Sunday, June 17, 2012

How Dutch Are You?

      Most of us have some Dutch ancestry. I have spoken with and heard of people in Indonesia, Brazil, New York, Aberdeen Scotland, Sweden, South Africa, and Silesia all having forbears from the Netherlands. My own family lines include names from Herefordshire, England, that indicate ancestry from the Low Countries. And the DNA results nearly match other families from Flanders. Why are they so widespread?  What makes Holland the place to be from for so many people?

The DNA may give some clues. 

    Much of it is for the same reasons we move today. People wanted to get away from the instabilities caused by the military conflicts of the 1500s, when the Dutch Revolt took place. The Dutch in the 1600s tired of dealing with a very urban environment. Later, many Hollanders moved in order to get away from the floods that destroyed much of their country.  Utrecht, in 1674, was struck by a tornado, and the St. Martin's Catholic church was destroyed.

    A lot of why has to do with the Dutch people themselves. They are and have been historically very tolerant of their neighbors, see As with any group of Germanic people, they define what they want as a society, and expect people to live within that definition.

     The second reason is that the Dutch are and are considered to be the most stubborn people in the world. Evidence for this is the number of words for stubbornness and stubborn in Dutch.  I'm not sure this is a good measure. There are 30 synonyms for stubborn, and 16 for stubbornness in English. There are 10 synonymous words for stubbornness, and 19 for the word stubborn: See This persistent desire for one's own interest has made them very successful in business, evidenced by the rise of the Vanderbilt and Rockefeller empires, and others, see

The Dutch, according to Wikipedia, used to have a fairly normal sense of humor, which, due to religious reasons, became more understated, see

If you want to look up your own ancestry from the Netherlands, here are some useful links: You can join a DNA research group here: