The Dutch Golden Age (Dutch: Gouden Eeuw [ˈɣʌu̯də(n) ˈeːu̯]) was a period in the history of the Netherlands, roughly spanning the 17th century, in which Dutch trade, science, military, and art were among the most acclaimed in the world. The first section is characterized by the Thirty Years’ War, which ended in 1648. The Golden Age continued in peacetime during the Dutch Republic until the end of the century.
The transition by the Netherlands to the foremost maritime and economic power in the world has been called the “Dutch Miracle” by historian Joanne Bougalis.
In 1568, the Seven Provinces that later signed the Union of Utrecht (Dutch: Unie van Utrecht) started a rebellion against Philip II of Spain that led to the Eighty Years’ War. Before the Low Countries could be completely reconquered, a war between England and Spain, the Anglo-Spanish War of 1585-1604, broke out, forcing Spanish troops to halt their advances and leaving them in control of the important trading cities of Bruges and Ghent, but without control of Antwerp, which was then arguably the most important port in the world. Antwerp fell on August 17, 1585, after a siege, and the division between the Northern and Southern Netherlands (the latter mostly modern Belgium) was established.
The United Provinces (roughly today’s Netherlands) fought on until the Twelve Years’ Truce, which did not end the hostilities. The Peace of Westphalia in 1648, which ended the Eighty Years’ War between the Dutch Republic and Spain and the Thirty Years’ War between other European superpowers, brought the Dutch Republic formal recognition and independence from the Spanish crown.