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- +50% Naval force limit modifier
- −10% Shipbuilding time
- +0.10 Yearly inflation reduction
- +1 Merchants
- +10% Trade Range
- −10% Development cost
- +2 Naval leader fire
- +3 Tolerance of heretics
- +10% Siege ability
- +10% Infantry combat ability
- +15% Trade efficiency
The Netherlands is a formable nation in Europe, which can be formed by Burgundy or countries with a Dutch or Flemish culture. The formation decision however, requires only Dutch provinces and not Flemish ones. The Dutch are a typical trading power, reflected in their national ideas. Historically, the Netherlands became fully independent from Habsburg Spain in 1581.
- 1 Formation
- 2 Missions
- 3 Events
- 4 Decisions
- 5 Strategy
- Main article: Dutch revolt events
If the year is between 1550 and 1650 and the Netherlands does not exist, nations that control parts of the low countries and not have Dutch or Flemish as their primary culture will receive events causing revolts and if successful, eventually lead to the formation of the Netherlands. The newly-independent Netherlands will then receive a full navy and army and claims over the low countries as well as opportunities to annex other Dutch minors through events. The Dutch revolt can be avoided by other nations with a cultural shift to Dutch or Flemish culture.
- Main article: Dutch missions
- Main article: Dutch events
Dutch events are focused on famous individuals, capitalism and the Dutch republic government type.
The Netherlands can be an interesting nation for trade, with the potential to become the world's foremost naval and trade power. Its capital, set in Holland, is in the English Channel trade node, one of four end nodes for all trade. Additionally, playing as the Netherlands provides countless opportunities to colonize; regardless of whether or not the player wishes to do so, the Netherlands' fleet can have the potential to increase its income just as well as colonization can. Forming the Netherlands as a one-province minor can often be quite difficult; Utrecht, Gelre, and Friesland, all neighbouring countries of the often hostile and much larger Burgundy, are likely to be warned very early on. All three minors are often rivaled by or have hostile relations with their neighbors; and one being an archbishopric, and another being a republic, it can be difficult to secure alliances early on. Thus, it may be advisable to restart until Burgundy is no longer hostile, posing less of an immediate threat as you improve relations with your neighbours and potential allies. As with all HRE minors, securing alliances with France and Austria is advisable (seeking a Statesman advisor may reduce the time needed improving relations), securing the player both protection from offensive wars initiated by other countries and providing help in future wars against more powerful countries – namely, Burgundy. Furthermore, the player should always rival their neighbours when possible, and if a Spymaster is available, it should be taken, as both will increase spy offense against target nations, reducing the chance that the player will gain aggressive expansion from fabricating claims against neighbours.
Forming the Netherlands
Forming the Netherlands as Dutch minor
The player’s country:
Each minor has both advantages and disadvantages from the early stages of the game.
Utrecht has a core on Gelre from the start, giving it the reconquest casus belli and reducing its aggressive expansion penalty. If playing as Utrecht, both Gelre and Friesland should be rivaled early on and alliances with nearby nations, not just France and Austria, should be sought. It may be advisable to also fabricate a claim on Friesland as soon as possible, giving the player a casus belli on them; be sure to declare war on them as soon as possible, and secure sizeable alliances to help destroy the armies of whatever nations may be allied to them. In addition, East Frisia is often allied to Gelre, and the Hansa quite often has friendly relations; be wary if they join the war on the side of Friesland, as their forcelimit will still be quite high compared to the player's, owing to the high base tax and important trade provinces it holds. Once the war has been won, seek reasonable concessions with other nations (war reparations, more ducats, annul treaties, etc.) and annex Gelre. It is important to minimize aggressive expansion while attempting to form the Netherlands as a Dutch minor; the provinces required all have high base tax, and the player will need to fabricate claims countless times. As such, the player should not bite off more than they can chew, and any land grabs should be limited to the provinces required to form the Netherlands, and no more. During peacetime, the player should improve relations with both allies and neighbors.
The early game for Gelre, in seeking alliances with France and Austria, may be made easier by the fact that, unlike Utrecht and Friesland, it can secure royal marriages. The fact that Burgundy maintains a core on its sole starting province leaves it in a precarious position, and Burgundy will almost always be either hostile or occasionally domineering toward Gelre. The strategy for conquering the other two Dutch minors should largely be the same as the strategy for Utrecht; secure decent alliances and minimize aggressive expansion.
The strategy for Friesland is also largely the same as with Utrecht's and Gelre's; secure strong alliances and minimize aggressive expansion. Unfortunately, in the case of Friesland, its neighbors will most likely be rivaling or hostile toward it; and coalitions may be unavoidable as a result. Nations will not join coalitions below 30 AE or above a certain level of positive relations; nonetheless, if one forms, declare war as soon as possible to dissolve the coalition, and seek any concessions aside from taking land. Until the player holds all the provinces required to form the Netherlands, coalitions should be avoided and good relations sought. This will be especially important in any war with Burgundy, with three 7 or 8 base tax provinces still needed.
Holland, Flanders, Brabant
Since patch 1.12 Holland, Flanders and Brabant exist in the 1444 start in personal union under Burgundy. Since PU partners can't declare war, forming the Netherlands as one of these countries will require first breaking free from your overlord. Austria is interested in liberating imperial territory and England should be friendly; with their support, winning an independence war should be easy, and England will continue as a very valuable ally. When you sue for peace in this war, remember that both Holland and Brabant have provinces you need, so try to secure their independence too - this will make conquering them later much easier.
Holland makes for a good choice due to the strong trade presence in Amsterdam and Dutch culture, plus the both proinces they hold are needed to form the Netherlands. Before unpausing, France and Austria will accept a support for your independence. You can also add England to support you, giving you an unbeatable alliance of all the three major European powers, however that will most likely lead to France breaking your alliance after independence due to their rivalry with England and Austria. It is probably inadvisable to keep England as an ally for the long run, as they will invariably be attacked by France at some point, a war they are likely to lose. Austria should be kept to avoid demands for unlawful territory once you conquer your HRE neighbours, as such, a wise player will have to play the diplomatic table well to keep both Austria, France and possibly England in an alliance. Maxing out relations with all of them is a must.
After the war is won, you can ask Burgundy for both your independence and up to two provinces without triggering coalitions just yet. Breda and Antwerp make good choices, with the former being necessary to form the Netherlands. It is generally not necessary to force Burgundy to release Brabant and Flanders, as Burgundy will have negative prestige after the war, leading to both PU partners breaking from them after their king dies, which tends to happen very quickly.
After Breda, the remaining provinces needed to form the Netherlands are Utrecht, Gelre and Friesland. All of them will give around 12 to 16 AE with your HRE neighbours, so you'll need to keep your diplomats constantly improving relations with these neighbours. As long as you keep relatively good relationships and strong allies, you can rack up to 50 AE without having a coalition declared. Always remember to keep Austria and hopefully France allied (though they will most likely not join your offensive wars except against Burgundy). If France cannot be allied (Royal Marriage and full relationship bonus sometimes can do the trick), England, Hungary, Poland/Lithuania or Bohemia make other good choices.
Utrecht and Gelre are straightforward conquests, where you'll only need a claim to avoid drawing Austria into the war. They might have strong allies, so either find strong allies of your own (The Hansa, the Palatinate, Saxony, Brunswick and so on - your large allies like France won't join offensive wars, and Austria can't as the Emperor) or attack them when they are weak and their allies won't join. Your alliance with Austria will prevent any demands for unlawful territory, so you can safely core them afterwards.
Friesland often gets named a Free City by Austria at the beginning of the game, leading to the problem that Austria will join in their defence even if you have a CB. The best way to avoid this is to attack one of their alliance partners instead, or wait for them to be annexed by a neighbouring country, or strike when Austria is weak. Remember to let your AE cool down during conquests to avoid coalitions.
Once you have the provinces cored, you'll only need to wait until Admin tech level 10 to form the Dutch Netherlands. In the meantime, you can use your ally France and Austria to conquer more of Brabant/Flanders/Burgundy. Brabant will often ally Burgundy and Burgundy is hated by both Austria and France, making them ripe for an easy picking. You cannot forge claims on Burgundy as you have no bordering province however, so making them embargo you for a trade dispute CB is the best way.
After the player holds all three minors, it may be time to set sights on Burgundy or other neighboring countries. Furthermore, the Burgundian inheritance may only complicate things further; and as such, it may be best to monitor Burgundy carefully and declare war relatively early on as opposed to allowing the Burgundian inheritance event to fire and having to fight France and/or Austria later on. The player can seek to weaken both France and the Emperor to optimize their chances of winning the inheritance; the chance that they do, however, is marginal at best, and as such, it is most advisable to take Burgundian provinces before Burgundy is steamrolled in a war. Holland, Zeeland, and Breda are the three Burgundian provinces required to form the Netherlands; to take all three provinces in a single war would give them a large and unwieldy coalition. It may be more advisable, then, to take bites: first take Holland, then later Zeeland and Breda. Alternatively, it may also be possible to force the release of Holland and Brabant, and later vassalize one or both, as each would be relatively small and slightly less war exhaustion would be gained by holding each. In any case, the player should seek to dissolve any coalitions that do form and focus on recovering their nation from the early wars after holding the necessary Burgundian provinces, whether by war or otherwise. Alternatively, a player might seek to remove all aggressive expansion by releasing a vassal in a war against an easily defeatable one-province minor: once a nation is utterly defeated, it will take any offer of peace, even one that would have been declined otherwise.
Forming the Netherlands this way should give a player the achievement: Je maintiendrai.
Forming the Netherlands as Burgundy
- Main article: Burgundy
Forming the Netherlands as Burgundy is less difficult, compared with starting as a one province minor (OPM). The challenge consists in winning two or three wars against the Holy Roman Empire to take the provinces of Utrecht, Gelre and Friesland. The simplest option is wait for the emperor to be busy with a war with a decently strong nation so that they are distracted from Burgundian incursions; a more advanced strategy consists in attacking Austria, and when victory in that war is secured, attacking the Dutch minor. With luck, the monarch of a nation other than Austria will become Emperor, making things easier. Other option is taking the provinces that are needed (usually one-province states) and annexing them after making them a vassal.
However, when forming the Netherlands as Burgundy, all French region provinces are ceded to France, which is generally not desirable, because it makes a strong enemy even stronger. Unfortunately, this can only be avoided by completely eliminating France. With Castille or Aragon as ally and superior military strategy, completely conquering France as Burgundy is something that can be attempted; this will take some hundred years and at least four wars.
As of 1.12 playing as Burgundy allows you to crawl along the Channel and seize England before forming the Netherlands. This makes the English culture accepted and grants domination of the North Sea Trade node without use of light ships. Losing the southern Burgundian provinces is a non-issue, as you will be able to seize Paris with a single war.
Forming the Netherlands as other nation
Any other nation can form the Netherlands after a cultural shift to Dutch or Flemish culture. This allows a few interesting strategies. Any nation (as long as it is not a custom nation designed with the nation designer) can switch its national ideas to Dutch ideas this way, or use this to switch its government type after the Constitutionalism and the General Estates event fires. Münster or Cologne could use this strategy to get out of the theocratic government type should they somehow end up in possession of the Dutch provinces.
It is even possible to form the Netherlands as Austria. After inheriting Burgundy and conquering the remainder of the Dutch provinces, Austria would have to release Styria as vassal and move the capital to a Dutch province. This will likely allow a cultural shift to Dutch, which not only gives the option to form the Netherlands, but also disables the Dutch rebellion events.
In the 1.13 Patch Forming the Netherlands removes you from the Holy Roman Empire, so forming the Netherlands may hamper your future ability to expand into German territories.
Depending on how the Netherlands were formed, there will be different strategies available to the player. If the Netherlands were formed by a small or Dutch or Flemish Nation, the Netherlands will be a medium European Nation that could try to conquer smaller European nations or expand into the Americas, Africa or Asia, but will not be able to take on a major European power like France, Austria or Spain without strong allies.
Forming the Netherlands gives a claim on all of the low countries, so if the the Flemish provinces are not owned by one of the major European powers (even if Austria didn't inherit them from Burgundy,the 'big blue blob' France has a tendency to gobble them up), they would be a primary target for expansion. It would be advisable to fully secure the foothold on the continent before setting sights overseas.
Historically, the Dutch expanded into the Caribbean and the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia), also holding countless ports along the coasts of West Africa, India, and southeast Asia, as well to having a small foothold in the New World in Nieuw-Nederland. The player's trade fleet alone may be enough to rack in plenty of dosh; but by island hopping through the Atlantic and Pacific, the Dutch may also become a powerful military power, finding coastal footholds as the Dutch did historically. Southeast Asia is highly lucrative; by setting up trade companies, the Dutch can become the most powerful nation in the world, not only through trade but also militarily. It may also be advisable to strategically colonize and take provinces with the highest base tax or extra bonuses, such as Cape in South Africa. Playing as the Netherlands presents a wide range of opportunities; its strengths, however, are primarily within the areas of trade and its navy. The player, well-funded by trade, may well do anything within reason; the unique Dutch republic government type and its constantly strong field of leaders only expand its potential opportunities.
Alternatively (or at the same time) a conquest strategy in Germany could be pursued, since Dutch (and Flemish) are in the Germanic culture group.
The Netherlands itself can only strive to become emperor of the HRE if the monarchy-option was chosen in the Constituationalism and the general estates event, or if the Dutch Republic turns into a monarchy.