"Lewis the Fourteenth was at the gates of Amsterdam"

The Franco-Dutch war of 1672 - 1678 saw the French army under Louis XIV overrun the Dutch United Provinces ‘up to the gates of Amsterdam.’ 

On one side of the war were France, Sweden, the Prince Bishopric of Munster, the Archbishopric of Cologne and England. On the other was the Dutch Republic, later joined by the Austrian Habsburg lands, Brandenburg and Spain. 

Louis considered the Dutch to be trading rivals, republicans, heretics and an obstacle to French expansion into the Spanish Netherlands.  England, in turn, felt threatened by the growing naval power of the Dutch, and was willing to partner with the French to take them down a peg or two. 

France mobilized about 120,000 men against the Dutch United Provinces, while England was expected to launch amphibious landings against the Dutch (this never happened).  The French marched to the heart of the Dutch Republic, and tried to gain sixteen million guilders from the Dutch in exchange for peace. The Dutch, however, were incensed, and flooded the countryside by opening their famous dikes – thus blocking further French advances. Attempts by the Anglo-French fleet to invade the Dutch Republic by sea were thwarted.  England abandoned the war in 1674.

Treaty of Nijmegen 1678
Public DomainTreaty of Nijmegen 1678 - Credit: Henri Gascard
Louis was forced to abandon his plans of conquering the Dutch and revert to a slow, cautious war of attrition around the French frontiers.  In 1676, the French navy finally destroyed a Dutch fleet near Palermo and temporarily achieved naval supremacy in the Mediterranean.  By 1678, Louis had broken the Dutch led coalition, and France gained considerable territories in the Southern Netherlands from the Spanish, under the terms of the Treaty of Nijmegen which ended the war.  France ended the war as a great military power of continental Europe.