noted that he was not the first to describe them, but to describe their development. De Graaf was the first to observe changes in the ovary before and after mating and describe the corpus luteum. From the observation of pregnancy in rabbits, he concluded that the follicle contained the oocyte. The mature stage of the ovarian follicle is called the Graafian follicle in his honour, although others, including Fallopius, had noticed it previously but failed to recognize its reproductive significance.

Microbiology (1670s)[edit]

Van Leeuwenhoek is often considered as the father of microbiology because he was the first to discover/observe, study and describe microbes scientifically, using single-lens microscopes of his own design.

Antonie van Leeuwenhoek is often considered to be the father of microbiology. Robert Hooke is cited as the first to record microscopic observation of the fruiting bodies of molds, in 1665. However, the first observation of microbes using a microscope is generally credited to van Leeuwenhoek. In the 1670s, he observed and researched bacteria and other microorganisms, using a single-lens microscope of his own design.

Photosynthesis (1779)[edit]

The leaf is the primary site of photosynthesis in plants.

Photosynthesis is a fundamental biochemical process in which plants, algae, and some bacteria convert sunlight to chemical energy. The process was discovered by Jan Ingenhousz in 1779.[145][146][147][148][149][150][151][152][153][154][155] The chemical energy is used to drive reactions such as the formation of sugars or the fixation of nitrogen into amino acids, the building blocks for protein synthesis. Ultimately, nearly all living things depend on energy produced from photosynthesis. It is also responsible for producing the oxygen that makes animal life possible. Organisms that produce energy through photosynthesis are called photoautotrophs. Plants are the most visible representatives of photoautotrophs, but bacteria and algae also employ the process.

Plant respiration (1779)[edit]

Plant respiration was also discovered by Ingenhousz in 1779.

Virology (1898)[edit]

Martinus Beijerinck is considered one of the founders of virology. In 1898, he published results on his filtration experiments, demonstrating that tobacco mosaic disease is caused by an infectious agent smaller than a bacterium. His results were in accordance with similar observations made by Dmitri Ivanovsky in 1892. Like Ivanovsky and Adolf Mayer, predecessor at Wageningen, Beijerinck could not culture the filterable infectious agent. He concluded that the agent can replicate and multiply in living plants. He named the new pathogen virus to indicate its non-bacterial nature. This discovery is considered to be the beginning of virology.


Pneumatic chemistry (1600s)[edit]

Flemish physician Jan Baptist van Helmont is sometimes considered the founder of pneumatic chemistry, coining the word gas and conducting experiments involving gases.

Lobry de Bruyn–van Ekenstein transformation (1885)[edit]

In carbohydrate chemistry, the Lobry de Bruyn–van Ekenstein transformation is the base or acid-catalyzed transformation of an aldose into the ketose isomer or vice versa, with a tautomeric enediol as reaction intermediate. The transformation is relevant for the industrial production of certain ketoses and was discovered in 1885 by Cornelis Adriaan Lobry van Troostenburg de Bruyn and Willem Alberda van Ekenstein.

Prins reaction (1919)[edit]

The Prins reaction is an organic reaction consisting of an electrophilic addition of an aldehyde or ketone to an alkene or alkyne followed by capture of a nucleophile. Dutch chemist Hendrik Jacobus Prins discovered two new organic reactions, both now carrying the name Prins reaction. The first was the addition of polyhalogen compounds to olefins, was found during Prins doctoral research, while the others, the acid-catalyzed addition of aldehydes to olefinic compounds, became of industrial relevance.

Hafnium (1923)[edit]

Dutch physicist Dirk Coster and Hungarian-Swedish chemist George de Hevesy co-discovered Hafnium (Hf) in 1923, by means of X-ray spectroscopic analysis of zirconium ore. Hafnium' is named after Hafnia', the Latin name for Copenhagen (Denmark), where it was discovered.

Crystal bar process (1925)[edit]

The crystal bar process (also known as iodide process or the van Arkel–de Boer process) was developed by Dutch chemists Anton Eduard van Arkel and Jan Hendrik de Boer in 1925. It was the first industrial process for the commercial production of pure ductile metallic zirconium. It is used in the production of small quantities of ultra-pure titanium and zirconium.


Concept of the Pangene (1889)[edit]

In 1889, Dutch botanist Hugo de Vries published his book Intracellular Pangenesis, in which he postulated that different characters have different hereditary carriers, based on a modified version of Charles Darwin's theory of Pangenesis of 1868. He specifically postulated that inheritance of specific traits in organisms comes in particles. He called these units pangenes, a term shortened in 1909 to genes by Danish botanist Wilhelm Johannsen.

Rediscovery of Genetics (1900)[edit]

1900 marked the "rediscovery of Mendelian genetics". The significance of Gregor Mendel's work was not understood until early in the twentieth century, after his death, when his research was re-discovered by Hugo de Vries, Carl Correns and Erich von Tschermak, who were working on similar problems. They were unaware of Mendel's work. They worked independently on different plant hybrids, and came to Mendel's conclusions about the rules of inheritance.


Bushveld Igneous Complex (1897)[edit]

Bushveld Igneous Complex Mines

The Bushveld Igneous Complex (or BIC) is a large, layered igneous intrusion within the Earth's crust that has been tilted and eroded and now outcrops around what appears to be the edge of a great geological basin, the Transvaal Basin. Located in South Africa, the BIC contains some of Earth's richest ore deposits. The complex contains the world's largest reserves of platinum group metals (PGMs), platinum, palladium, osmium, iridium, rhodium, and ruthenium, along with vast quantities of iron, tin, chromium, titanium and vanadium. The site was discovered around 1897 by Dutch geologist Gustaaf Molengraaff.


Analytic geometry (1637)[edit]

Descartes (1596–1650) was born in France, but spent most of his adult life in the Dutch Republic. As Bertrand Russell noted in his A History of Western Philosophy (1945): "He lived in Holland for twenty years (1629–49), except for a few brief visits to France and one to England, all on business....". In 1637, Descartes published his work on the methods of science, Discours de la méthode in Leiden. One of its three appendices was La Géométrie, in which he outlined a method to connect the expressions of algebra with the diagrams of geometry. It combined both algebra and geometry under one specialty — algebraic geometry, now called analytic geometry, which involves reducing geometry to a form of arithmetic and algebra and translating geometric shapes into algebraic equations.

Cartesian coordinate system (1637)[edit]

Descartes' La Géométrie contains Descartes' first introduction of the Cartesian coordinate system.

Brouwer fixed-point theorem (1911)[edit]

Brouwer fixed-point theorem is a fixed-point theorem in topology, named after Dutchman Luitzen Brouwer, who proved it in 1911.


Centripetal force (1659)[edit]

In 1659, Christiaan Huygens derived the now standard formula for the centripetal force, exerted by an object describing a circular motion, for instance on the string to which it is attached.

Centrifugal force (1659)[edit]

Huygens coined the term centrifugal force in his 1659 De Vi Centrifiga and wrote of it in his 1673 Horologium Oscillatorium on pendulums.

Coupled oscillation (1665)[edit]

Huygens observed that two pendulum clocks mounted next to each other on the same support often become synchronized, swinging in opposite directions. In 1665, he reported the results by letter to the Royal Society of London. It is referred to as "an odd kind of sympathy" in the Society's minutes. This may be the first published observation of what is now called coupled oscillations. In the 20th century, coupled oscillators took on great practical importance because of two discoveries: lasers, in which different atoms give off light waves that oscillate in unison, and superconductors, in which pairs of electrons oscillate in synchrony, allowing electricity to flow with almost no resistance. Coupled oscillators are even more ubiquitous in nature, showing up, for example, in the synchronized flashing of fireflies and chirping of crickets, and in the pacemaker cells that regulate heartbeats.


Modern human anatomy (1543)[edit]

One of the large, detailed illustrations in Andreas Vesalius's De humani corporis fabrica, 1543

Flemish anatomist and physician Andreas Vesalius is often referred to as the founder of modern human anatomy for the publication of the seven-volume De humani corporis fabrica (On the Structure of the Human Body) in 1543.

Crystals in gouty tophi (1679)[edit]

In 1679, van Leeuwenhoek used a microscopes to assess tophaceous material and found that gouty tophi consist of aggregates of needle-shaped crystals, and not globules of chalk as was previously believed.

Boerhaave syndrome (1724)[edit]

Boerhaave syndrome (also known as spontaneous esophageal perforation or esophageal rupture) refers to an esophageal rupture secondary to forceful vomiting. Originally described in 1724 by Dutch physician/botanist Hermann Boerhaave, it is a rare condition with high mortality. The syndrome was described after the case of a Dutch admiral, Baron Jan von Wassenaer, who died of the condition.

Factor V Leiden (1994)[edit]

Factor V Leiden is an inherited disorder of blood clotting. It is a variant of human factor V that causes a hypercoagulability disorder. It is named after the city Leiden, where it was first identified by R. Bertina, et al., in 1994.


Red blood cells (1658)[edit]

The first person to observe and describe red blood cells was Dutch biologist Jan Swammerdam, who had used an early microscope to study the blood of a frog.

Infusoria (1674)[edit]

Infusoria is a collective term for minute aquatic creatures including ciliate, euglena, paramecium, protozoa and unicellular algae that exist in freshwater ponds. However, in formal classification microorganism called infusoria belongs to Kingdom Animalia, Phylum Protozoa, Class Ciliates (Infusoria).They were first discovered by Antoni van Leeuwenhoek.

Protozoa (1674)[edit]

Leishmania donovani, (a species of protozoa) in a bone marrow cell

In 1674, van Leeuwenhoek was the first person to observe and describe protozoa.

Bacteria (1676)[edit]

The first bacteria were observed by van Leeuwenhoek in 1676 using his single-lens microscope. He described the creatures he saw as small creatures. The name bacterium was introduced much later, by Christian Gottfried Ehrenberg in 1828, derived from the Greek word βακτηριον meaning "small stick". Because of the difficulty in describing individual bacteria and the importance of their discovery, the study of bacteria is generally that of the study of microbiology.

Spermatozoa (1677)[edit]

A sperm cell attempts to penetrate an ovum coat to fertilize it

A spermatozoon or spermatozoon (pl. spermatozoa), from the ancient Greek σπερμα (seed) and ζων (alive) and more commonly known as a sperm cell, is the haploid cell that is the male gamete. Sperm cells were first observed by a student of van Leeuwenhoek in 1677. Leeuwenhoek pictured sperm cells with great accuracy.

Volvox (1700)[edit]

Volvox is a genus of chlorophytes, a type of green algae. It forms spherical colonies of up to 50,000 cells. They live in a variety of freshwater habitats, and were first reported by van Leeuwenhoek in 1700.

Biological nitrogen fixation (1885)[edit]

Biological nitrogen fixation was discovered by Beijerinck in 1885.

Sulfate-reducing bacteria (1895)[edit]

Beijerinck discovered the phenomenon of bacterial sulfate reduction, a form of anaerobic respiration. He learned that bacteria could use sulfate as a terminal electron acceptor, instead of oxygen. He isolated and described Spirillum desulfuricans (Spirillum), the first known sulfate-reducing bacterium.

Concept of the Virus (1898)[edit]

In 1898 Beijerinck coined the term "virus" to indicate that the causal agent of tobacco mosaic disease was non-bacterial. Beijerinck discovered what is now known as the tobacco mosaic virus. He observed that the agent multiplied only in cells that were dividing and he called it a contagium vivum fluidum (contagious living fluid). Beijerinck's discovery is considered to be the beginning of virology.

Enrichment culture (1904)[edit]

Beijerinck is credited with developing the first enrichment culture, a fundamental method of studying microbes from the environment.


1891 Java Man (Homo erectus erectus)[edit]

Original fossils of Pithecanthropus erectus (now Homo erectus) found in Java in 1891.

Java Man (Homo erectus erectus) is the name given to hominid fossils discovered in 1891 at TrinilNgawi Regency on the banks of the Solo River in East Java, Indonesia, one of the first known specimens of Homo erectus. Its discoverer, Dutch paleontologist Eugène Dubois, gave it the scientific name Pithecanthropus erectus, a name derived from Greek and Latin roots meaning upright ape-man.


Wave theory of light (1678)[edit]

Huygens is remembered especially for his wave theory of light, which he first communicated in 1678 to France's Royal Académie des sciences and which he published in 1690 in his Treatise on light. His argument that light consists of waves now known as the Huygens–Fresnel principle, two centuries later became instrumental in the understanding of wave–particle duality. The interference experiments of Thomas Young vindicated Huygens' s wave theory in 1801.

Huygens' principle (1690)[edit]

In Treatise on Light, Huygens showed how Snell's law of sines could be explained by, or derived from, the wave nature of light, using the Huygens–Fresnel principle.

Bernoulli's principle (1738)[edit]

Bernoulli's principle was discovered by Dutch-Swiss mathematician and physicist Daniel Bernoulli and named after him. It states that for an inviscid flow, an increase in the speed of the fluid occurs simultaneously with a decrease in pressure or a decrease in the fluid's potential energy.

Brownian motion (1785)[edit]

In 1785, Ingenhousz described the irregular movement of coal dust on the surface of alcohol and therefore has a claim as discoverer of what came to be known as Brownian motion.

Buys Ballot's law (1857)[edit]

The law takes its name from Dutch meteorologist C. H. D. Buys Ballot, who published it in the Comptes Rendus, in November 1857. While William Ferrel first theorized this in 1856, Buys Ballot was the first to provide an empirical validation. The law states that in the Northern Hemisphere, if a person stands with his back to the wind, the low pressure area will be on his left, because wind travels counterclockwise around low pressure zones in that hemisphere. this is approximately true in the higher latitudes and is reversed in the Southern Hemisphere.

Van der Waals equation of state (1873)[edit]

In 1873, Johannes Diderik van der Waals introduced the first equation of state derived by the assumption of a finite volume occupied by constituent molecules. His formula revolutionized the study of equations of stat, and was most famously continued via the Redlich–Kwong equation of state and the Soave modification of Redlich–Kwong. Except at higher pressures, the real gases do not obey Van der Waals equation in all ranges of pressures and temperatures. Despite its limitations, the equation has historical importance, because it was the first attempt to model the behaviour of real gases.

Van der Waals forces (1873)[edit]

The Van der Waals force between atoms, molecules and surfaces is a part of everyday life in many different ways. Geckos can stick to walls and ceilings because of Van der Waals forces.

The van der Waals forces are named after the scientist who first described them in 1873. Van der Waals noted the non-ideality of gases and attributed it to the existence of molecular or atomic interactions. They are forces that develop between the atoms inside molecules and keep them together.

Law of corresponding states (1880)[edit]

The law of corresponding states was first suggested and formulated by van der Waals in 1880. This showed that the van der Waals equation of state can be expressed as a simple function of the critical pressure, critical volume and critical temperature. This general form is applicable to all substances. The compound-specific constants a and b in the original equation are replaced by universal (compound-independent) quantities. It was this law that served as a guide during experiments which ultimately led to the liquefaction of hydrogen by James Dewar in 1898 and of helium by Heike Kamerlingh Onnes in 1908.

Lorentz force (1892)[edit]

This is called the Lorentz force law, after Dutch physicist Hendrik Antoon Lorentz who first formulated it. It is the combination of electric and magnetic force on a point charge due to an electromagnetic field.

Zeeman effect (1896)[edit]

The physical effect discovered by Dutch physicist Pieter Zeeman and named after him. It is the effect of splitting a spectral line into several components in the presence of a static magnetic field.

Liquid helium (liquefaction of helium) (1908)[edit]

Liquid helium in a cup.

Helium was first liquefied (liquid helium) on 10 July 1908, by Dutch physicist Heike Kamerlingh Onnes.[156][157][158]

Superconductivity (1911)[edit]

Paul Ehrenfest, Hendrik Lorentz and Niels Bohr visit Heike Kamerlingh Onnes in the cryogenic lab (where Onnes discovered the phenomenon of superconductivity in 1911).

Superconductivity, the ability of certain materials to conduct electricity with little or no resistance, was discovered by Dutch physicist Heike Kamerlingh Onnes.[159][160][161][162]

Van der Pol oscillator (1920)[edit]

In dynamical systems, a Van der Pol oscillator is a non-conservative oscillator with non-linear damping. It was originally proposed by Dutch physicist Balthasar van der Pol while he was working at Philips in 1920. Van der Pol studied a differential equation that describes the circuit of a vacuum tube. It has been used to model other phenomenon such as human heartbeats by colleague Jan van der Mark.

Electron spin (1925)[edit]

In 1925, Dutch physicists George Eugene Uhlenbeck and Samuel Goudsmit co-discovered the concept of electron spin, which posits an intrinsic angular momentum for all electrons.

Solid helium (1926)[edit]

In 1926, Onnes' student, Dutch physicist Willem Hendrik Keesom, invented a method to freeze liquid helium and was the first person who was able to solidify the noble gas.

De Haas–van Alphen effect (1930)[edit]

The de Haas–van Alphen effect, often abbreviated to dHvA, is a quantum mechanical effect in which the magnetic moment of a pure metal crystal oscillates as the intensity of an applied magnetic field B is increased. It was discovered in 1930 by Wander Johannes de Haas and his student P. M. van Alphen.

Casimir effect (1948)[edit]

In quantum field theory, the Casimir effect and the Casimir–Polder force are physical forces arising from a quantized field. Dutch physicists Hendrik Casimir and Dirk Polder at Philips Research Labs proposed the existence of a force between two polarizable atoms and between such an atom and a conducting plate in 1947. After a conversation with Niels Bohr who suggested it had something to do with zero-point energy, Casimir alone formulated the theory predicting a force between neutral conducting plates in 1948; the former is called the Casimir–Polder force while the latter is the Casimir effect in the narrow sense.

Tellegen's theorem (1952)[edit]

Tellegen's theorem is one of the most powerful theorems in network theory. Most of the energy distribution theorems and extremum principles in network theory can be derived from it. It was published in 1952 by Bernard Tellegen. Fundamentally, Tellegen's theorem gives a simple relation between magnitudes that satisfy Kirchhoff's laws of electrical circuit theory.


Voyages of exploration[edit]

Orange Islands (1594)[edit]

Map of Willem Barentsz' first voyage

During his first journey in 1594, Dutch explorer Willem Barentsz discovered the Orange Islands.

Bear and Spitsbergen Islands and Svalbard archipelago (1596)[edit]

Map of Willem Barentsz third voyage
Crew of Willem Barentsz fighting a polar bear

On 10 June 1596, Barentsz and Dutchman Jacob van Heemskerk discovered Bear Island, a week before their discovery of Spitsbergen Island.

Portion of 1599 map of Arctic exploration by Willem Barentsz. Spitsbergen, here mapped for the first time, is indicated as "Het Nieuwe Land" (Dutch for "the New Land"), center-left.
Willem Barentsz made the first indisputable discovery of Svalbard in 1596, in an attempt to find the Northern Sea Route.

Barentsz made the first indisputable discovery of Svalbard in 1596, in an attempt to find the Northern Sea Route. The name Spitsbergen, meaning "pointed mountains" (from the Dutch spits – pointed, bergen – mountains), was at first applied to both the main island and the Svalbard archipelago as a whole.

Falkland Islands (1600)[edit]

The first reliable sighting is usually attributed to Dutch explorer Sebald de Weert in 1600, who named the archipelago the Sebald Islands, a name they bore on Dutch maps into the 19th century.

Pennefather River, Cape York Peninsula, Gulf of Carpentaria, Northern Australia (1606)[edit]

Duyfken replica under sail. The first documented and undisputed European sighting of and landing on Australia was in late February or early March 1606, by the Dutch navigator Willem Janszoon aboard the Duyfken.
Hollandia Nova, 1659 map prepared by Joan Blaeu based on voyages by Abel Tasman and Willem Jansz, this image shows a French edition of 1663

The Janszoon voyage of 1606 led to the first undisputed sighting of Australia by a European was made on 26 February 1606. Dutch vessel Duyfken, captained by Janszoon, followed the coast of New Guinea, missed Torres Strait, and explored perhaps 350 kilometres (220 mi) of western side of Cape York, in the Gulf of Carpentaria, believing the land was still part of New Guinea. The Dutch made one landing, but were promptly attacked by Maoris and subsequently abandoned further exploration.[163]

Manhattan, New York (1609)[edit]

The area that is now Manhattan was long inhabited by the Lenape Indians. In 1524, Florentine explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano – sailing in service of the king Francis I of France – was the first European to visit the area that would become New York City. It was not until the voyage of Henry Hudson, an Englishman who worked for the Dutch East India Company, that the area was mapped.

Hudson Valley (1609)[edit]

At the time of the arrival of the first Europeans in the 17th century, the Hudson Valley was inhabited primarily by the Algonquian-speaking Mahican and Munsee Native American people, known collectively as River Indians. The first Dutch settlement was in the 1610s at Fort Nassau, a trading post (factorij) south of modern-day Albany, that traded European goods for beaver pelts. Fort Nassau was later replaced by Fort Orange. During the rest of the 17th century, the Hudson Valley formed the heart of the New Netherland colony operations, with the New Amsterdam settlement on Manhattan serving as a post for supplies and defense of the upriver operations.

Brouwer Route (1610–1611)[edit]

The Brouwer Route was a route for sailing from the Cape of Good Hope to Java. The Route took ships south from the Cape into the Roaring Forties, then east across the Indian Ocean, before turning northwest for Java. Thus it took advantage of the strong westerly winds for which the Roaring Forties are named, greatly increasing travel speed. It was devised by Dutch sea explorer Hendrik Brouwer in 1611, and found to halve the duration of the journey from Europe to Java, compared to the previous Arab and Portuguese monsoon route, which involved following the coast of East Africa northwards, sailing through the Mozambique Channel and then across the Indian Ocean, sometimes via India. The Brouwer Route played a major role in the discovery of the west coast of Australia.

Jan Mayen Island (1614)[edit]

After unconfirmed reports of Dutch discovery as early as 1611, the island was named after Dutchman Jan Jacobszoon May van Schellinkhout, who visited the island in July 1614. As locations of these islands were kept secret by the whalers, Jan Mayen got its current name only in 1620.

Hell Gate, Long Island Sound, Connecticut River and Fisher's Island (1614)[edit]

Block's map of his 1614 voyage, with the first appearance of the term "New Netherland"

The name "Hell Gate" is a corruption of Dutch phrase Hellegat, which could mean either "hell's hole" or "bright gate/passage". It was originally applied to the entirety of the East River. The strait was described in the journals of Dutch explorer Adriaen Block, who is the first European known to have navigated the strait, during his 1614 voyage aboard the Onrust.

The first European to record the existence of Long Island Sound and the Connecticut River was Dutch explorer Adriaen Block, who entered it from the East River in 1614.

Fishers Island was called Munnawtawkit by the Native American Pequot nation. Block named it Visher's Island in 1614, after one of his companions. For the next 25 years, it remained a wilderness, visited occasionally by Dutch traders.

Staten Island (Argentina), Cape Horn, Tonga, Hoorn Islands (1615)[edit]

On 25 December 1615, Dutch explorers Jacob le Maire and Willem Schouten aboard the Eendracht, discovered Staten Island, close to Cape Horn.

The voyage of Willem Schouten and Jacob le Maire in 1615–1616

On 29 January 1616, they sighted land they called Cape Horn, after the city of Hoorn. Aboard the Eendracht was the crew of the recently wrecked ship called Hoorn.

Arrival of Abel Tasman in Tongatapu, 1643, drawing by Isaack Gilsemans

They discovered Tonga on 21 April 1616 and the Hoorn Islands on 28 April 1616.

They discovered New Ireland around May–July 1616.

They discovered the Schouten Islands (also known as Biak Islands or Geelvink Islands) on 24 July 1616.

The Schouten Islands (also known as Eastern Schouten Islands or Le Maire Islands) of Papua New Guinea, were named after Schouten, who visited them in 1616.

Dirk Hartog Island, Shark Bay, Western Australia (1616)[edit]

Map of Shark Bay area showing Dirk Hartog Island and Cape Inscription

Hendrik Brouwer's discovery that sailing east from the Cape of Good Hope until land was sighted, and then sailing north along the west coast of Australia was a much quicker route than around the coast of the Indian Ocean made Dutch landfalls on the west coast inevitable. The first such landfall was in 1616, when Dirk Hartog landed at Cape Inscription on what is now known as Dirk Hartog Island, off the coast of Western Australia, and left behind an inscription on a pewter plate. This plate may be seen in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

Houtman Abrolhos, Western Australia (1619)[edit]

The first sighting of the Houtman Abrolhos by Europeans was by Dutch VOC ships Dordrecht and Amsterdam in 1619, three years after Hartog made the first authenticated sighting of what is now Western Australia, 13 years after the first authenticated voyage to Australia, that of the Duyfke] in 1606. Discovery of the islands was credited to Frederick de Houtman, Captain-General of the Dordrecht, as it was Houtman who later wrote of the discovery in a letter to Company directors.

Gulf of Carpentaria, Northern Australia (1623)[edit]

The first known European explorer to visit the region was Dutch Willem Janszoon (also known as Willem Jansz) on his 1606 voyage. His fellow countryman, Jan Carstenszoon (also known as Jan Carstensz), visited in 1623 and named the gulf in honour of Pieter de Carpentier, at that time the Governor-General of Dutch East Indies. Abel Tasman explored the coast in 1644.

Staaten River, Cape York Peninsula, Northern Australia (1623)[edit]

The Staaten River is a river in the Cape York Peninsula, Australia that rises more than 200 kilometres (120 mi) to the west of Cairns and empties into the Gulf of Carpentaria. The river was first named by Carstenszoon in 1623.

Arnhem Land and Groote Eylandt, Gulf of Carpentaria, Northern Australia (1623)[edit]

In 1623 Dutch East India Company captain Willem van Colster sailed into the Gulf of Carpentaria. Cape Arnhem is named after his ship, the Arnhem, which itself was named after the city of Arnhem.

Groote Eylandt was first sighted the Arnhem. Only in 1644, when Abel Tasman arrived, was the island given a European name, Dutch for "Large Island" in an archaic spelling. The modern Dutch spelling is Groot Eiland.

Hermite Islands (1624)[edit]

In February 1624, Dutch admiral Jacques l'Hermite discovered the Hermite Islands at Cape Horn.

Southern Australia coast (1627)[edit]

In 1627, Dutch explorers François Thijssen and Pieter Nuyts explored about 1800 km of the Southern Australia coast, from Cape Leeuwin to Ceduna.

St Francis Island (originally in Dutch: Eyland St. François) is an island on the south coast of South Australia near Ceduna. It is now part of the Isles of Saint Francis conservation park. It was one of the first parts of South Australia to be discovered and named by Europeans, along with St Peter Island. Thijssen named it after his patron saint, St. Francis.

St Peter Island is an island on the south coast of South Australia near Ceduna to the south of Denial Bay. It is the second largest island in South Australia at about 13 km long. It was named in 1627 by Thijssen after Pieter Nuyts' patron saint.

Western Australia (1629)[edit]

The Wallabi Group (excluding North Island) from space

The Weibbe Hayes Stone Fort, remnants of improvised defensive walls and stone shelters built by Wiebbe Hayes and his men on the West Wallabi Island, are Australia's oldest known European structures, more than 150 years before expeditions to the Australian continent by James Cook and Arthur Phillip.

Tasmania (1642)[edit]

Tasman's routes of the first and second voyage

In 1642, Abel Tasman sailed from Mauritius and on 24 November, sighted Tasmania. He named Tasmania Van Diemen's Land, after Anthony van Diemen, the Dutch East India Company's Governor General, who had commissioned his voyage. Tasman claimed Van Diemen's Land for the Netherlands.

Map of the Maatsuyker Islands

Maatsuyker Islands, a group of small islands that are the southernmost point of the Australian continent. were discovered and named by Tasman in 1642 after a Dutch official. The main islands of the group are De Witt Island (354 m), Maatsuyker Island (296 m), Flat Witch Island, Flat Top Island, Round Top Island, Walker Island, Needle Rocks and Mewstone.

Maria Island was discovered and named in 1642 by Tasman after Maria van Diemen (née van Aelst), wife of Anthony. The island was known as Maria's Isle in the early 19th century.

Tasman's journal entry for 29 November 1642 records that he observed a rock which was similar to a rock named Pedra Branca off China, presumably referring to the Pedra Branca in the South China Sea.

Schouten Island is a 28 square kilometres (11 sq mi) island in eastern Tasmania, Australia. It lies 1.6 kilometres south of Freycinet Peninsula and is a part of Freycinet National Park. In 1642, while surveying the south-west coast of Tasmania, Tasman named the island after Joost Schouten, a member of the Council of the Dutch East India Company.

Tasman also reached Storm Bay, a large bay in the south-east of Tasmania, Australia. It is the entrance to the Derwent River estuary and the port of Hobart, the capital city of Tasmania. It is bordered by Bruny Island to the west and the Tasman Peninsula to the east.

New Zealand (1642)[edit]

Murderers' Bay, drawing by Isaack Gilsemans, 1642
Detail from a 1657 map by Jan Janssonius, showing the western coastline of Nova Zeelandia

In 1642, during the same expedition, Tasman discovered New Zealand.

In 1643, still during the same expedition, Tasman discovered Fiji.

Tongatapu & Haʻapai, Tonga (1643)[edit]

Tasman discovered Tongatapu and Haʻapai in 1643 commanding two ships, the Heemskerck and the Zeehaen commissioned by the Dutch East India Company. The expedition's goals were to chart the unknown southern and eastern seas and to find a possible passage through the South Pacific and Indian Ocean providing a faster route to Chile.

Cape Patience, Sakhalin (1643)[edit]

The first European known to visit Sakhalin was Martin Gerritz de Vries, who mapped Cape Patience and Cape Aniva on the island's east coast in 1643.

Kuril Islands (1643)[edit]

In the summer of 1643, the Castricum, under command of de Vries sailed by the southern Kuril Islands, visiting Kunashir, Iturup and Urup, which they named "Company Island" and claimed for the Netherlands.

Vries Strait or Miyabe Line is a strait between two main islands of the Kurils. It is located between the northeastern end of the island of Iturup and the southwestern headland of Urup Island, connecting the Sea of Okhotsk on the west with the Pacific Ocean on the east. The strait is named after de Vries, the first recorded European to explore the area.

The Gulf of Patience is a large body of water off the southeastern coast of Sakhalin, Russia, between the main body of Sakhalin Island in the west and Cape Patience in the east. It is part of the Sea of Okhotsk. The first Europeans to visit the bay sailed on Castricum. They named the gulf in memory of the fog that had to clear for them to continue their expedition.

Rottnest Island and Swan River, Western Australian coast (1696)[edit]

A Quokka family on Rottnest Island, Western Australia

The first Europeans known to land on the Rottnest Island were 13 Dutch sailors including Abraham Leeman from the Waeckende Boey who landed near Bathurst Point on 19 March 1658 while their ship was nearby. The ship had sailed from Batavia in search of survivors of the missing Vergulde Draeck which was later found wrecked 80 kilometres (50 mi) north near present day Ledge Point. The island was given the name "Rotte nest" (meaning "rat nest" in the 17th century Dutch language) by Dutch captain Willem de Vlamingh who spent six days exploring the island from 29 December 1696, mistaking the quokkas for giant rats. De Vlamingh led a fleet of three ships, De Geelvink, De Nijptang and Weseltje and anchored on the northern side of the island, near The Basin.

Willem de Vlamingh's ships, with black swans, at the entrance to the Swan River, Western Australia, coloured engraving (1796), derived from an earlier drawing (now lost) from the de Vlamingh expeditions of 1696–97.
An adult black swan and cygnet. For some 1500 years, the black swan existed in the European imagination as a metaphor for that which could not exist. Dutch explorer Willem de Vlamingh made the first European record of sighting a black swan in 1697. The sighting was significant in Europe, where "all swans are white" had long been used as a standard example of a well-known truth.

On 10 January 1697, de Vlamingh ventured up the Swan River. He and his crew are believed to have been the first Europeans to do so. He named the Swan River (Zwaanenrivier in Dutch) after the large numbers of black swans that he observed there.

Easter Island and Samoa (1722)[edit]

Easter Island is world famous for its 887 extant monumental statues, called moai

On Easter Sunday, 5 April 1722, Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen discovered Easter Island.

On 13 June Roggeveen discovered the islands of Samoa.

Orange River (1779)[edit]

The Orange River was named by Colonel Robert Gordon, commander of the Dutch East India Company garrison at Cape Town, on a trip to the interior in 1779.

Scientific explorations[edit]

1595–1597 First systematic mapping of southern celestial hemisphere (12 Dutch southern constellations)[edit]

Dutch explorers and cartographers were pioneers in first systematic mapping of largely unknown southern hemisphere heavens in the late 16th century.

In 1595, Petrus Plancius, a key promoter to the East Indies expeditions, asked Pieter Dirkszoon Keyser, the chief pilot on the Hollandia, to make observations to fill in the blank area around the south celestial pole on European maps of the southern sky. Plancius had instructed Keyser to map the skies in the southern hemisphere, which were largely uncharted at the time. Keyser died in Java the following year but his catalogue of 135 stars, probably measured up with the help of explorer-colleague Frederick de Houtman, was delivered to Plancius, and then those stars were arranged into 12 new southern constellations, letting them be inscribed on a 35-cm celestial globe that was prepared in late 1597 (or early 1598). This globe was produced in collaboration with the Amsterdam cartographer Jodocus Hondius.

Plancius's constellations (mostly referring to animals and subjects described in natural history books and travellers' journals of his day) are Apis the Bee (later changed to Musca by Lacaille), Apus the Bird of Paradise, Chamaeleon, Dorado the Goldfish (or Swordfish), Grus the Crane, Hydrus the Small Water Snake, Indus the Indian, Pavo the Peacock, Phoenix, Triangulum Australe the Southern Triangle, Tucana the Toucan, and Volans the Flying Fish. The acceptance of these new constellations was assured when Johann Bayer, a German astronomer, included them in his Uranometria of 1603, the leading star atlas of its day. These 12 southern constellations are still recognized today by the International Astronomical Union (IAU).

1637–1644 First major scientific expedition to Brazil[edit]

Within the thirty-year period the Dutch West India Company controlled the northeast region of Brazil (1624–1654), the seven-year governorship of Count Johan Maurits van Nassau-Siegen was marked by an intense ethnographic exploration. To that end, Johan Maurits brought from Europe with him a team of artists and scientists who lived in Recife between 1637 and 1644: painter Albert Eckhout (specializing in the human figure), painter Frans Post (landscape painter), natural historian Georg Marcgraf (who also produced drawings and prints), and the physician Willem Piso. Together with Georg Marcgraf, and originally published by Joannes de Laet, Piso wrote the Historia Naturalis Brasiliae (1648), an important early western insight into Brazilian flora and fauna, also is the first scientific book about Brazil. Albert Eckhout, along with the landscape artist Frans Post, was one of two formally trained painters charged with recording the complexity of the local scene. The seven years Eckhout spent in Brazil constitute an invaluable contribution to the understanding of the European colonization of the New World. During his stay he created hundreds of oil sketches – mostly from life – of the local flora, fauna and people. These paintings by Eckhout and the landscapes by Post were among the Europeans' first, introductions to South America.

1641–1653 First ethnographic descriptions of New Netherland and North American Indians[edit]

In 1641, Kiliaen van Rensselaer, the director of the Dutch West India Company, hired Adriaen van der Donck (1620–1655) to be his lawyer for his large, semi-independent estate, Rensselaerswijck, in New Netherland. Until 1645, van der Donck lived in the Upper Hudson River Valley, near Fort Orange (later Albany), where he learned about the Company's fur trade, the Mohawk and Mahican Indians who traded with Dutch, the agriculturist settlers, and the area's plants and animals. In 1649, after a serious disagreement with the new governor, Peter Stuyvesant, he returned to the Dutch Republic to petition Dutch government. In 1653, still in the Netherlands waiting for the government to decide his case, Adriaen van der Donck wrote a comprehensive description of the New Netherland's geography and native peoples based on material in his earlier Remonstrance. The book, Beschryvinge van Nieuw-Nederlant or A Description of New Netherland later published in 1655. This new book was well-crafted to the interests of his audience, consisting of an extensive description of American Indians and their customs, reports on the abundance of the area's agriculture and wealth of its natural resources.


1653–1666 First Western (European) first-hand account of Korea[edit]

Dutch seafarer and VOC's bookkeeper Hendrick Hamel was the first westerner to experience first-hand and write about Korea in Joseon era (1392–1897). In 1653, Hamel and his men were shipwrecked on Jeju island, and they remained captives in Korea for more than a decade. The Joseon dynasty was often referred to as the "Hermit Kingdom" for its harsh isolationism and closed borders. The shipwrecked Dutchmen were given some freedom of movement, but were forbidden to leave the country. After thirteen years (1653–1666), Hamel and seven of his crewmates managed to escape to the VOC trading mission at Dejima (an artificial island in the bay of Nagasaki, Japan), and from there to the Netherlands. In 1666, three different publishers published his report (Journal van de Ongeluckige Voyage van 't Jacht de Sperwer or An account of the shipwreck of a Dutch vessel on the coast of the isle of Quelpaert together with the description of the kingdom of Corea), describing their improbable adventure and giving the first detailed and accurate description of Korea to the western world.

See also[edit]


  • Adams, Ann Jensen: Temporality and the Seventeenth-century Dutch Portrait (Journal of Historians of Netherlandish Art – JHNA.2013.5.2.15)
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  • Akashi, Kinji: Cornelius Van Bynkershoek: His Role in the History of International Law (International Law in Japanese Perspective). BRILL, 1998, 224pp
  • Andersen, Geoff: The Telescope: Its History, Technology, and Future. Princeton University Press, 2007, 256pp
  • Anderson, Grahame: The Merchant of the Zeehaen: Isaac Gilsemans and the Voyages of Abel Tasman. Wellington, NZ: Te Papa Press, 2001, 162pp
  • Arrighi, Giovanni; Silver, Beverly: Chaos and Governance in the Modern World System (Contradictions of Modernity). University of Minnesota Press, 1999, 348pp
  • Arrighi, Giovanni: The Long Twentieth Century: Money, Power and the Origins of Our Times. New York: Verso, 1994, 400pp
  • Atack, Jeremy; Neal, Larry (eds.): The Origins and Development of Financial Markets and Institutions, from the Seventeenth Century to the Present. Cambridge University Press, 2011, 496pp
  • Aymard, Maurice: Dutch Capital and World Capitalism: Capitalisme Hollondais et Capitalisme Mondial (Studies in Modern Capitalism). Cambridge University Press, 2008, 324pp
  • Barnett, Jo Ellen: Time's Pendulum: From Sundials to Atomic Clocks, the Fascinating History of Timekeeping and How Our Discoveries Changed the World. Harcourt Brace/Harvest Book, 1999, 334pp
  • Battye, James S.: Western Australia : A History from its Discovery to the Inauguration of the Commonwealth (Oxford, 1924)
  • Bell, A. E.: Christian Huygens and the Development of Science in the Seventeenth Century (London, 1947)
  • Bennett, Matthew; Schatz, Michael F.; Rockwood, Heidi; Wiesenfeld, Kurt: Huygens's Clocks (Proceedings: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, Vol. 458, No. 2019), 8 Mar 2002, pp. 563–579 [Published by the Royal Society]
  • Blaeu, Joan: Atlas Maior of 1665 (Taschen 25). Introduction by Peter van der Krogt. Taschen GmbH, 2010, 544pp
  • Blundell, Stephen J.: Superconductivity: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press, 2009, 144pp
  • Blussé, Leonard; Remmelink, Willem; Smits, Ivo (ed.): Bridging the Divide: 400 Years The Netherlands-Japan. Leiden: Hotei Publishing, 2000, 288pp
  • Boterbloem, Kees: Moderniser of Russia: Andrei Vinius, 1641-1716. Palgrave Macmillan, 2013, 280pp
  • Boterbloem, Kees: The Fiction & Reality of Jan Struys: A Seventeenth-Century Dutch Globetrotter. Palgrave Macmillan, 2008, 272pp
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