Institute of Texan Cultures' Texans Series
Dutch immigration from Holland, or the Netherlands, to North America has been continuous since the early 17th century.
The first successful Dutch colony in Texas was founded in 1895 and called the Port Arthur Land Company. Approximately fifty families moved to this colony and started the town of Nederland east of Houston.
The Dutch came for many reasons. With the potato crop failure of 1895, farm families were starving, and many left Holland. Others left just for the adventure or to avoid the required military service. Still others wanted cheap land and a chance to improve their lives.
The settlers, with their history of cheese making and dairy farming, quickly went into raising dairy cattle as well as farming rice. Just a couple of years later, however, oil was discovered at Spindletop, and a plant to process the oil was built one mile south of Nederland. When their rice crop was wiped out in the depression of 1907, the oil processing companies provided work and helped the Nederland Dutch prosper. Today, the oil industry continues to play an important role in the economics of that part of Texas