Nederland is on Farm roads 365 and 366, State Highway 347, and U.S. Highway 69/96/287, seven miles southeast of Beaumont in eastern Jefferson County. The site was developed by the Port Arthur Townsite Company and the Port Arthur Land Company as part of Arthur E. Stilwell's effort to make his newly built Kansas City, Pittsburg and Gulf Railway profitable. Stilwell, who had received much of his financial backing from Dutch investors, wanted a community for Dutch immigrants to Southeast Texas. The first such settler at Nederland was George Rienstra; forty others arrived in November 1897. As other immigrants followed, Nederlanders began establishing truck and dairy farms. Rice farming was especially popular until overproduction, overspeculation, and the depression of 1907 virtually wiped out the rice industry at Nederland. Many of the recent immigrants left. Prosperity was restored by the discovery of the Spindletop oilfield on January 10, 1901. The Sun Oil Company established a major terminal just to the north at Sun, and the Texas Company built a plant a mile south of Nederland. An interurban line tied the former Dutch community with Beaumont and Port Arthur in 1913. Electricity was provided shortly thereafter, and telephone and gas service came during the mid–1920s. During the same decade the Humphrey Oil Company and Pure Oil Company (subsequently Union Oil) built a refinery at Smith's Bluff to the east, drawing large numbers of former Louisiana residents to Nederland. The refineries and related petroleum industries have continued to be the mainstays of the city's economy. A weekly newspaper, the Mid-County Chronicle, was established in 1930. The town incorporated on April 29, 1940, and the population reached 3,801 in 1950. Nederland grew rapidly as a residential center during the boom years that followed. By 1970 the number of inhabitants had surpassed 16,000. Though the local economy was hurt by the declining demand for petroleum during the 1980s, the city's rated businesses increased from 136 in 1972–73 to 401 in 1984–85. The population was reported at 16,855 in 1980 and 16,192 in 1990. At that time Nederland had two museums, the Dutch Windmill Museum and La Maison Acadienne. They stood side by side in Tex Ritter Park, situated in the heart of Nederland. By 2000 the population was 17,422.

Adapted from the official Handbook of Texas, a state encyclopedia developed by the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). It is an authoritative source of trusted historical records.

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W. T. Block, Marie Rienstra Fleming, W. D. Quick | © Texas State Historical Association

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Nederland by the Numbers

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Population Counts

Pop. Year Source
18,856 2020 United States Census Bureau
17,302 2019 Texas Demographic Center
17,547 2010 United States Census Bureau
17,422 2000 United States Census Bureau
16,192 1990 United States Census Bureau
16,855 1980 United States Census Bureau
16,810 1970 United States Census Bureau
12,036 1960 United States Census Bureau
3,805 1950 United States Census Bureau