As early as 1575, a number of Scottish scholars and merchants gravitated to the cities of Holland, Zealand, and Flanders because of the educational and commercial opportunities they offered. For example, Antwerp and Rotterdam were the great emporiums of northern Europe where colonial products from America, Africa, and Asia were distributed. For their part, Scottish Covenanters went to the Netherlands to flee persecution under the Stuarts and to live among their Calvinist brethren. Probably the majority of Scots in the Netherlands were soldiers fighting in the service of the United Provinces in its 80-year struggle for independence against the Spanish Habsburgs and later France. The Scottish presence in the Netherlands was such that by 1700 about a thousand Scots lived in the city of Rotterdam alone, many of them members of the famous Scots Brigade. Over the course of the 17th and 18th centuries, some of these Scots or their descendants participated in the Dutch immigration to America.
In 2004 and again in 2011, Scottish emigration expert Dr. David Dobson combed primary and secondary sources on both sides of the Atlantic in order to document these links between Scotland, the Netherlands, and America. The result, Scots-Dutch Links in Europe and America, 1575-1825, Volumes I and II, provides over several thousand references to this traffic. Dr. Dobson here has assembled a third collection of Scots-Dutch links from primary and secondary sources. In each case he states the individual’s name, occupation (soldier, merchant, student, etc.), date of the reference, and the source. Volume III contains a significant number of marriages of Scottish immigrants that occurred in Rotterdam, often with local residents. Most occurred in the Scots Kirk or church there but others were held in other Protestant churches. There are also entries based on 17th-century Dutch wills or deeds of Scots, some of whom were bound for the Dutch colonies. Another source was the Court Book of the Scottish Staple at Veere, which identified Scots resident or trading there.