The Scots Brigade was more than 200 years part of the military of the Dutch Republic.
It started already in 1573 when Scots companies came over to Holland upon the request of Prince William of Orange during his fight against the oppression of the Spanish army, sent by the Spanish King Philips II.
This involvement of Scots companies would be finally structured into regiments which formed the Scots Brigade .
In what is known as the “Eighty years war” the Scots played an important role. As reference there is the statement of Prince Frederick Henry as captain general after the Siege of ‘s Hertogenbosch in 1629: “the Scots are the bulwark of the Republic”. He thanked the Scots personally,“ gentleman and soldiers all“, for their good services.
The two centuries of Scots military involvement in the Dutch Republic are to be distinguished in the following main periods:
- The Dutch Revolt (1568 – 1648)
- The Forty Years War (1672-1712)
- The Dutch Civil War (1748-1815)
Since Scotland was united with England in 1603 in the Union of the Crowns, the English – Dutch sea-wars about the sea and trade fares were a complicating factor. In the 17th and 18th century the dispute of double loyalty arose!
Finally, the Scots Brigade was nationalised in 1783.
The interaction of the Scots soldiers with the civil society – during the winter period in garrison in the Dutch garrison cities – had a permanent effect. There still exist quite a few Scots family names in The Netherlands.