The Dutch Golden Age was throughout the 1600's in the Netherlands. The Netherlands became an independent republic and started an oligarchy (1648). During the 1600's, the Dutch had many scientific, artistic, and literary break throughs. They had some of the largest protestant universities and some of the top artists of their time. They mainly got their money through shipping and trading.
The Netherlands was a protestant country where most residents are Calvinists. Calvinists believe in things such as predestination and sovereignty of God. Although the majority was Calvinist, The Netherlands was the most religiously tolerant country in Europe. The people in the Netherlands worked hard on their jobs and had high salaries. They didn't spend their money frivolously, so they had extra in case of emergency. With all this money, it is easy to say the Dutch had the highest standard of living.
The Dutch economy was founded on fishing, shipping, shipbuilding, and banking. They practically controlled the seas in terms of commerce with their east and west India trading companies. They made a great amount of money shipping because they could do it over long distances. Their main exports in shipping were diamonds, pottery, and linens. Since there was an abundance of supplies, their wasn't much inflation.
The Netherlands had two major trade companies which were the Dutch East India Company and the Dutch West India Company. They were both joint stock companies, meaning that those who invested in the companies received part of the money the companies made. Each company was responsible for half of the world divided at India. This shipping made the economy thrive.
The Dutch republic was a confederation. This means they formed a weak alliance of strong unions. Their political success relied on their commercial prosperity. The Dutch had 4 ranks in their federation which were estates, regents, stadholder, and states general. They all had different jobs, for example the states general and stadholder controlled wars while the estates and regents ruled the province and made laws.