Historical accounts of the Netherlands date from the 1st century
BC, when Roman forces led by Julius Caesar conquered most of the
present area of the country.
At the time the region was inhabited by Frisians, a Germanic tribe
that lived in the north, and by other Germanic and minor Celtic
The Dutch humanist Desiderius Erasmus had wide influence in the
16th century, and the country's cultural life as a whole achieved
an international reputation in the 17th century, which is often
called its Golden Age.
Among the influential Dutch figures of that time were the jurist
Hugo Grotius, the scientists Christiaan Huygens and Anton van Leeuwenhoek.