AHC/WI: Independent Southern Netherlands, Spanish Northern Netherlands

So as I was contemplating life and philosophy, I suddenly came upon a random althistory idea that I felt the need to explore: What if the fates of the Southern (Belgium) and Northern ("Holland") Netherlands were to be reversed? As in, the Spanish successfully reconquer the Northern Netherlands, but the Southern Netherlands manage to secede? And how could this wacky idea be accomplished?
 
So as I was contemplating life and philosophy, I suddenly came upon a random althistory idea that I felt the need to explore: What if the fates of the Southern (Belgium) and Northern ("Holland") Netherlands were to be reversed? As in, the Spanish successfully reconquer the Northern Netherlands, but the Southern Netherlands manage to secede? And how could this wacky idea be accomplished?
IIRC, it's not "that" wacky. Since most of the north was still rural - not all of it, but it was the "poorer" relation by comparison to the south - and predominantly Catholic. It was only when the Spanish started persecuting the Protestants in the south that many of them fled northwards. Then the Catholic northerners either converted or moved south to get away from the Protestants. I imagine that if things had remained as they were before the persecutions, Spain would have had a far easier time holding the north than the south. But once you have the north, as the Dutch proved OTL, it's pretty easy to "starve" the south into submission (since Amsterdam's harbour was better than Antwerp's anyway). This might be 20/20 hindsight but it would probably mean that the south is - as Leopold I of Belgium described it - a person in tropical climates who has found a snake has crawled into bed with them. You can't move and you can't stay put[1]

[1] yes, I know he said this about Napoléon III rather than the country, but I figured it could still work. France is Catholic, Spain controls the north, it's very difficult to get aid from the Danes/Swedes/Hansa because Spain likely provides naval production to Amsterdam, so theoretically can just prevent them getting down to land troops at Antwerp. The Rhineland is in the midst of their own struggles at the time...so...who knows

@Parma @pompejus @Janprimus
 
IIRC, it's not "that" wacky. Since most of the north was still rural - not all of it, but it was the "poorer" relation by comparison to the south - and predominantly Catholic. It was only when the Spanish started persecuting the Protestants in the south that many of them fled northwards. Then the Catholic northerners either converted or moved south to get away from the Protestants. I imagine that if things had remained as they were before the persecutions, Spain would have had a far easier time holding the north than the south. But once you have the north, as the Dutch proved OTL, it's pretty easy to "starve" the south into submission (since Amsterdam's harbour was better than Antwerp's anyway). This might be 20/20 hindsight but it would probably mean that the south is - as Leopold I of Belgium described it - a person in tropical climates who has found a snake has crawled into bed with them. You can't move and you can't stay put[1]

[1] yes, I know he said this about Napoléon III rather than the country, but I figured it could still work. France is Catholic, Spain controls the north, it's very difficult to get aid from the Danes/Swedes/Hansa because Spain likely provides naval production to Amsterdam, so theoretically can just prevent them getting down to land troops at Antwerp. The Rhineland is in the midst of their own struggles at the time...so...who knows

@Parma @pompejus @Janprimus
Amsterdam has quite frankly a terrible harbour. The Zuyderzee which connects the city to the North Sea is pretty shallow for example. The famous VOC ships had to unload their cargo at Texel or Den Helder. What is true is that Antwerp can be blockaded pretty easily if you have control of Zeeland.
 
Amsterdam has quite frankly a terrible harbour. The Zuyderzee which connects the city to the North Sea is pretty shallow for example. The famous VOC ships had to unload their cargo at Texel or Den Helder. What is true is that Antwerp can be blockaded pretty easily if you have control of Zeeland.
Aha! Interesting. Could this be alleviated if the Southern Netherlanders manage to secure Zeeland?
 
Alrighty, so now that we've concluded that it's more than possible for the South to secede while the North stays, I'm now curious about the ramifications of this. How would this switch of fates affect Europe? What would this Southern Netherlands state look like?
 
First establish this Southern Republic of the Netherlands.
Assuming there will be an Union of Arras. That is the counties of Arras, Hainaut and the city of Dowaai. And Ducy of Luxembourg and county of Namur remains Habsburg.
So this Dutch Republic, atfter a lengthy independece war will consist at 1648 of the Counties of:
- Flanders and their Cities,
- complete Ducy of Brabant and their cities
- Overijsel,
- complete Ducy of Gelre
- complete OverMaas, cities of Maastrcht and Limbourg.
- province of Zeeland or part of it so the Antwerp is open to the North Sea.
- part of Namur, at least the city.

Habsburg Netherlands will consist of:
- Holland
- Utrecht
- part of Zeeland
- Friesland
- Groningen
- Drenthe
- Lingen

Assuming Henry of Navare will go to Mass inorder to secure his claim to the throne of France this will lead to the annexation during the 17th century of Arras, and Hainaut, Luxembourg, and possible Dowai. The Latter could also conquered by this Dutch Republic after a treaty with France.
Since this will mean that France directly bordering the Dutch Republic it is very much likely it will keep France as ally at all cost, even there will be massive defence work erecected over time around the Southern border.

The Northern Habsburg lands are secured by rivalry between the Bourbons and Habsburgs for the comming two enturies or it will be invaded by the Dutch Republic as part of some coalition war between Bourbon and Habsburg where the Dutch Republic chose the side of Bourbon.

Dutch republic will see a simmilar economic boom during the 17th century as in OTL. The impact might be even larger and as well have a large effect on industry and industrial methods. Flanders and in leaaser extend Brabant was in the 16th century a heavily industrialised area. This industry will only become more rationalised and might even trigger an industrial revolution. ( mind you, an industrial relovution does not need steam powered factories! )

Expanding trade empire complete with fortified trade post simmilar as in OTL Dutch Republic, why leaving it to the Portugiese and Spanish while you can get your luxurous commodoties from the far East your self. Why not establish sugar and tabaco colonies in the America's and why rely on fur form Russia while can buy it as well in North America.

Dramatic increas of already large cities as Antwerp, Ghent and Bruges. New economic prosperitie for cities as Ieper, Dendermonde, Oudenaarde, Brussel, Breda, Bergen op Zoom. In other words in OTL Brabant and Flanders declined. North Brabant become a back water in OTL Dutch Republic while the cities in OTL Flanders and Brabant after the Nine Years war declined.
In a Southern Dutch Republic the cities of Flanders and Brabant continue to grow.

Simmilar contradiction and suppression of Catholics as in OTL Nothern Dutch Republic, that is not hars persecution or discimination most likeley even more tolerant, since the Calvinist terror in Flemish cities as in the 16th century lead to nothing.

If Louis XIV find his glory in the conquest of Luxembourg, Hainaut, Arras and Loraine and the Dutch Republic can satidfy economcly Monsieur Colbert the Bourbons might lose their interest of the North and will focus again on Savoy, Milan, and Naples for their desired glory and expansion.
 
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Oh my, I forgot to reply to this completely! My bad!

It's an interesting set of events. I'm curious what the effect could be on the rest of European history?
 
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