Rebellion in the Netherlands Map

Color and paste the symbols on the Rebellion in the Netherlands Map. This map shows the conflict between Spain, whose kings owned the Netherlands, and the Dutch people who didn’t want Spain to own them.  The Spanish were Catholic and very controlling.  The Dutch were Protestant and very into freedom of religion and free trade.


First color in the Protestant rebellious provinces in the north and then the loyalist Spanish provinces in the south.  Then cut out the icons at the bottom of the map and glue them on in the appropriate places, using the map image below as a guide.

The important shipping ports are Amsterdam, Leiden (and most of Holland), and Ostend. The important industrial/financial centers include Antwerp (before the siege), Leiden, and Amsterdam. A few of the significant battles include Brill (1572), Haarlem (1572-3), Middleburg (1574), and Nieuwpoort (1600). Be careful to match the date on the star with the right city.

Learning About the Netherlands

The Dutch colonies had been governed by Spain via the powerful Habsburg family for a generation, but the old king, Charles V, had been born and raised in the low countries, he spoke the language and understood the people.  When his son, Phillip, inherited Spain and the Netherlands he did not understand the people, the language or the national character.  He also was bent on preserving and defending the Catholic faith, which many of the Netherlanders had given up for the Protestant dogmas, especially Calvinism.

This is Phillip II of Spain. He lost the Netherlands and was also the king who sent the ill fated Armada to try to take over England.

Phillip sent the Duke of Alva and an army to punish the heresies happening in his Dutch realm.  And he raised the taxes . . . you can abuse the people in many ways, but watch out when you hit their pocketbooks. Seriously, taxes are usually the only issue everyone can agree on.  The Netherlands began to demand more freedoms to practice religion, to have their local governors reinstated and to have taxes reduced.  The Spanish only pushed harder until the Dutch finally broke out in open revolt.

Dutch ships ramming Spanish ships off the Flemish coast.

The war lasted eighty years, with long periods of truces, but in the end the Dutch won their independence and established the first republic in Europe.

Additional Layers

  • Much of the fight in the Netherlands was over religion, and this war was part of the larger wave of religious wars that swept over Europe during the 16th and 17th centuries.  Learn more about the wars of religion.  Why were people fighting?
  • The Rebellion brought greater freedom to the people of the Netherlands which gave rise to the Dutch Golden Age, including technological and scientific advancements, financial advancements, art and architecture, and, of course, great wealth through trade.
  • Some of the people who fled to the Netherlands for religious freedom were the American pilgrims, who stopped there for several years before going on to the New World.

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