On the 22nd March 1621, Dutch legal scholar Hugo Grotius – also known as Hugo de Groot – escaped imprisonment in Loevestein Castle concealed inside a book chest.

On the 25th March 1957 the Treaty of Rome, which laid the foundations for the European Economic Community, was signed by Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and West Germany.

By the start of the 17th century merchants from the Dutch Republic had begun to undertake voyages to the ‘Spice Islands’ of the Indian Ocean.

In the medieval period the Netherlands, whose name literally means ‘lower countries’, consisted of large areas of boggy land around the winding estuaries of three of the largest rivers in Europe.