- Despite being neutral, the Netherlands in World War II was invaded by Nazi Germany on 10 May 1940, as part of Fall Gelb. On 15 May 1940, one day after the bombing of Rotterdam, the Dutch forces surrendered. The Dutch government and the royal family saved themselves by going to London. Princess Juliana and her children moved on to Canada for additional safety. The Netherlands was placed under German occupation, which endured in some areas until the German surrender in May 1945. Active resistance was carried out by a minority, which grew in the course of the occupation. The occupiers deported the majority of the country's Jews to Nazi concentration camps. Due to the high variation in the survival rate of Jewish inhabitants among local regions in the Netherlands, scholars have questioned the validity of a single explanation at the national level. In part due to the well-organized population registers, about 70% of the country's Jewish population were killed during the conflict, a much higher percentage than comparable countries, such as Belgium and France. In 2008, records were opened that revealed the Germans had paid a bounty to Dutch police and administration officials to locate and identify Jews, aiding in their capture. But, uniquely among all German occupied areas, the city of Amsterdam organized an industrial action to protest the persecution of its Jewish citizens. World War II occurred in four distinct phases in the European Netherlands:
* September 1939 to May 1940: The war breaks out with the Netherlands declaring neutrality. The country is subsequently invaded and occupied.
* May 1940 to June 1941: An economic boom caused by orders from Germany, combined with the "velvet glove" approach from Arthur Seyss-Inquart, results in a mild occupation.
* June 1941 to June 1944: As the war intensifies, Germany demands higher contributions from occupied territory, resulting in a decline of living standards. Repression against the Jewish population intensifies and thousands are deported to extermination camps. The "velvet glove" approach ends.
* June 1944 to May 1945: Conditions deteriorate further, leading to starvation and lack of fuel. The German occupation authorities gradually lose control over the situation. Fanatical Nazis want to make a last stand and commit acts of destruction. Others try to mitigate the situation. Most of the south of the country was liberated in the second half of 1944. The rest, especially the west and north of the country still under occupation, suffered from a famine at the end of 1944, known as the "Hunger Winter". On 5 May 1945, the whole country was finally liberated by the total surrender of all German forces. (en)