From the superpower of the 17th century to a modern innovations hub, the Dutch have always been in the forefront of global progress. In this blog post, we take a look at three inventions you probably did not realise were brought to you by the Dutch.

Jenever (and gin)

While a gin & tonic may be quintessentially British, we should really be thanking the Dutch for giving us this iconic drink.

Jenever was first produced in the16th century by adding herbs and spices to otherwise unpalatable distilled malt wine. The juniper berry (jeneverbes in Dutch) was used here for its supposed medicinal benefits. By the 17th century, jenever was being savoured for its own sake rather than for therapeutic purposes.

It were the British soldiers fighting on the continent, who brought jenever back home. Over the next few decades, the recipe was transformed to the more commonly known gin.

Whether jenever is best enjoyed chilled or not is a somewhat heated debate between the connoisseurs. Want to make your own call? That could not be easier. Amsterdam is generously dotted with jenever tasting rooms ready to help you explore the finer notes of this historic spirit.

The telescope and the microscope

As a seasoned traveler, you probably have your favourite set of binoculars close at hand. If you ever wondered who you should thank for bringing the world closer, your hero is the Dutch spectacle maker Hans Lippershy.

In 1608 Lippershy applied for a patent for a device that could magnify objects by three. He was inspired by two children in his shop, who held up two lenses making a far-off weather vane appear remarkably close.

This observation made possible both the telescope and the compound microscope. The invention is, of course, not without controversy, as a man by the name of Zacharias Janssen claims his father was the actual inventor of the telescope. 

The stock market

Today’s global economy is almost unimaginable without stock markets. While complex markets existed before, it was the Dutch East India company that introduced the notion of a “stock”.

The high seas were a dangerous place, and it made sense for investors to diversify their risks. Instead of investing in one ship, one could buy shares across several, ensuring at least some return. The system proved so successful that it soon spread through neighbouring countries.

These are just a few of the numerous historic phenomena that originated in the Netherlands. All our tours through the country include a variety of historic, awe-inspiring architecture; delicious local delicacies and a broad spectrum of cultural and artistic artefacts.

If you’re ready to explore the Netherlands on a luxury European river cruise, please get in touch for further information and reservations.