In the 17th and 18th centuries the Netherlands fared very well. Indeed, the Republic of Seven United Netherlands was one of the most powerful and richest countries in the world! That is why we call this era ‘The Golden Age’. We thanked these prosperous times mainly to shipping.
The Dutch Golden Age
During the Golden Age the Netherlands were known for shipbuilding. Requests came from all over Europe for the building of ships. In addition, the Netherlands had the largest number of ships in the world. So you can rightfully say that shipbuilding was an important sector for the Dutch economy.
The start of the VOC
Besides shipbuilding we also had a large share in trading with the Far East. Thanks to shipping, trade with the Dutch East Indies flourished. The Dutch East Indies Company (VOC) was founded and Amsterdam developed into the ‘warehouse of the world’. Goods from all corners of the world came to Amsterdam and were traded here for lots of money.
Famous Dutchmen from the Golden Age
It was not only trade that flourished in the Golden Age. Dutch artists and scientists from the era are still world famous today. What to think of Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, who invented the microscope. Of Christiaan Huygens, who contributed a lot to the development of the telescope. The world famous masterpieces by painters Rembrandt van Rijn and Johannes Vermeer still attract many admirers to the museums every year.
Visit the exhibition about the Golden Age
You should also visit our exhibition on the Golden Age in the National Maritime Museum.