Talk:Dutch Republic

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It would be nice to have pulp references for further reading, or external links. I would like to know more about the problems associated with the Dutch Republic. I am reading Thomas Jefferson's autobiography and he has a Dr. Rush citing 3 reasons for the decay of liberty in the Dutch republic: 1) requisite unanimity on all decisions; 2) obligation to consult constituents on all matters; and 3) voting with each 'staadt' or state having an equal voice.

Hmmmm... ~Lije

Well, these were standard objections against the Republic in the 17th century. However it defeated Habsburgs, Stuarts and Bourbons (i.e. all the major absolutist dynasties) in this period. Dutch decline, such as it was, was simply caused by the fact that former Dutch superiority was based on a more modern way of living. When other countries adopted its culture, its relative advantage disappeared. The Dutch couldn't care less. They even applauded being annexated by Napoleon: so much more opportunity to influence the French! Today The Greater Netherlands are still the central metroplex of European civilisation, with London and Paris as its suburbs. But we like to keep this a secret ;o)

--MWAK 21:34, 2 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Also in the 18th century. This ties to the "influences" section: yes, the Dutch constitutional system was a source of inspiration to the creators of the US Constitution. But in many ways that inspiration was "things to avoid" rather than "things to emulate". You can see this repeatedly in the Federalist papers, where the benefits of a strong central authority are advocated with references to the troubles that the Dutch got themselves into by not having one. Paul Koning 18:36, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

Wrong link[edit]

The 5th paragraph the sentence "The Dutch dominated world trade in the 17th century", has world trade linked. While this would seem to be a good link, it is not, because world trade automatically redirects to the WTO( world trade organisation), and that article tells nothing about world trade history.

I replaced the link with "History of international trade". Markussep 07:58, 24 October 2006 (UTC)


I added this section, with just one paragraph on the influence the Dutch Republics had on the founders of the U.S. Constitution. I hope it deserved a new section; I didn't see it fitting in any existing section. What does everyone think?

It's a general category; feel free to add other influences. --Spiff666 13:40, 13 October 2006 (UTC)

I agree, but there's a very different viewpoint that should go there: the Federalist Papers repeatedly mention the "constitution" of the Dutch Republic as an example of a model to avoid. Paul Koning 23:51, 4 September 2007 (UTC)

Before John Adams was President, he was a diplomat of some sorts in Europe. He was told to seek a loan with some Dutch bankers who were sympathetic to ideas of freedom and equality and such. The bankers had a rather odd behaviour....they behaved as bankers.-- (talk) 16:35, 30 January 2011 (UTC)

More than one[edit]

If my history is right, it is not only that what is today the Netherlands, was once called the United Provinces, but also what is today Argentina, besides a territory in former British Indian Empire, the United_Provinces_of_Agra_and_Oudh, renamed as "Uttar Pradesh" (or the "Northern Province") after Indian independence.

You're right. Argentina was called the United Provinces of Rio de la Plata once. Robk 14:46, 2 May 2007 (UTC)

Some additional information[edit]

It is a little simple to depict the separation between the Spanish Netherlands and the United provinces by writing that the provinces in the south did not revolt. In fact, the revolution was going on everywhere. Large cities in the south like Ghent and Antwerp were completely protestant and did not accept the reign of the Spanish king either. A key moment is the capture of Antwerp (17 august 1585) by the Spanish. Antwerp was the economic center of the Low Countries and one of the best defended cities. Farnese of Parma, leader of the Spanish troops, first tried to conquer the town by a monthly long blockade. He failed as the city could be supplied over the estuary of the river Scheldt. The only solution was thus a direct attack. Farnese managed to conquer the town, but not the estuary of the river Scheldt. The protestant troops blocked the harbour of Antwerp, impeding all economic activities and making de facto an end to the golden century of Antwerp. After the capture of Antwerp a massive exodus of people from the south towards the north took place. All traders and intellectuals were protestant and did not want to live under the reign of a catholic king. A lot of them find a new home in Amsterdam. This is were the golden century of Amsterdam takes its start. The blockade of Antwerp would continue until Napoleon conquered Antwerp, making the Spanish (and later on Austrian) Netherlands one of the poorest regions of Europe and a battlefield for many small and big wars.

Christophe Janssens (Belgium)

Origin of name of Wall Street[edit]

From the Wall Street article:

The name of the street derives from the fact that during the 17th century, it formed the northern boundary of the New Amsterdam settlement where the Dutch had constructed a crude wall of timber and earthwork in 1652. The wall was ostensibly meant as a defense against attack from Lenape Indians, New England colonists, and the British, but it was never tested in battle. The wall was dismantled by the British in 1699.

From the Dutch Republic article:

While the banking system evolved in the Low Countries, it was quickly incorporated to the well-connected English, stimulating the English economic output. The legacy of this new banking system can still be heard through a well-respected name in the financial world of today; it is a name that is based on these original financial traders: the Walloons made the voyage to New Amsterdam too, and their name is connected to the street where they started their trading: Wall Street — today's largest stock market in the world. The Dutch word for Walloon is Waal (Wall).

Anybody know which is correct? -EDM 01:35, 7 January 2006 (UTC)

My understanding is that it was named for the wall. john k 15:19, 13 October 2006 (UTC)
I thought it was the named for the wall as well, but is their a possibility that we think this due to a misunderstanding by British inhabitants at the time? This is very intriguing indeed. Bennyj600 (talk) 00:32, 12 May 2009 (UTC)
My understanding from this, this and this is that the name has nothing to do with Walloons, nor Waal, Bavaria, nor Waal (South Holland), nor Waal (river), etc. -- Boracay Bill (talk) 01:29, 13 May 2009 (UTC)


The table at the right side suggests that Amsterdam was the capital city of the Dutch Republic. Since the provinces of the Republic were all sovereign entities, there was no official capital. Amsterdam was the most imporant city of the Netherlands at that time, that's true, but the executive and legislative powers resided at The Hague (in fact, they still do). Therefore, it is better to either remove the capital from the table or replace Amsterdam with The Hague. Robk 14:45, 2 May 2007 (UTC)

Good point, and the Dutch version of the article agrees with your observation. I've changed it to match what it says. Thanks! Paul Koning 16:26, 2 May 2007 (UTC)

Incorrect Map[edit]

The map in the infobox is incorrect as far as it does include: modern Belgium, modern Luxembourg, parts of modern Indonesia, parts modern South-Africa, etc.

The current map in the infobox includes only the modern territory of the Netherlands.

These territories were never part of the Dutch Republic. Belgium and Luxembourg were the Southern Netherlands under Spanish and later Austrian souvereignty. The Cape Colony, Dutch Indies etc. were private possession of the VOC, and not incorporated into the Dutch Republic. Maartenvdbent 09:38, 1 June 2007 (UTC)

Common name[edit]

I don't agree that the common name should be "Netherlands". Consider the title "Rise of the Dutch Republic" -- the book by John Lothrop Motley.

If the issue is that the common name is used to link to things like the flag, then the template should give a way to override that; if there isn't one then the right answer is to fix the template. (Or for a workaround, a redirect could be created.)

Paul Koning 10:50, 11 June 2007 (UTC)

The common name does not appear in the template no one sees it unless the click edit its the function the infobox uses for successor states for example the Irish Free State uses the common name Ireland there is no need to change it. --Barryob Vigeur de dessus 12:31, 11 June 2007 (UTC)
Ah.. thanks for setting me straight. I withdraw my comment. Paul Koning 13:53, 11 June 2007 (UTC)


There's disagreement among contributors right now whether the Inquisition should be mentioned.

I put it back in, citing a source that mentions it prominently. That text has just been deleted, with the comment "If Motley says that he's wrong".

It seems to me this is not the correct way to handle the disagreement. If source A says one thing and source B disagrees, the article should say just that -- it should mention that there is disagreement on the item in question and cite the two sources with the opposing viewpoints.

I believe that's the way this is normally handled in Wikipedia, after all that's how you get to a "neutral point of view".

Paul Koning (talk) 11:57, 17 December 2007 (UTC)

I have no problem with describing the judicial institutions created by Charles V for the suppression of Protestantism with the word "Inquisition" - and in fact, the word "Inquisition" was not used in article mainspace: the word "persecution" was used, and bluelinked to Spanish Inquisition. I do have a problem with linking to "Spanish Inquisition", as the Spanish Inquisition was a specific tribunal (or set of tribunals) which never had any jurisdiction in the Low Countries. I'd be very surprised if Motley claimed otherwise, but since you seem to have Motley on your shelf, can you quote a couple of his phrases to see how they differ from Geyl's perspective (namely that "the monarch arrogated to himself complete control over the clerical heresy-hunters")? Specifically, the form of Inquisition instituted by Charles V was a mixed tribunal of theological advisers and jurists seconded from the Raad van Brabant or the Hof van Holland, to make sure that the secular power remained in control. The Spanish Inquisition, not to mention the Roman Inquisition, the Portuguese Inquisition, or the episcopal inquisitions of the Middle Ages, were tribunals of a far more clerical nature, so if you do want to put the word "inquisition" into article mainspace you shouldn't do so without clarifying it; be aware that you can't link to Spanish Inquisition for clarification because you would be misrepresenting (rather than clarifying) the facts, and you can't even link to Inquisition until you edit that article so that it also covers this type of tribunal.
Alongside this particular Inquisition, episcopal tribunals continued to operate (rather ineffectively, even after the new bishoprics were founded); while to try to keep some sort of ecclesiastical independence with regard to who was considered a heretic the pope also appointed an Inquisitor Apostolic (who couldn't actually do anything unless the local courts backed him up). So there were actually three types of tribunal that can legitimately be described as an Inquisition (none of them as "Spanish Inquisition"), but the ordinary courts of law also took cognizance of heresy, as they were required to do by Charles V's heresy legislation, and many victims of persecution were victims not of any of the three possible inquisitions but of the Raad van Brabant, the Hof van Holland, Antwerp's Vierschaar, and so on - none of which can legitimately be described as an "inquisition". So persecution went far beyond any Inquisition, and even when conducted by an Inquisition was subject to governmental control: hence generalized "persecution", and primarily by "the Government", rather than "the Church". See this --Paularblaster (talk) 12:51, 17 December 2007 (UTC)
Very nice explanation, thanks.
Yes, I have Motley on my shelf, but you can find the full text online at Project Gutenberg. In general, Motley uses the term "Inquisition" or "Espiscopal Inquisition" and indeed does not say "Spanish Inquisition" except when talking about the institution in Spain. However, he mades this observation:

he great cause of the revolt which, within a few years, was to break

forth throughout the Netherlands; was the inquisition. ...
There has been a good deal of somewhat superfluous discussion concerning the different kinds of inquisition. The distinction drawn between the papal, the episcopal, and the Spanish inquisitions, did not, in the sixteenth century, convince many unsophisticated minds of the merits of the establishment in any of its shapes. However classified or entitled, it was a machine for inquiring into a man's thoughts, and for burning him

if the result was not satisfactory.
Given how prominently the term "inquisition" is featured in the discussion of Dutch history, it seemed to me necessary to use the term. Granting that "Spanish Inquisition" is incorrect, so linking to it is wrong, the solution would seem to be either to be more explicit here, or to link to an article that describes the correct flavor of inquisition -- but not to excise the word entirely.
And still, I wonder, as Motley did, whether the distinction is not a distinction without a difference -- formally accurate but irrelevant to the victims burned by the Inquisition whatever its full name may have been.
Paul Koning (talk) 02:00, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
Well, clearly it made little practical difference at all to someone being burnt just how the tribunal that got them there operated, and whether it was an ecclesiastical or a secular court. But it made a great deal of difference to the jurists on the Raad van Brabant and the Hof van Holland (who saw heresy strictly in terms of obedience to the law on religion), and to the magistrates of the great cities (who generally didn't like burning people, but were determined that if it had to be done they should be the ones doing it), and to the canon lawyers (hence the pope's attempt to get an inquisitor of his own installed, alongside those of the bishops and the king). From a historian's point of view Motley's line is rather like saying "Bolsheviks, Maoists - same difference, they all did terrible things". I quite agree that the word "inquisition" would not be out of place in article mainspace - inquisitions of one sort or another were an important element in the background to the Revolt, and deleting the link to "Spanish Inquisition" was just a quick fix (I only spotted it because I was already editing "Church" to "Government": the fact that this was a policy driven by the royal will, first of Charles V and then of Philip II, was also an important element in the direction of the subsequent Revolt). To cite myself (from a list of causes of discontent): "The intensification of persecution after 1550 drove Calvinists to desperation while alienating the civic magistracies who saw inquisitors infringe upon their jurisdictions" (Paul Arblaster, A History of the Low Countries. Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006, p. 120.) --Paularblaster (talk) 09:34, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
Ok, I'll see what I can do. By the way, I forgot to mention that Motley also refers to the "papal inquisition", for example in speaking of the Edict of Worms:

The bloody edict,

issued at Worms, without even a pretence of sanction by the estates, was carried into immediate effect. The papal inquisition was introduced into the provinces to assist its operations. The bloody work, for which the

reign of Charles is mainly distinguished in the Netherlands, now began.
By the way, "inquisition" is mentioned three times in the Plakkaat van Verlatinghe, one of those three times as "Spanish Inquisition". I'll have to read it closely to see just what it says (16th century Dutch is tough...)
Paul Koning (talk) 12:03, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
Thanks, I'm glad someone else is doing it. Fear of the Spanish Inquisition (and the propagandistic use of that fear) is certainly also worth mentioning. The Act of Abjuration (to some extent rightly) accuses Philip of establishing the new bishoprics in order to make inquisitorial procedures more effective; it goes on to say that this was ("as everybody knows") a way of smuggling in the ("always odious") Spanish Inquisition - but that rather stretches the point. --Paularblaster (talk) 12:37, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

Francis van Aarssens[edit]

Can anybody tell me what Francis van Aarssens is doing so prominently in the "see also" part. It seems quite out of place to me. Joost 99 (talk) 21:34, 16 February 2008 (UTC)

Equal states?[edit]

As far as I know my history the states were only equal in theory. In practice Holland dictated policy with bland disregard of the other states. This article gives the false impression that the Dutch republic was somewhat like the USA, but it was not. (talk) 20:26, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

Why not open an account, so we know whom we are talking to? But as to your point: it is a complicated matter. See First Stadtholderless Period for a treatment of the controversy about who was "boss" and during which era. It was not cut and dried. If there is any doubt that the Republic was more like the US under the Continental Congress than under the current US constitution, just look at Federalist Paper No. 20. But who says all current US states are equal?:-)--Ereunetes (talk) 20:17, 7 June 2008 (UTC)

Religion unsatisfactory[edit]

The section on religion is clearly written from a Catholic viewpoint and concentrates entirely on the intolerance of the official Calvinist church. The information is appropriate, but needs to be complemented by material on developments within Calvinism, such as the major Arminian controversy and the Synod of Dort. And was the position really uniform across the United Provinces? I would like to know more about the position of Lutheranism in the eastern provinces, and the Sephardic Jews of Amsterdam. --JamesWim (talk) 14:45, 12 November 2008 (UTC)

Partly solved. Joost 99 (talk) 13:13, 23 September 2010 (UTC)

History of the Netherlands templates[edit]

There are two templates here which seem to come from History of the Netherlands. Although they are great overthere they don't seem to fit well with this article. The first is ok but it is badly placed as it floats somewhere in the middle of the page. The second is too general, it includes for example "The fight against Water" etc. To readers looking for information on the Dutch Republic this is not relevant. Readers are already referred to the general History of the Netherlands at the bottom of the page. Therefore: 1. reposition the the first template. 2. delete the second template. Anyone agree? (talk) 15:26, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

Crown republic[edit]

Untill it was decided that the Stadtholdership would be hereditary, the republic did not have a monarch... Mijnnaamgaatunietaan (talk) 12:55, 22 September 2010 (UTC)

I don't think heredity is decisive for ascertaining if a country does or does not have a monarch. I don't know if "confederal crowned republic" (certainly looking at the stadtholderless periods) is the best form, but maybe the closest you can get to choosing a correct one. Joost 99 (talk) 15:03, 22 September 2010 (UTC)
I don't believe so, as the official head of state was the weekly rotating president of the States-General. Besides that, the Stadtholder did not have executive power. He was the commander-in-chief in times of war, but he was a civil servent and empoyee of the States-General. During times of peace, the Stadtholder was fired and the raadspensionaris would gain more power. And last but not least, every single state was able to appoint it's own stadtholder, and although most states would appoint the same as Holland did, Friesland often had a different. Therefore it is false to say that the Republic was a crown republic. Mijnnaamgaatunietaan (talk) 09:45, 25 September 2010 (UTC)
I would agree. The Stadtholder was not head of state. Additionally, "crowned republic" generally refers to states which are nominally monarchies, but function like republics. The Dutch Republic (in the periods with a strong stadtholder, at least) functioned in the opposite manner - it was formally a republic, but was functionally more like a monarchy. john k (talk) 13:41, 25 September 2010 (UTC)


It would be very nice to have a map that is not from 1658. john k (talk) 17:44, 23 September 2010 (UTC)

Like this one? Mijnnaamgaatunietaan (talk) 19:57, 25 September 2010 (UTC)
I think we can do better; seems to be from the earliest days of the Republic and thus doesn't show the Generality Lands. This one, or at least the part of it showing the Dutch Republic, is more what I had in mind - showing the 7 provinces, Drenthe, and the Generality Lands. john k (talk) 03:54, 26 September 2010 (UTC)
Seems good. I'd only delete the dates on the left side. Mijnnaamgaatunietaan (talk) 16:20, 27 September 2010 (UTC)

Economic perspective - Religion[edit]

" was a surprise to many that a nation not based on the church or on a single royal leader could be so successful."

It's not true. The United provinces were actually based on the Reformed Church(even if not de iure). This same article mentiones it in the Religion section. A country where state officials were required to be Reformed(Calvinist) and only the dominant Church was allowed to hold public services can by no means be considered secular.

-- (talk) 21:37, 23 December 2010 (UTC)


>Charles was succeeded by his son, King Philip II of Spain.

This sentence covers too much ground. So Burgundy became part of the Spanish Empire, I think I get that, but the situation should be stated more clearly. Did all of the Holy Roman German Empire fall to Spain? Or just Burgundy? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:45, 25 August 2011 (UTC)

Just Burgundy. Gerard von Hebel (talk) 15:23, 1 May 2015 (UTC)


The article states in the lead: "Republic of the Seven United Provinces (Republiek der Zeven Verenigde Provinciën), was a republic in Europe existing from 1581, when part of the Netherlands separated from Spanish rule." In fact however the Northern Netherlands started looking for a new sovereign in 1581 and found one in Frances, Duke of Anjou. After he left the Union became an English protectorate and sovereignty was offered to Henri III of France and Elizabeth I of England. Only in 1588, when the protectorate came to an end, sovereignty was vested in the Estates of the provinces and what can be called a "Republic" was born. Gerard von Hebel (talk) 15:28, 1 May 2015 (UTC)

True to some extent. Francis, Duke of Anjou was offered a post as Duke of Brabant and count of Flanders. Whether these titles constitute full sovereignty is however doubtful as his powers were very much limited by goodwill of the states general (and the ducal title is far removed from "true" royalty). Both Henry III and Elizabeth declined to accept sovereignty (not wanting to start all out war with Spain), so each of these earlier sovereign had at best a halfhearted tenure; and the states general was the more powerful institute in the background. Only in 1588 as stated did the states general adopt independent power (more out of necessity as no further potential sovereigns could be found) than out of choice. The problem remains the rather chaotic period 1581-88. De jure, the Netherlands were part of the Spanish empire (and would remain so until 1648), de facto they were independent and looking for another sovereign. Was this a republic, probably not. Was it a feudal state governed by a sovereign, very unlikely. Was it an anarchy. Not really as local institutions functioned. I have no idea what to call this period. Republic may not be furthest from the truth. Arnoutf (talk) 23:12, 1 May 2015 (UTC)
Francis of Anjou was styled Duke of Brabant, because it was regarded the highest of the titles he bore as sovereign (in name only perhaps) of all seventeen provinces (of which only seven actually recognized him). So there was a monarchy at least until 1584 when he left the country. As the search for a new Lord went on, you could say that the thrones of the provinces were vacant from 1584 to 1588. I always learned at school that the "nearer union", as the seven remaining provinces of the "wider" Union of Utrecht were called, decided to give up searching for a new sovereign and opted for a Republic in 1588. Gerard von Hebel (talk) 13:42, 2 May 2015 (UTC)
I am not sure a ducal title can be labelled as monarchy (as that tends to be kings and emperors only, although principality and grand dukes are perhaps close enough). I am pretty sure the Dutch did not want to appoint a "king" as that would probably offend Philip (even more) and the holy Roman empire and probably even the other European kings (fairly threatening if people can elect an alternative king).
I like your idea that the position of "overlord" of the provinces was vacant until 1588. That makes even more sense than calling the period a republic. These years were somewhat of a transition period between a feudal and a republican system.
Indeed, I also learned that in 1588 they gave up the search and opted for Republic.
Perhaps we can rephrase the lead to say something like the following perhaps
The Dutch Republic, officially known as the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands (Republiek der Zeven Verenigde Nederlanden), Republic of the United Netherlands or Republic of the Seven United Provinces (Republiek der Zeven Verenigde Provinciën), was a republic in Europe finding its origin in 1581, when part of the Netherlands separated from Spanish rule. In 1588 the provinces formally announced themselves to be a republic. This republic lasted until 1795, when it was succeeded by the Batavian republic. Arnoutf (talk) 13:58, 2 May 2015 (UTC)
A little mistake, the Republic was proclaimed on 25 July 1590, not in 1588.

The States-General reduced the powers of the Council of State, and the States of the seven provinces of 1587-1588 retained overall controll. On 25 July 1590, they declared that the States-General was 'sovereign institution of the country, and has no overlord except the deputies of the provincial estates themselves'. The Unites Provinces had finally become the Dutch Repjublic.

— Peter Limm, The Dutch Revolt 1559 - 1648, Routledge, 2014. p.62
Trasamundo (talk) 20:41, 6 March 2016 (UTC)