Spain had ruled the Netherlands (and Belgium) in varying degrees between the 16th and 17th centuries. However, I haven't noticed much of a cultural influence or impact with historical roots in Spanish rule had on the Dutch (Spanish influences). While searching this question up online, I found a phrasing for this question that captured my sentiment, from this source:

The Netherlands was a Spanish possession for nearly a hundred years, beginning in 1556 when its crown passed to the foreign king Philip II of Spain. There was a Dutch revolt in 1566 and a declaration of independence in 1581, and while the north part of the Netherlands was effectively autonomous from 1585 onwards, their independence wasn't formally recognized until 1648. In the hundred years of Spanish rule parts of the country were subject to Spanish occupation.

I've visited the Netherlands, and don't seem to recall there being much trace of Spanish culture or language. Was I not looking hard enough, did the Dutch thoroughly eradicate any trace of the Spanish after their independence, or did the Spanish not influence Dutch culture very much to begin with? Even if there is no surviving architecture and other visible art in the Spanish style, surely there must be some traces of Spanish influence in the Dutch language. I mean, you can't go through a hundred years of Spanish rule, commerce, and occupation without acquiring at least a few loan words, can you?

Are there any Spanish loan words in Dutch dating to the time of Spanish rule, and if so, what are they?

My question goes beyond linguistics however to cover the cultural impact that Spanish rule on the Netherlands had. I haven't been able to detect very much Spanish influence on the Dutch.

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    The Spaniard did have some influence as they "introduced" Roman Catholicism to that area. The Belgium and Netherlands split because of the Protestant-Catholic divide. So that is one of the influences. I do think there are more things, so I wouldn't consider making this an answer yet. Maybe when I find out more I will. May 7, 2016 at 0:11
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    @SMSvonderTann introduced Roman Catholicism? Wasn't Catholicism everyone's religion in Western Christian Europe before the reformation came along?
    – user69715
    May 7, 2016 at 1:30
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    The Thirty Year's War that defined the major dividing line between Protestant ant Catholic states in Western Central Europe isochronous with the last 30 years of the Eighty Years War (of Dutch Independence). The current border between Netherlands and Belgium is, except for Limburg, is approximately that of the independent Netherlands in 1648. May 7, 2016 at 1:48
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    Besides as you point out, the Spanish only ruled the Netherlands, de facto, for 12 years leading up to revolt in 1568. May 7, 2016 at 1:50
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    @SMSvonderTann: The Spanish only ruled the Netherlands, as a united entity, from 1556 to 1568, a span of twelve whole years; and were despised the entire time as bossy, fanatical busy-bodies. The Eighty Years War broke out when it became known that they intended to execute all Protestants in the Netherlands. Jan 18, 2019 at 20:10

3 Answers 3


Spanish influence didn't take root, at least in the modern Netherlands, because it was "unnatural."

Belgium and the Netherlands represented the inheritance of Marie of Burgundy, who married Maximilian of Austria (and lost her native Burgundy to France after she did so). They had a son, Philip the Fair, who married Juana, the daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain. The younger couple produced Charles V who inherited Spain from his maternal grandparents, and Austria plus Belgium and the Netherlands, as well as the title of Holy Roman Emperor from his father's side.

When Charles V abdicated, his holdings were "redivided," with Austria and the Holy Roman Empire going to his brother Ferdinand, and Spain and the Netherlands, going to his son, Philip II in 1556. This was a mistake, because the quasi-Germanic Netherlands fit more naturally with Austria and the Holy Roman Empire.

The northern, Protestant part of the Netherlands revolted against its new master, the King of Spain, ten years later, and basically did not wish to have anything to do with Spain, even when temporarily occupied. There was limited Spanish influence on the Spanish Netherlands (Belgium), because of their shared Catholic faith, and their common French enemy.

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    What was the nature of the Spanish influence on the Spanish Netherlands (Belgium)?
    – taninamdar
    Jan 27, 2017 at 23:01
  • @taninamdar: They shared a common Catholic faith. Also, Spain could export wool to Belgium and receive cloth in return.
    – Tom Au
    Feb 22, 2017 at 23:56
  • "This was a mistake" ...I don't think its that simple. There are lots of reasons why Spain would try to annex the Netherlands.
    – John Dee
    Jan 18, 2019 at 19:44
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    You are the only answer remotely on the correct track here. Perhaps if you noted a few facets of William the Silent's participation in the initial Dutch revolt this would be better received. "William originally served the Habsburgs as a member of the court of Margaret of Parma, governor of the Spanish Netherlands. Unhappy with the centralisation of political power away from the local estates and with the Spanish persecution of Dutch Protestants, William joined the Dutch uprising and turned against his former masters." - Wikipedia Jan 18, 2019 at 19:52
  • More from Wikipedia: "The activity of the Inquisition in the Netherlands, directed by Cardinal Granvelle, prime minister to the new governor Margaret of Parma ..., increased opposition to Spanish rule among the then mostly Catholic population of the Netherlands. Lastly, the opposition wished to see an end to the presence of Spanish troops. ... During his stay in Paris, ... King Henry II of France started to discuss with William a secret understanding between Philip II and himself aimed at the violent extermination of Protestantism in France, the Netherlands "and the entire Christian world"." Jan 18, 2019 at 19:58

But of course there is influence. Every year on December 5th, the Dutch celebrate the birthday of Saint Nicolaas, Patron Saint of Children . . . "Sinterklaas" or "Sint" or "Klassje" arriving from Spain is enacted for all to view. See http://www.stnicholascenter.org/pages/amsterdam-arrival/. Now politically incorrect, his helper "Black Peter" or "Zwarte Piet" walks beside Sinterklaas and his white horse, carrying the huge bag of candy, cookies, and goodies for children. Peter enacts a "Moor" from Spain.

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    The tradition of Saint Nicholas dates from before Spanish rule, and is not unique to the Netherlands. Many modern aspects date from well after Spanish rule. Why Sinterklaar is associated with Spain is not clear, but the oldest clear reference to that is from 1810 – almost 200 years after the end of the 80 years' war. In other words, I strongly doubt this stems from Spanish rule (and you have provided no evidence to convince me otherwise). Jun 5, 2017 at 3:43
  • Why is Sinterklaas considered to come from Spain? Jan 18, 2019 at 18:49
  • @AaronBrick: Because European "Moors" came from Spain. SPain after all was under Moorish influence from the 8th through 15th centuries, the target of the Reconquista. Jan 18, 2019 at 19:38
  • @PieterGeerkens I suppose that can explain Zwarte Piet, but do people consider Sinterklaas to be Moorish too? Jan 18, 2019 at 19:41
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    Prior to 1552 the Netherlands were an Austrian possession as part of the HRE. A mere twelve years later the Eighty Years War started. Doesn't anyone on this site actually know some history? Jan 18, 2019 at 19:46

Try the Netherlands national anthem since 1932, though in 16th century Dutch,

the first verse of which starts Wilhelmus van Nassouwe ben ick van Duytschen Bloedt (William of Nassau am I of Germanic blood)

and ends Den Coninck van Hispangien heb ick altijt gheeert (the King of Spain have I always honoured).

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