Dutch Empire/Dutch Culture During the Golden Age

The thrifty maxim of the wary Dutch, Is to save all the Money they can touch.

—Benjamin Franklin

The Dutch Golden Age was an age of wealth and prosperity in the Dutch Republic roughly from 1590-1715. Along with wealth, Dutch trade, science, and art were among the most acclaimed in the world.



During a large part of the 17th century the Dutch, traditionally able seafarers and keen mapmakers, dominated world trade, a position which before had been occupied by the Portuguese and Spaniards, and which later would be lost to England. With the VOC dominating trade in Asia, their wealth came into the Netherlands. The Dutch also dominated trade between European countries. The Low Countries were favorably positioned on a crossing of east-west and north-south trade routes and connected to a large German hinterland through the Rhine river. Dutch traders shipped wine from France and Portugal to the Baltic lands and returned with grain destined for countries around the Mediterranean Sea. The Trip brothers, arms traders, built the Trippenhuis in Amsterdam, currently the seat of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, which is a typical example of 17th century architecture.

Social Structure and Religion


Dutch society promoted freedom of expression and religious tolerance, with a wide array of religions from atheists to Catholics. There was a large and well-established middle class, and an excellent educational system.





As a result of their trade, the Dutch were the wealthiest and most prosperous nation. There was a vast appreciation for the arts, and some of the most famous Baroque artists were Dutch, such as Vermeer, Rembrandt, and Reubens

Dutch Empire

Introduction • Bibliography • Authors • Glossary • Print Version

Origins of an Empire • Dutch Revolt • The Beginning of an Empire • Asia • The Atlantic • Culture During the Golden Age • Anglo-Dutch Wars • Wars With Sweden • Later Wars • Batavian Republic • Kingdom of Holland • Under the French • Belgian Revolution • Expansion in the East Indies • Suriname and the Caribbean • German Invasion of the Netherlands • Japanese Invasion of the East Indies • Indonesian National Revolution • Suriname Independence • Language • Place Names • Architecture • Kings and Queens • Stadtholders of Holland • Governors-General of the Dutch East Indies • Director-Generals of New Netherland • Governors of Cape Colony • Maps and Pictures