Timeline: 1593-1619

Resurgent Dutch forces lead by Maurice of Nassau go on the offensive, setting the stage for a brokered Twelve Years Truce.

At the same time, the Humanist community at Leiden and Calvinist congregations grow in influence, leading to a cataclysmic confrontation in the Synod of Dort.

Dutch Military Successes and the Birth of the Republic

These timelines are a work in progress and compilation of multiple academic sources.

These forty-eight works have been deemed of such importance by the Digital Library for Dutch Literature (DBNL) to be included in its Basisbibliotheek of key Dutch-language texts from the cultural history of the Low Countries.

Key Events 1593 – 1599

 1590: The Barendsz. expedition to the East by way of the Arctic ends in disaster when a ship gets stuck in ice off of the uncharted island of Nova Zembla and the crew endures its winter in makeshift shelters.

159X: The first expedition to the East Indies (modern day Indonesia)

25 July 1590 The States-General decrease the power of the Council of State and assumes role as the “sovereign institution” of the United Provinces

3 September 1590 Duke of Parma invades France and raises siege of Paris with an army of 26,000. Spanish garrison installed.

April 1592- Duke of Parma invades France and raises siege

Formation of the VOC, or Dutch East India Company after competing companies consolidate.

 December 1592: Alexandre Farnese, the Prince of Parma and great foe of the Dutch rebels, dies.

1593 – 1597: Dutch continue to see military successes, retaking cities once held by the Spanish including Geetruiden, Gronigen, Rheinburg, Grol, Oldenzall, and Encschede.

March- June 1593 Siege of Gertruydenberg by Spanish forces. Scots Brigade with 1500 troops present

1593-1594 Brussels government truce with Huguenot leader, Henri of Navarre

1594 Spanish mutineers take over the village of Zichem, raising “contributions” towards their own upkeep as far away as Brussels, a 50 mile distance.

1594 Archduke Ernest, brother of Rudolph, Holy Roman Emperor becomes Governor General of the Southern Provinces.

1594 Groningen captured by Spanish

January 1595 Henri IV declares war on Spain

1595 Archduke Ernest dies. The Count of Fuentes replaces him

1595 Spanish capture Cambrai from France

c. 1596: The first dissection of a cadaver is conducted in front of an audience at the specially built anatomical theater (“Theatrum Anatomicum”) at Leiden University by Pieter Pauw, the university’s first professor of anatomy and botany. The theater was specially built for this purpose in the Faliede Bagijnkerk of Leiden and was the first of its kind north of the Alps.

January 1596 Archduke Cardinal Albert appointed Governor General of Spanish Netherlands

1-22 April 1596 Siege of Calais. Spanish army besieges French garrison

17 April- Maurice of Nassau sends fleet to lift siege but is blockaded before approaching city

21 April Elizabeth I offers assistance if Calais is surrendered to England

22 April Calais falls and 5,000 man garrison and the townspeople are massacred

31 June-1 July 1596 A joint English-Dutch fleet raids Cadiz in Spain destroying what was to become a second Great Armada to attack England. Fleet consists of 57 ships, and a total of 6,000 soldiers, 2,000 from the army of the United Provinces commanded by Sir Francis Vere and consisting of Dutch, German, Waloon, Scots and Irish soldiers.

31 June-18 August 1596 Siege of Hulst. Spanish force 15,000 defeats garrison of 5,000 under command of Count Solms, commander of Zeeland State Regiment.

31 October 1596 France and England recognize the Republic of the United Provinces. Republic expected to field an army of 8.000 and turn over 4,000, including the five English Regiments, for service in France.

22 January 1597 Battle of Turnhout. The 800 man Army of Maurice of Nassau defeats 5,000 man force commanded by Count Varax. Maurice’ s force consists of Vere and 8 companies of English, Docray with 8 companies of English, Murray with 8 companies of Scots and Kloetingen and La Corde with12 companies of Dutch and Zeelanders. Hohenlo commanded the cavalry. The force of Italian, Spanish, German and Waloon veterans wiped out.

1597 States Army captures Reinberg

March 1597 Sack and capture of Amiens by Spanish.

March- 19 September 1597 Siege of Amiens. Spanish driven out of Amiens

1598: Gerrit de Veer, Waerachtighe beschryvinghe van drie seylagien, ter werelt noyt soo vreemt ghehoort †

1598 Philip II cedes the southern states of the Netherlands to Archduke Albert of Austria and his wife Isabella.

1598 Francis Mendoza, Admiral of Aragon appointed military commander of Spanish forces, who then invades Holy Roman Empire States of Clever, Juliers, Munster and Berg with army of 8,000 Spanish, Italian, Wallon and German soldiers and proceeds to capture several German towns over that autumn.

October-November 1598 Maurice of Nassau adopts defensive strategy, preventing Aragon’s invasion of United Provinces

1598-99 Spanish Garrison of Antwerp mutinies

13 September 1598 Phillip II dies

1599: Cornelis Kiliaan publishes the third and greatest edition of his Dutch dictionaries , the Etymologicum Teutonicae Linguae. With over 40,000 entries, it was the first modern Dutch dictionary and would remain the standard reference for two hundred years. †

September 1599 Archduke Albert arrives at Brussels


June 1600 States Army victory at the battle of Nieuwpoort. Francis Mendoza captured.

July 1600 Spanish army mutinies

1600: On the advice of military engineer and mathematician Simon Steevin, Prince Maurice calls for the opening of an engineering school, the Nederduytsche Mathematique. Notably, all instruction would be given in Dutch, rather than Latin.

1600: Goltzius, at the height of his reputation and life at the age of forty-two, gives up the printmaking which brought him such renown and begins to paint.

5 July 1601-20 September 1604 Siege of Ostend. The besieging army numbers approximately 20,000. The besieged force consists of about 8,000 initially under the command of Sir Francis Vere. There are English, Scots, Dutch, Flemings, Frenchmen and Germans in the garrison force. 7 January 1602- Spanish forces attempt to take Ostend by storm. The defenders open a sluice which brings seawater into the attackers’ trenches, drowning many and sweeping others out to sea. 1602- Estimated that 4000 men died in the forts year of the siege within Ostend and probably twice as many in the trenches of the besieging force. September 1604- The States General grant permission to surrender. 20 September 1604 The articles of capitulation grant the defenders full military honors. Garrisons marches out, flags flying and drums beating.

July 1601 Siege of Rheinberg by Maurice of Nassau. Spanish defeated.

July 1601 Capture of Meurs by Maurice of Nassau and States Army.

 20 March 1602: Dutch East Indies Company established

June 1602-August 1602 3,500 Spanish and Italian mutineers occupy village of Hoogstraten. Spanish army attempt siege of mutineers at Hoogstraten but retreat at approach of States Army. Mutineers are then offered to help besiege Grave and garrison it afterwords.

July 1602 Francis Mendoza exchanged for all States Army prisoners held by the Spanish.

3 October 1602 A joint English-States fleet under Sir Robert Mansel and Admiral Obdam destroys Spanish fleet in the English Channel

 1603: Jacobus Arminius is invited to become a professor of theology at Leiden University following the deaths of Franciscus Junius and Lucas Trelcatius the elder from an outbreak of the plague.

 24 March 1603: Elizabeth I of England dies. James VI of Scotland becomes James I of England.

1604, Willem Bartjens, De cijfferinghe (1604) †

 1604: Karel van Mander publishes his seminal Schilder-Boeck, a six-part work on art theory and collection of influential painters’ biographies. The section on Netherlandish painters remains relevant to art historians to this very day. Van Mander would pass away two years later. †

May-August 1604 Siege of Sluis by States army. Sluis falls.

1604 Spanish peace treaty with England (Treaty of London)

 1604-1609: Doctrinal debates between two Leiden university professors of theology, Jacobus Arminius and Franciscus Gomarus, develop into a wider rift and controversy across the Dutch Reformed Church.

1605-1608, Simon Stevin, Wisconstighe gedachtenissen †

 February 1606: Willem Janszoon, captain of the VOC ship Duyfken (“Little Dove”) was the first European to made landfall in Australia far northern Queensland. Janszoon proceeded to chart some 320 km (200 mi) of the coastline, which he thought was a southerly extension of New Guinea. This incorrect assumption was replicated in Dutch maps for many decades

 1607: A Dutch fleet under Admiral Jacob Van Heemskerck destroys Spanish fleet off of Gibraltar

1608: Peter Paul Rubens returns to the Low Countries after eight years touring and painting in Italy. Back in Antwerp, he establishes what would eventually become Europe’s most successful and prolific painting studio.

 September 1609: Henry Hudson, an English captain hired by the VOC, sails up the river now named for him in present-day New York state in his ship, the Halve Maen (“Half Moon”). His findings would set the stage for Dutch colonial settlement in North America.

 9 April 1609: The Twelve Years’ Truce is signed between Spain and the United Provinces following three years of intermittent negotiations. Maurice of Nassau opposes it but is forced to accept it by the States General and Grand Pensionary, Johan van Oldenbarnevelt. Temporary peace results in the Low Countries.

 19 October 1609: Jacobis Arminius dies.


1610, Hugo de Groot, De oudheid van de Bataafse nu Hollandse Republiek †

1610, Willem Baudartius, Morghen-wecker der vrye Nederlantsche Provintien †

1612, Jacob van der Schuere, Nederduytsche spellinge †

1612, Jacob van der Schuere, Nederduytsche spellinge †

1612, Lodovico Guicciardini, Beschrijvinghe van alle de Neder-landen †

1612, Willem Meerman, Comoedia vetus †

 January 1612: Hendrik Laurensz. Spiegel, one of the greatest Dutch-language poets and authors of his generation, dies of chicken pox. His masterpiece, a long epic poem titled the Hertspiegel (“Heart-Mirror”) outlining his neostoic philosophy, would be published posthumously in 1614. †

 March 1612: Philip Galle, engraver and publisher, dies. His sons and sons-in-law continue on in the business in Antwerp.

1613, Justus de Harduwijn, De weerliicke liefden tot Roose-mond †

 2 March 1613: Rudolph Snel van Royen (Rudolph Snellius), early Leiden professor of mathematics and prominent teacher of Ramist methods, dies and is succeeded by his son, Willebrord Snell. Willebrord would go on to be an even more accomplished mathematician and scientist.

1614: The Dutch establish Fort Nassau, their first fur trading post in North America. Though flooded out three years later, it is later rebuilt as Fort Orange. It and the neighboring settlements would eventually coalesce into the village of Beverwijck, the precursor of Albany, NY.

1614, Roemer Visscher, Sinnepoppen †

1616, Daniël Heinsius, Nederduytsche poemata 1616 †

 October 1616: Dirk Hartog, captain of the 700-ton East Indiaman Eendracht, becomes the second European to make landfall in Australia. Unlike Janszoon a decade prior, Hartog and his men land on the far western edge of the continent, some 455mi (~732km) north of present-day Perth. There they engrave a record of their discovery and name’s to a dinner plate and nail it to a post for posterity.

 1617: Willebrord Snell publishes his Eratosthenes Batavus, a method for surveying, triangulating, and measuring the earth

 September 1617: The Nederduytsche Academie is founded by Samuel Coster, Gerbrand Bredero, and P.C. Hooft. Not only did the academy represent an evolution

 1618: The 19-year-old Flemish painter Anthony van Dyck is employed as Rubens’ chief assistant in Antwerp. He would go on to be the chief court painter in England.

1618, Nicolaus Mulerius, Hemelsche trompet morgenwecker †

1618, Jacob Cats, Aenmerckinghe op de tegenwoordige steert-sterre en drie lofdichten op Philips van Lansbergen †

 November 1618 – May 1619: Simmering social tensions in the young republic lead to the Synod of Dort. It concludes with the hardline Reformed faction claiming victory over their more moderate, humanist foes

 20 February 1618: Philip William, the eldest son of William the Silent and Prince of Orange, passes away. Upon his death, Maurice of Nassau then becomes Prince of Orange.

 13 May 1619: Johan van Oldenbarnevelt, Land’s Advocate of Holland and de facto Prime Minister of the Republic, is executed after years of political tensions with Maurits van Nassau lead to his arrest on trumped-up charges of treason.

 May 24, 1619: Johannes Wtenbogaert, leader of the Remonstrants following the death of Arminius, is banned from the Dutch Republic and his goods confiscated. This follows the Synod of Dort and consolidation of power by the conservative Gomarist party within the Dutch Reformed Church.