The Dutch Republic has been applauded because of its relatively mild political and religious climate. Although Calvin ism was the prevalent religion, Roman Catholics, Lutherans, An abaptists, and Jews were tolerated, although they were treated as second-rate citizens. Many foreigners were accepted as inhabitants, and many came as refugees—groups such as the Flemish Calvinists and Portuguese Jews at the turn of the 17th century or the Huguenots from France at the end of that century or individuals such as Rene Descartesand John Locke (1632–1704), who wrote one of three Let ters on Toleration (1689) during his stay in the city of Gouda. This tradition continued over the ages. Many groups of refugees were re ceived in the Netherlands, including Jews fleeing from Nazi Ger manyand, more recently, refugees from many other countries of Eu rope, Africa, and Asia. The attitude of tolerance also appears in the treatment of individualists and nonconformists of all sorts, including drug addicts and homosexuals.

Historical Dictionary of the Netherlands. . 2012.

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