1. History of urban centers in the Low Countries – During Roman times, the Low Countries belonged to the outer provinces of the empire, situated near the Roman-Germanic border. These together formed the only population centers which surpassed the native villages of the time in terms of architecture and, in some cases, population. The only possible exception was the city of Atuatuca Tungrorum, which later became one of the earliest centers of Christianity in the Low Countries. Unsurprisingly, it was on or around the of these Castra and Castellum that the large settlements arose. Very little is known about these settlements, apart from archeological material, as there was little literacy at the time. From around the 10th century, mainly due to improved infrastructure, more larger settlements begin to appear. Around the 11th century, some of these cities begin to form networks of urban centers. In the North of the Low Countries, however, such as Frisia and Groningen; cities remained relatively isolated. Groningen is still nicknamed stad within its province; signaling its position as the only city in the region well as its isolation. The urban center in the County of Flanders was focused on the cities of Bruges, Ghent and Ypres. The textile industry in this area flourished which provided the region with enormous wealth, as well as attracting various other trades. The area was notorious for its civil uprisings. By 1500 these cities had lost their leading position to Antwerp; though still playing an important role. This sparked a economic boom for these cities; principally Zutphen, Kampen, Deventer, Elburg, Doesburg, Zwolle and their immediate surroundings. Eventually they formed the bulk of the transport sailing on Bruges and Ghent; which earned them considerable wealth and sparked further expansion.History of urban centers in the Low Countries – Objects found excavating the remains of Dorestad.
2. Regenten – Though not formally a hereditary "class", they were de facto comparable to that ancient Roman class. Since the late Middle Ages Dutch cities had been run by the richer merchant families, who gradually formed a closed group. From the latter part of the 17th century the regent families were able to reserve government offices to themselves via contractual arrangements. In practice they could only be dislodged like the Orangist revolution of 1747 and the Patriot revolt of 1785. The regenten as the cities' class originated in the 13th century, arising over the course of time under the influence of several factors. Incomes were often not enough to pay their mercenaries or their own army. They therefore needed financial assistance from the up-and-coming class in the growing towns. This class could thus induce the sovereigns to grant municipal charters and city rights, establishing autonomy in the regulating of the city's internal affairs. This newly acquired autonomy brought into being a new group of "managers" next to the schout, to run the city. These city councillors were often recruited from the wealthiest citizens. Men of wealth were deemed to be the people most able to guarantee the prosperity of the city. To keep because they were already rich, one could hope that they would not plunder the city coffers. In the first half of the 15th century, the Burgundian dukes tightened their grip in the county of Holland. The vroedschappen were given the power instead of using a more open electoral process. Members of a vroedschap were usually appointed during good behavior, whenever a vacancy arose.Regenten – Group portrait Regenten Oudemannenhuis at Haarlem by Frans Hals, 1664
3. Schutterij – Their training grounds were often near the city walls, but, when the weather did not allow, inside a church. They are mostly grouped according to the weapon that they used: bow, crossbow or gun. Together, its members are called a Schuttersgilde, which could be roughly translated as a "shooter's guild". It is now a title applied to the country's Olympic rifle team. Town watch, was a defensive military support system for the local civic authority. Its officers were wealthy citizens of the town, appointed by the city magistrates. The group's ensign was a wealthy young bachelor. Joining as an officer for a couple of years was often a stepping-stone to important posts within the city council. The members were expected to buy their own equipment: this entailed the purchase of a uniform. At a set time the schutters would parade under the command of an officer. The ideal was that, for every hundred inhabitants, three would belong to the schutterij. Roman Catholics were permitted in the lower regions. The city's Jews, did not need to serve. The peat bearers had to serve as the town's firefighters instead. The cloveniers met at target practice grounds called Doelen.Schutterij – The Amsterdam archery militia whose patron saint was St. Sebastian, in 1653 by Bartholomeus van der Helst
4. Tulip mania – At the peak of tulip mania, in March 1637, some single tulip bulbs sold for more than 10 times the annual income of a skilled craftsman. The term "mania" is now often used metaphorically to refer to any large economic bubble when asset prices deviate from intrinsic values. The 1637 event was popularized by the book Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, written by British journalist Charles Mackay. According at one point 12 acres of land were offered for a Semper Augustus bulb. Dutch commerce suffered a severe shock. Although Mackay's book is a classic, his account is contested. Research is difficult because of the limited economic data from the 1630s—much of which come from biased and very speculative sources. Some modern economists have proposed rational explanations, rather than a speculative mania, for the fall in prices. For example, other flowers, such as the hyacinth, also had initial prices at the time of their introduction, which immediately fell. Tulip bulbs were soon distributed to Augsburg, Antwerp and Amsterdam. The tulip was different from every other flower known to Europe with a saturated intense petal color that no other plant had. The appearance of the nonpareil tulip as a symbol at this time coincides with the rise of newly independent Holland's trade fortunes. No longer the Spanish Netherlands, its economic resources could now be channeled into the country embarked on its Golden Age. Amsterdam merchants were at the center of the lucrative East Indies trade, where one voyage could yield profits of 400%. As a result, a profusion of varieties followed.Tulip mania – A tulip, known as "the Viceroy" (viseroij), displayed in the 1637 Dutch catalog 'Verzameling van een Meenigte Tulipaanen'. Its bulb cost between 3,000 and 4,200 guilders (florins) depending on size (aase). A skilled craftsman at the time earned about 300 guilders a year.