Contacts between the Dutch Republic and the Baltic states were focused mainly on trade. In towns such as Amsterdam, Beverwijk and Hoorn the influence of the Baltic region can be seen on the houses of the traders and ship owners, that have names and plaques that refer to the Baltic trade.
The two regions also found one another in other areas. Young men from the Baltic came to the Netherlands to go to university and to gain experience in the army or in the navy. The most famous 'student’ was undoubtedly Tsar Peter the Great, who came to Zaandam in 1697 to learn the Dutch art of shipbuilding.
Architects from the Dutch Republic designed streets and squares in Dantzig after the Dutch example, made with the bricks that were taken as ballast aboard the ships that sailed for the Baltic. Paintings from the Dutch Republic were in great demand in Poland, Denmark and Russia.
People also emigrated from the Netherlands to the Baltic region, especially religious refugees. Dutch Mennonites, for instance, developed the estuary of the Weichsel (near Dantzig). They gave this region such a Dutch character, that it was called ‘Little Holland’.