After a cagey start, the Netherland's slick passing game and running off the ball began to push India back and that allowed Rob van der Horst to take advantage midway through the first half.
Stepping forward from midfield he set off on a 30-yard run as the defence opened up in front of him, and after reaching the edge of the circle he fired home unchallenged.
Ten minutes later the world number threes, back-to-back gold medallists in 1996 and 2000, made it 2-0 when defender Manpreet Singh could not prevent Roderick Weusthof's low penalty corner drag crossing the line.
Early in the second half SK Uthappa had a chance to reduce the deficit but wasted India's best opportunity up to that point by missing the target from space inside the D.
But the stroke of fortune India needed came when Tushar Khandker's cross from wide on the left rebounded back off the far post and, with goalkeeper Jaap Stockmann wrong-footed, Dharamvir Singh slapped home.
A good run into the circle by Gurwinder Chandi set up Shivendra Singh for the equaliser but Holland's response was almost immediate, with Mink van der Weerden flicking in a high penalty corner.