The Netherlands

In contrast to Belgium, the Netherlands was an under-developed region for most of the Middle Ages. Only with the Renaissance and a revival in trade and urban development did the lowland states feel prepared to fight for their independence. Though dominated by Holland, the most powerful state, the rest of the Netherlands has a diverse history that can make leaving Amsterdam worth your time.

Select a Region to Explore in Detail

image/svg+xml Tooltip City Name Description of Region
Brabant

Brabant

The power of Brabant is evident in the legacy of their building projects. Traces of the distinctive Brabantine Gothic can be seen in almost every Gothic City-Hall, Church, and home in the lowlands. The Renaissance of Antwerp and the later Counter-Reformation styles of the Court in Brussels would all come to define architecture in the lowlands.
Frisia

Frisia

Frisia is the only region in the Lowlands to take its name from one of the Germanic tribes to settle in the region. A sparsely populated region, it resisted the feudal order of Charlemagne until the end of the Middle Ages, and today remain proud of its fierce Republicanism. The land is known for its small villages and wide-open plains.
Gelderland

Gelderland

The Gelderland here is actually two territories, the lands of the Bishops of Utrecht and the Duchy of Gelre. They represent the strongest ties to the Holy Roman Empire in the lowlands, and the cityscapes reflect this. From Rhenish Romanesque churches to the Holland-influenced classicism, it is a cultural borderland between the Dutch and German-speaking lands.
Holland

Holland

With ancient Duchy of Brabant subsumed by the Habsburg lowlands, Holland became the most powerful state in the region. Indeed, it would lead the Netherlands on an 80 Year War of Independence culminating with the Dutch Nation achieving status as a international great power. So influential was Holland, that many refer to the entire Netherlands as Holland, despite the state consisting only a fraction of the entire country.
Mosan Valley

Mosan Valley

The river Maas/Meuse was the heart of the early Carolingian Empire. With the imperial capital in Aachen, the cities of Maastricht, Liege, and Huy became centers of Romanesque and Gothic Art. As Imperial power weakened, the Prince-Bishops of Liege rose to prominence. Their dominance of the valley defined the region with their stylistic preferences, even through to the present day.
Oversticht

Oversticht

The Oversticht is simply the region of the Eastern Netherlands ruled over by the Bishops of Utrecht. The region is largely uninhabited, famous today for its Communists. The region was so poor that it was denied representation in the States-General. Once upon a time though, it was a land full of castles and villages, and much of this legacy survives today.

Return to the Modern Countries of Europe

Central Europe

Explore Europe from the perspective of ages past, when borders were different and when regional identities were stronger.