- Estimated Gypsy population: 37,500 (including the Woonwagenbewoners, Dutch Travelers). In 1420 the first Gypsies appeared in Deventer, in the shape of Andrew, Duke of Little Egypt, with a company of 100 persons and 40 horses. In 1429 a similar group appeared in Nijmegen. In 1526 Gypsies were forbidden to travel through the country by Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, who had authority at that time over much of the Netherlands. The punishment would be a whipping, and their noses would be slit. In the 16th century, placards begin to appear throughout the country warning the Gypsies of punishments if they remained in the district.In 1609 the Netherlands became independent. With the emergence of a central government, it became more difficult for Gypsies to escape persecution in one province by fleeing to another. "Gypsy hunts" (Heidenjachten) at the start of the 18th century were to be the means by which the Gypsies were finally driven out of the country. Soldiers and police combined to scour the woods for Gypsies. An edict of 1714 forbade citizens to harbor them. Ten Gypsies were executed at Zattbommel in 1725. It is likely that all Gypsies left the country by 1728, the year that saw the last of the hunts, and that there were none in the country for over a century until the 1830s when new Sinti Gypsy immigrants arrived from Germany.After 1868 there are reports of the arrival of three groups of Gypsies: Hungarian coppersmiths (Kalderash), Bosnian bear leaders,and Sinti with circuses from Piedmont. These immigrants had money and valid travel documents but were nevertheless put under strong control, which made it difficult for them to earn a living. At the beginning of the 20th century, Lovari horse dealers arrived from Germany. In 1918 the Caravan and Houseboat Law was instituted to control the indigenous Travelers and the newly arriving Gypsies. A few caravan sites were set up.During World War II, the German-controlled government made all caravan dwellers live on fixed sites. Fearful of what might happen to them next, many of the Travelers and Gypsies abandoned their caravans to live in houses. The Germans deported all the Romanies they could lay their hands on to Auschwitz-245 prisoners in all, of whom only 30 survived.After the end of the war, the Dutch government decided to tackle the problem of caravans. In 1957 local authorities were allowed to link up and build sites. The government gave a grant per caravan and 50 percent of the running costs. Then in 1968 it was made compulsory for all local authorities to take part in the program. The aim was 50 large regional sites, on the scale of a village with a school, shop, and church. Soon 7,000 Travelers were on the large sites, and a similar number on smaller sites. Recent policy has been to close the larger sites and move the Travelers to smaller ones so that there is less competition for work in a particular area.After 1945 there was a steady immigration of Romanies from Yugoslavia in particular. Incoming nomads were made unwelcome by the authorities, and their caravans were moved on by the police. Some were pushed over the border into neighboring countries. In 1978 the Dutch government decided to legalize those Gypsies who had come into the country from eastern Europe after 1945. This followed adverse publicity in the media on the situation of these largely stateless aliens and lobbying by the Rom Society. In 1977 Minister of Justice Zeevalking legalized some 500 of these Gypsies. A separate civil servant with responsibility for Gypsies was appointed to the Department of Caravan Affairs, which had until then mainly been concerned with the indigenous Dutch caravan dwellers. In fact, the majority of the immigrants have been settled in houses. The late Koka Petalo was recognized as a leader by many of the Vlah Romany families.The Sinti in the Netherlands first organized themselves into an association, the Zigeunerorganisatie Sinti, in 1989. In 1991 the Sticht-ing Sinti-werk was set up and currently the Landelijke Sinti Organ-isatie represents the Dutch Sinti.A feature of the Romani and Sinti community is the large number of musicians among them, such as the Gipsy Swing Quintet, Hotclub de Gipsys, Het Koniklijk Zigeunerorkest Tata Mirando Jr., Zige-unerorkest Tata Mirando Sr., the Rosenberg Trio, and many others.
Historical dictionary of the Gypsies . Donald Kenrick.