The Dutch army was poorly armed and had fewer soldiers than the German army. The Dutch fought the Nazis on the ground. The hope of the Dutch was that the French and British would quickly come to help. But only after one day of fighting the Germans had already reached the Afsluitdijk and were by the Grebbelinie, in the provinces of Utrecht and Gelderland.
At the same time the Germans carried out air attacks near The Hague and Rotterdam. Those attacks were intended to take control of the Dutch royals (Queen Wilhelmina) and the command center. Nazi parachutists also wanted to take control of the airports in these two cities. In Rotterdam they tried to overtake the large and important harbor. The first goal was the bridge over the Maas River. But that plan failed. The Dutch army faced them and fought fiercely against the Germans. Hundreds of German aircraft were brought down. The pilots and many of the parachutists were taken as prisoners of war and sent to England.
On 13 May the Dutch commanders realized that the situation was critical. They were cut off from the allied troops in the southern Netherlands. They were unable to continue to properly defend themselves anymore. The fighting continued while the queen and members of the government left for London.
On 14 May the Germans bombed Rotterdam. This resulted in 800 deaths and 78.000 people being left homeless. The Germans were advancing on all fronts. After bombing Rotterdam, the Germans threatened to do the same to Utrecht. After the bombing of Rotterdam the Dutch army surrendered. On 15 May the Netherlands surrendered to Germany.
Following the Dutch defeat, Queen Wilhelmina established a government-in-exile in England. During WWII some 250.000 Dutch people lost their lives. More than 100.000 of them were Jewish.