During the seventeenth century, the Dutch Republic was transformed into a leading political power in Europe, with global trading interests. It nurtured some of the period's greatest luminaries, including Rembrandt, Vermeer, Descartes and Spinoza. Long celebrated for its religious tolerance, artistic innovation and economic modernity, the United Provinces of the Netherlands also became known for their involvement with slavery and military repression in Asia, Africa, and the Americas. This Companion provides a compelling overview of the best scholarship on this much debated era, written by a wide range of experts in the field. Unique in its balanced treatment of global, political, socio-economic, literary, artistic, religious, and intellectual history, its nineteen chapters offer an indispensable guide for anyone interested in the world of the Dutch Golden Age.