The Dutch Empire were the territories controlled by the the Netherlands starting in the 1600s and was based on a world wide trade. They established the Dutch East India Company which sailed around Africa to the "East Indies.” This trade route included a trading post at the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa. They were the only Europeans to be permitted to trade with the Japanese. The Dutch East India Company maintained a large army and a powerful fleet of ships which helped them drive the English and Portuguese out of the Indies.
The Dutch West India Company sailed across the Atlantic Ocean to the Americas. In 1624 the Dutch West India Company founded a Colony along the Hudson River called New Netherlands. Their wealth grew because of the fur, timber, and other goods they exported from this colony. In 1664 English troops captured the city at the heart of the New Netherlands, New Amsterdam, which they renamed New York.
The decline of the Dutch Empire began when they lost naval supremacy to England.
The Dutch East India Company (VOC) in the 17th century became the largest business in the world. During the 200 years of its existence nearly a million Europeans left Holland on one of the VOC's ships. Its overseas bases employed about 25,000 workers. In 1687-88 the company's Ceylon and Batavia offices had over 2,500 employees each; it operated Japan's solitary window to the world at the port of Deshima, with 27 employees. Until 1688, when Japan banned the export of silver, it was the source of a plentiful and inexpensive supply of this precious metal. During the 17th century the profit on the annual trade with Japan was over 50%, making Deshima the VOC's richest trading post. The Dutch supplied the Japanese with Chinese silk, textiles from Europe, spices from the Dutch-controlled East Indies, hides from Thailand and Taiwan and ivory from Africa and South East Asia. The VOC's exports from Japan included silver, gold, copper, camphor, porcelain, lacquer-ware and grains. In the 18th century, however, the VOC lost speed. In Europe the Dutch Republic was losing its preeminent place as a trading power to Britain and France. London replaced Amsterdam as the world's financial center. In the early part of the century a series of disastrous shipwrecks in East Asia proved costly for the company. In 1743 the Deshima trade post in Japan made a loss for the first time. The intellectual impact on Japan was undiminished, however, as Japanese scholars threw themselves into the study of Western medicine, astronomy, mathematics, botany, physics, chemistry, pharmacy, geography and the military arts -- all studied in Dutch language books.
Control over the Netherlands East Indies, restored from British to Dutch rule by the Treaty of Vienna in 1815, was strengthened. The colonies sent substantial profits to the Dutch economy and revenues to the Dutch government. However, criticism of exploitative methods of the Dutch East India Company brought a shift in the economic system from forced payments in crops to traditional taxation, and it took the Dutch 35 years to subdue the Achin (Atjeh) rebels in Sumatra.
From 1800 to 1950 Durch engineers created an infrastructure for the Dutch East Indies, including 67,000 kilometers of roads, 7,500 kilometers of railways, many large bridges, modern irrigation systems covering 1.4 million hectares of rice fields, several international harbors, and 140 public drinking water systems. With these public works, Dutch engineers constructed the material base of the colonial and postcolonial Indonesian state.
- Andrade, Tonio. "The Rise and Fall of Dutch Taiwan, 1624-1662: Cooperative Colonization and the Statist Model of European Expansion." Journal of World History 2006 17(4): 429-450. Issn: 1045-6007 Fulltext: Project Muse
- Arasaratnam, Sinnappah. Ceylon and the Dutch, 1600-1800: External Influences and Internal Change in Early Modern Sri Lanka (1996), 332pp
- Aymard, Maurice, ed. Dutch Capitalism and World Capitalism (1982).
- Beekman, E. M. Troubled Pleasures: Dutch Colonial Literature from the East Indies, 1600-1950. (1996). 654 pp.
- Bogucka M. "Amsterdam and the Baltic in the First Half of the Seventeenth Century", Economic History Review, 2nd ser. 26 (1973), 433-47. in JSTOR
- Boxer C. R. The Dutch Seaborne Empire, 1660-1800 (1965).
- Dash, Mike. Tulipomania. The Story of the World's Most Coveted Flower and the Extraordinary Passions It Aroused. London: Victor Gollancz, 1999. ISBN 0575067233. Very entertaining and informative book about tulips and the Dutch in the 17th century
- Emmer, Pieter. The Dutch in the Atlantic Economy, 1580-1880: Trade, Slavery and Emancipation. (1998). 283 pp.
- Foray, Jennifer L. "The Kingdom Shall Rise Again: Dutch Resistance, Collaboration, and Imperial Planning in the German-Occupied Netherlands." PhD dissertation Columbia U. 2007. 550 pp. DAI 2007 68(1): 309-A. DA3249079 Fulltext: ProQuest Dissertations & Theses
- Gouda, Frances. Dutch Culture Overseas: Colonial Practice in the Netherlands Indies, 1900-1942 (1995) online edition
- Israel, Jonathan I. Dutch Primacy in World Trade, 1585-1740 (1989) 462 pgs. online edition
- Jones, Geoffrey. Renewing Unilever: Transformation and Tradition. (2006). 447 pp.
- Klerck, E. S. De History of the Netherlands Indies, (2 vols. Rotterdam, 1938)
- Lesger, Cle. The Rise of the Amsterdam Market And Information Exchange: Merchants, Commercial Expansion And Change in the Spatial Economy of the Low Countries, (2006) excerpt and text search
- Moore, Bob and Nierop, Henk van, eds. Colonial Empires Compared: Britain and the Netherlands, 1750-1850. (2003). 204 pp.
- Ormrod, David. The Rise of Commercial Empires: England and the Netherlands in the Age of Mercantilism, 1650-1770. (2003). 400 pp.
- Palmer, Leslie H. Indonesia and the Dutch (1962) online edition
- Postma, Johannes The Dutch in the Atlantic Slave Trade, 1600-1815 (1990), says Dutch dominated the Atlantic slave trade 1636-89
- Rowen, Herbert H. The Princes of Orange: The Stadholders in the Dutch Republic (1990) excerpt and text search
- Sluyterman, Keetie E. Dutch Enterprise in the Twentieth Century: Business Strategies in a Small Open Economy (2005) online edition
- Unger, Richard W. "Herring, Technology, and International Trade in the Seventeenth Century," The Journal of Economic History, Vol. 40, No. 2 (Jun., 1980), pp. 253-280 in JSTOR
- Unger, Richard W. A History of Brewing in Holland, 900-1900: Economy, Technology and the State. (2001) 428 pp.
- Van Hoesel, Roger, and Rajneesh Narula. Multinational Enterprises from the Netherlands (1999) online edition
- Veenendaal, Augustus. Railways in the Netherlands: A Brief History. (2001) 235 pp.
- Vink, Markus. "'The World's Oldest Trade': Dutch Slavery and Slave Trade in the Indian Ocean in the Seventeenth Century," Journal of World History 24.2 (2003) 131-177 in Project Muse
- Vries, Jan de, and Ad van der Woude. The First Modern Economy: Success, Failure, and Perseverance of the Dutch Economy, 1500-1815. (1997). 767 pp.
- Arthur van Riel, "Review: Rethinking the Economic History of the Dutch Republic: The Rise and Decline of Economic Modernity Before the Advent of Industrialized Growth," The Journal of Economic History, Vol. 56, No. 1 (Mar., 1996), pp. 223-229 in JSTOR
- Wintle, Michael. An Economic and Social History of the Netherlands, 1800-1920: Demographic, Economic and Social Transition. (2000). 399 pp. online edition
- Zanden, Jan Luiten and Riel, Arthur van. The Strictures of Inheritance: The Dutch Economy in the Nineteenth Century. (2004). 384 pp.