The Low Countries

Comprising the lands around the Rhine delta and extending north to the Frisian coast, these regions have had an influence on European and world history all out of proportion to their size, owing to their strategic location and the patient enterprise of the inhabitants.

This has: Abcoude, Almelo, Altena, Ameland, Antwerp, Arlon, Batenburg, Belgium, Bergen-op-Zoom, Borculo, Bouillon, Boxmeer, Brabant, Breda, Buren, Burgundy, Chiny, Culemborg, Cuyk, Dalhem, Drente, Duras, East Frisia, Emmeloord, Echten, Ename, Flanders, Frisia, Gelderland, Gemert, Gennep, Grimbergen, Haamstede, Hainault, Hamaland, Heusden, Hoekelum, Holland, Hoogstraeten, IJsselstein, Kessel, Kuinre, La Barrière, Lands Beyond the Meuse, Liege, Limburg, Loon, Lower Lorraine, Luikergow, Luxembourg, Maastricht, Mechelen, Moha, Mons, Montfoort, Moresnet, Namur, the Netherlands, Prinsenland, Putten, Ravenstein, Rechteren, Rode, Ruinen, 's-Hertogenrade, Steenbergen, Strijen, Thorn, Tournai, Twente, Twickel, Urk, Utrecht, Valenciennes, Valkenburg, Veere, Velsen, Vianden, Vianen, Voorne, Waterland, West FrisiaWesterwolde, Willemstad, Woerden, Zalk-Veecaten, ZeelandZutphen, and Zuylen.

ALMELO Almelo is a city in eastern Netherlands, in the district of Twente, some 72 miles (116 km.) east of Amsterdam and about 8 miles (13 km.) from the German frontier.The lordship of Almelo, the territory around the present city, is first mentioned in 1157. Its lords became counts of the Holy Roman Empire in 1705. It kept, more than other lordships in Overijssel, its relative independence from its overlord, the bishop of Utrecht and the Lordship of Overijssel until the abolition of the lordship in 1795.

A lordship in the very north of the province of North-Brabant, between  the Dammed Maas, the Upper Merwede, the Biesbos and the Bergse Maas, its geographical centre between Rotterdam, 28 miles (46 km.) to the west, and ‘s-Hertogenbosch (Bois-le-Duc), 20 miles (32 km.) to the east. It had been a part of the Carolingian county of Teisterbant, which disintegrated in the early 11th century. Altena then became a fief of the counts of Cleves.

One of the Wadden Islands, a long chain of sandy barrier islands stretching from the tip of Holland to the Jadebusen in Germany (the chain is called the Ostfriesische Islands in Germany). It is fourth in the line from the Holland headland (between Terschelling to the west and Engelschmanplaat to the east) - more-or-less due north of the Friesian capital of Leeuwarden. Occupied by Frisians for ages, it is first mentioned as Ambla in the 8th century. Although Holland, Friesland and the Holy Roman Emperor contested its quasi-independent status, Ameland remained a free lordship until 1795. Its lords bore the title of vrijheer (‘free lord’). 

AMSTELLAND (and the City of Amsterdam)
A territory comprising the area of the modern Amsterdam and its surroundings. Its history is linked with the Amstel river and the growth of the city of Amsterdam. The river was important in medieval times as a waterway leading to the south and to Utrecht. The oldest settlement in the area was Ouderkerk aan de Amstel, which dated from the 11th century (and thus is older than Amsterdam itself, which was at this time was a small fishing village at the mouth of the Amstel). This area was part of the demesne of the Van Amstel family, which had held the district from c. 1105 as servants (ministeriales) of the bishop of Utrecht and later for some years as vassals of the count of Holland (until 1296).

ANTWERP The second-largest city in Belgium, and a major international port located some 50 miles (80 km.) from the North Sea on the right bank of the Schelde; it is about 25 miles (40 km.) north of Brussels.

A lordship on the northern bank of the river Maas (Meuse), the border between Gelderland and Brabant, about 9 miles (15 km.) west of Nijmegen and a mile or so north of Ravenstein. It was a fief of the Holy Roman Empire, independent of Gelderland and Brabant until 1664, when it became a fief of the States of Gelderland. It claimed - with Bronckhorst, Baer and Berg-'s-Heerenberg - the status of  'Bannerheerlijkheid', meaning the right of its lord to keep his own banner during a battle, not the banner of the count/duke of Gelderland.

BELGIUM Rather unexpectedly, this highway for armies has achieved a sense of national identity despite being one of the newer European states, and despite being divided by two seperate cultures and languages.

A city near the west coast of the province of Noord-Brabant, situated on the ‘Zoom’,  i.e. the sharp transition – in Dutch eyes – from the Pleistocene landscape of North-Brabant into the holocene Schelde estuary (38 km west of Breda, 50 km north of Antwerp). Bergen op Zoom – founded in the 12th century - was probably granted municipal status in 1266. The city and its surroundings became a lordship in 1287 when separated from the lordship of Breda. The lordship was elevated to a marquisate of the HRE in 1533. The title has been nominal only from at least the seventeenth century

BORCULO A small town in eastern Gelderland, about 7 miles (11 km.) west of the German frontier and 14 miles (22 km.) east of Zutphen. Borculo was an autonomous Barony during the Middle Ages.

BOUILLON A small town in eastern Belgium, the base from which the famous crusader and conqueror of Jerusalem, Godfrey de Bouillon, emerged. On the frontier between the Holy Roman Empire and France, it has fairly frequently changed hands; but from the 17th century was under French authority. As an aside, it was the first Belgian town to be liberated in World War II.

A town in southeastern Netherlands, 14 miles (22 km.) south of Nijmegen and about 4 miles (6½ km.) from the German frontier. Located on the west bank of the River Maas, it was the site of a Mediaeval lordship in the northeast corner of the Duchy of Brabant. The lordship consisted of a narrow strip of territory starting at the river, and extending southwestward about 8 miles (13 km.), partitioning the County of Cuijk into two sections on either side. It originated as an allodium, bought by a member of a family called Boc (Buc, Buch) from the lord of Cuijk in the second half of the 13th century. The original name of castle and settlement was Meer/Mere. Since ca. 1380 the lordship was named Bocmeer/Boxmeer.

BRABANT Counts of Louvain until 1106, Dukes of Brabant thereafter. Brabant is a large province taking up much of central Belgium, and extending into southern Netherlands

A city in the western half of the present province of North Brabant at the confluence of the Mark and Aa rivers, 26 miles (42 km.) southeast of Rotterdam and 30 miles (48 km.) northeast of Antwerp - it is about 6 miles (9½ km.) north of the current Belgian frontier. The town was founded between 1198 and 1212, but the lordship of Breda came into existence during the 11th century as an allodium of the Holy Roman Empire - it was set as a fief of the duchy of Brabant from 1198 (or perhaps 1196). The lordship of Breda comprised originally the western half of the province of North Brabant, but in 1287 it fell apart in three smaller territories: the lordship (later barony) of Breda, the lordship (later marquisate) of Bergen-op-Zoom and the ‘Common Land of Steenbergen’. The place figures large in diplomatic annals - the Compromise of Breda (1566) was the first move by Dutch nationalists in freeing themselves from Spanish authority; the Declaration of Breda (1660) set forth the conditions that Charles II issued in his recovery of the English throne; and the Treaty of Breda (1667) ended a naval conflict between Great Britain and the Netherlands, confirming English possession of New York and New Jersey and Dutch possession of Indonesia and Suriname. Long a fortified district, the castle completed by Willem III in 1696 is now the Dutch Royal Military Academy.

A lordship in the western part of the province of Gelderland, along the southern bank of the Lek river - the Lordship of Culemborg is immediately on it's western flank, and the town of Wijk stands across the river by Buren's northeastern corner. It originated in the 12th century,  a successor of the county of Teisterbant, which fell apart during the 11th century. The lords of Buren were vassals of the county of Gelderland but became more-or-less independent rulers when Buren was raised a county of the HRE by emperor Maximilian I in 1492. The use of the title “count/countess of Buren” has served some of the Dutch royals to occasionally maintain a measure of privacy when among the public.

BURGUNDY This Burgundy is the second duchy, created as an appanage of the French Royal family in 1363. It swiftly expanded its territories out of France and into the Empire, acquiring by various means lands in Alsace and the Low Countries. The Burgundian Court became a brilliant cultural center, as successive dukes attempted to recreate the ancient Kingdom of Lotharingia as an entity entirely independent of either France or the Empire. Philip the Good was, in fact, offered the title "King of Belgia", within the Empire, but he refused it as not being large or autonomous enough. Burgundian aspirations came to an abrupt end when Charles the Rash fell in battle against the Swiss, and his sole heiress married the Habsburg Emperor, Maximilian I. Their son wed the heiress of Spain, Juana the Mad. The following list records successive Dukes of Burgundy as they governed within the Low Countries (Spain retained the title even after losing the lands in 1713, so also did Austria after 1795, although losing all the territories to France by that year).

CHINY A small town in far southeastern Belgium, on the Semois River about  4 miles (6.5 km.) from the French border and about 17 miles (27 km.) east of the French town of Sedan.

A lordship, established by a local ruler of Bosi(n)chem (Beusi(n)chem) who built a small castle before ca. 1270 on a territory that belonged to the chapter of Oudmunster of the bishopric of Utrecht. This was the core of the later city of Culemborg (former ‘Kuilenburg’), a merchant village situated on the ridge of the river De Meer and the south bank of the river Lek - the Lodship of Buren is immediately to the east. Culemborg was a fief of the county of Gelderland 1281-1555 and became a county of the HRE in 1555. The city had its own jurisdiction. Whoever committed a crime or misdemeanor had to appear before the "schout en schepenen" (sheriff and bailiffs) and would not escape his just punishment; but he did have the right to defend himself, and as long as he remained within the walls of Culemborg his accuser was denied entrance to the town. Thus, many bankrupt bankers and financiers fled to Culemborg and, even today in Amsterdam the phrase "to go to Culemborg" meant to go bankrupt.

CUYK (Cuijk) A town on the Maas River in the eastern Netherlands, 8 miles (12 km.) south of Nijmegen and 4 miles (6 km.) west of the German frontier. Gennep is a few miles upriver, to the east-southeast.

DALHEM A small county situated astride the frontier between the Netherlands and Belgium, at the southernmost extreme of the Netherlands on the east bank of the Maas (Meuse) River between Maastricht and Aachen. The largest portion of the county is within what is now Belgium.

DRENTE A district in northeastern Netherlands, adjacent to the German frontier to the east, Frisia and Groningen to the north, and Overijssel to the south. The region is sparsely populated, but has been occupied for millenia - there are many dolmens dotting the countryside.

DURAS (Duraz) A minor county in the Belgian province of Limburg, near St.Truiden (St.Trond).

A lordship in the southwest of the province of Drenthe - Echten itself is just a spot on the map, about 9 miles (14½ km.) east of Meppel; Hoogeveen is now a substantial town 2 miles (3 km.) further east. The manor Echten existed from the 12th century. Its lord acquired in 1625 the large moor area near the present village of Hoogeveen, and this area was raised to a lordship itself by the States of Drenthe. Thereafter these rulers called themselves Lord of Echten and Echten’s Hoogeveen.

ENAME (Eenham) A region in central Belgium centered on the city of Aalst, just a little west of Brussels, in southeastern Flanders and encompassing some parts of northern Hainault as well.

FLANDERS An important County in northwestern Belgium, along the North Sea coast. Until the Burgundian inheritence passed to the House of Habsburg (1482), Flanders was a province of France, rather than the Holy Roman Empire.

FRISIA The coastal regions in the northern Netherlands, extending into Germany as far as the mouth of the Weser. The Frisian people have lived on these sandy strands for ages, and are notable to speakers of English as having the language most closely related to English. This is unsurprising, as these are the shores from which the Anglo-Saxons embarked upon their conquest of Britain. I include here notes on both East (German) Frisia and West (Dutch) Frisia. The sequence as listed is very long, and reflects traditional lore almost exclusively until the advent of the Romans. Thereafter until c. 800 CE, the list probably reflects real people and genuine events to one extent or another. From the time of Charlemagne on, the list is reliable.

GELDERLAND In the central Netherlands, east of Utrecht. A County 1096, a Duchy 1339.

A lordship in the northeast of the province of North-Brabant 18 miles (29 km.) southeast of ‘s-Hertogenbosch/Bois-le-Duc). It originated in the 11th century under a family called ‘De Gamerthe’/‘De Gemerde’, who ruled this territory as a fief of the Holy Roman Empire, independent - except for a period of two years - of the duchy of Brabant. One of its members granted his share of Gemert to the Teutonic Order. After a period of joint rule by the Teutonic Order and the Van Gemert family, the Order acquired the whole territory of Gemert in 1366 and ruled it as the ‘Free Sovereign Domain and Kommende Gemert of the Teutonic Order’ until 1794.

GENNEP A small city in the northern part of the Dutch province of Limburg, on the eastern bank of the Meuse and the southern bank of the Niers, 10 miles (16 km.) southeast of Nijmegen, c. 2½ miles (4 km.) from the German frontier and 9 miles (14½ km.) west-southwest of Cleves. Cuyk is a few miles downriver to the west-northwest. Gennep was an autonomous Barony during the Middle Ages. The nearby fortress ‘Genneperhuis’ played an important role during the Eighty Years’ War - alternatively occupied by Spanish and Dutch troops - and the wars with the French until its final destruction by French troops in 1710.

HAAMSTEDE A small village on an island in the Rhine estuary, facing the North Sea. It was an appanage Barony of the Counts of Holland for about 150 years during in the Middle Ages, before being transfered to a local family and fading from view.

HAINAULT Duchy. In the south of Belgium; the lands between Leige and Brussels to the north, and Lille and Valenciennes in France, to the south.

A lordship in the very north of the province of North-Brabant, where the river Meuse splits into the Dammed Meuse, to the northwest, and the Bergse Maas (the Amer) to the west; c. 9 miles (15 km.) west of ‘s-Hertogenbosch (Bois-le-Duc). It had been a part of the Carolingian county of Teisterbant, which disintegrated in the early 11th century, from which time Heusden became a fief of the counts of Cleves.

A small lordship in the province of Gelderland in the southwestern Veluwe region, 23 miles (37 km.) east of Utrecht and 11 miles (18 km) west of Arnhem, just south of Ede and and a bit north of Wageningen. Its lords occupied a high position at the court of the counts and dukes of Gelders, the hereditary office of Master of the Hunt in the Veluwe and the Reichswald. They lost this office ca. 1477.

HollandHOLLAND The County, first described as such from 1101; previous rulers governed the area as "Counts of Frisia" or "Counts of Kennemerland". The coastal lands between the Rhine delta and the Zuider Sea, Holland is the core of what would develop into the Netherlands.

A village on the Dutch-Belgian border, just inside Belgium, 19 miles (30 km.) northeast of Antwerp and 13 miles (21 km.) south of Breda, the Netherlands. At the end of the 17th century it became the basis for a partition Principality of the Salm dynasty - when that branch of the family inherited Salm itself, Hoogstraeten was calved off as a separate Dukedom. The title ceased to be used in the second half of the 19th century, and today most members of the family live in eastern Germany or Poland, but I include the nominal succession to the present, to be complete.

A city 7 miles (12 km.) south-southwest of the centre of  Utrecht. It originated as a settlement in the Utrecht-Holland border area on the river Hollandse IJssel, where clayey and peaty soils were reclaimed from the early 11th century. The lordship of IJsselstein came into being around the village of Benschop, ruled by servants (ministeriales) of the bishop of Utrecht. The seat of these lords of Benschop was later moved to the castle of IJsselstein, which became the centre of the later city.

A small county in the northwest of the province of Limburg, along the west bank of the river Meuse between Venlo in the south to Boxmeer in the north - Gennep is immediately to the northwest, and Cuyk just beyond to the north.

A lordship (sometimes called a county) situated in northwestern Overijssel, near the border with the province of Friesland. It enclosed also land to the west of Overijssel, which was later flooded by the Zuiderzee, now reclaimed (since 1941) as the Northeast Polder. Remnants of this flooded territory were the islands of Urk and Emmeloord (from the 18th century: Schokland). The lordship of Kuinre came into being during the 12th century, a dependency of the bishopric of Utrecht, although its lords behaved themselves as sovereign rulers. The first castle of Kuinre was constructed sometime between 1165 and 1197, destroyed but rebuilt in 1204. This first castle was later flooded by the Zuiderzee but its remnants are now visible on the bottom of the Northeast Polder (a second castle, dating from 1378, is still unexcavated). The present Kuinre is a small city on the border of Overijssel and the Northeast Polder, 14 miles (22½ km.) northeast of Urk, and 28 miles (45 km.) south of Leeuwarden.

"La Barrière" Some mention should be made of these groups of fortifications, although they never constituted a state in the sense used by this archive. In the latter-XVIIth century, France strove to dominate Europe and expand territorially. French forces invaded the Netherlands in 1672, and were not fully dislodged for two years. As a result, the United Provinces sought to establish a first line of defence against future French aggression and, to that end, set up Barrier treaties on three separate occasions:

The First Barrier Treaty was concluded in 1698, according to the provisions of the Treaty of Rijswijk (1697). The French agreed to evacuate the duchy of Luxemburg and strategic border fortress towns of Charleroi, Mons, Kortrijk, Ath and Chiny. A number of barrier fortresses in the Spanish Netherlands, near the French border were to be garrisoned by Dutch troops. The task of these troops was to protect the Dutch Republic and the Spanish Netherlands against a French invasion. Spain couldn’t afford enough money nor troops for this task. The Republic paid 40% of the costs, Spain 60%. The Barrier Cities were, from east to west:

Kortrijk (Courtrai)

This Barrier System functioned three years (1698-1701), under considerable difficulties and tension. The local population, nearly all Roman Catholic, strongly objected to the presence of Protestant troops. When the last Habsburg king of Spain, Charles II, died without heirs in 1700, Louis XIV of France claimed the entire Spanish heritage for his grandson Philip (V of Spain), and accordingly, French troops entered the Spanish Netherlands in February of 1701. These troops, helped by the local authorities and populace, forced the Dutch troops to evacuate the Barrier Cities without a fight.

The Second Barrier Treaty  was concluded between Great Britain and the Dutch Republic in October of 1709. The British acknowledged the Dutch claim on a considerable part of the Southern Netherlands (Flanders, South Brabant, Limburg, Upper Gelderland) and its need for a barrier of fortresses against France. However, this treaty led nowhere, because Great Britain changed its policy in 1710, supporting the claim of HRE Charles VI, who obtained the Southern Netherlands (except most of Upper-Gelderland) in 1715.

The Third Barrier Treaty was concluded at Antwerp in 1715. The Dutch Republic obtained the right to garrison (less than claimed) a number of fortified cities and fortresses in the now Austrian Netherlands, near the French border (except Dendermonde, which is located near Antwerp). From east to west:

Ieper (Ypres) *
Fort de Knokke

The garrisons of Namur and Dendermonde consisted of 50% Dutch troops and 50% Austrian troops. The Republic paid the costs of these garrisons, but received an annual Austrian subsidy for the upkeep of their Barrier garrisons. These Barrier Cities fell short of expectations during the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-1748). French troops occupied Menen, Veurne, Fort de Knokke, Warneton and Ieper in 1744, the other cities in 1745-1746. When France and Austria became allies in 1756, Austria lost its interest in the Barrier Cities. Subsequently, the fortifications became neglected and understaffed. Eventually,  HRE Josef II unilaterally cancelled the Barrier Treaty in 1781 and sent what remained of the Dutch garrisons packing. As it happens, France did, in fact, invade the Low Countries again - twelve years later. French troops entered the Austrian Netherlands in 1793, and again in '94, annexing the region; the United Provinces' turn came in '95 when French troops occupied all of the Netherlands, abolished the old Republic, and set up the Batavian Republic in it's stead.

* The site of some of the most intense fighting in World War I, exactly 200 years later.

"Lands Beyond the Meuse" (de Landen van Overmaas) Some mention should be made of this region, although it was never a state in the sense used by this archive. The term refers to a region largely comprising three minor lordships in the extreme southern end of what is now the Netherlands, in the vicinity of Maastricht - the counties of Dalhem and Valkenburg, and the barony of 's-Hertogenrade. Each of these emerged in the usual fashion during the Middle Ages, each in turn was absorbed eventually by the Duchy of Brabant, and thence to Burgundy and Spain. In 1544 the region was assigned administratively to the jurisdiction of Limburg, within the Spanish Netherlands. A generation later, open warfare broke out between Spain and the Dutch provinces in the Netherlands - the Eighty-Years War of Dutch independence (1568-1648), and matters in southern Limburg became interesting... See also Moresnet for another district in southern Limburg (now in the Belgian province of Liege) within which specialized and very local arrangements needed to be made, during the 19th century.

LIÈGE (Lüttich, Luik) A Prince-Bishopric in central Belgium holding a large territory. Tongeren and Maastricht are two towns north and northeast of Liege. Tongeren is in northeastern Belgium, Maastricht is located at the end of a narrow southern panhandle of the Netherlands. Each was an ecclesiastic seat, Maastricht superceding Tongeren and being absorbed in turn by Liege.

LIMBURG A Duchy located in eastern Belgium, and ARLON, a small county located in southeastern Belgium. Limburg and Arlon were closely related dynastically; the ruling house of Luxembourg since count Henry V of Luxemburg is known as the house of Limburg-Arlon. Note that the present Dutch province of Limburg was composed of parts of the former duchy of Gelderland and a number of small lordships between Maastricht and Aachen (Ger.). The present Belgian province of Limburg corresponds more or less with the former territory of the county of Loon.

LOON (Looz)A small County in Belgium, comprising much of the present-day province of Limburg.

LOWER LORRAINEA duchy located roughly in what is now Belgium, one of the divisions of Lotharingia in the 10th century. It gradually lost territory as local dynasties grew in power, and was eventually absorbed by Brabant.

LUXEMBOURG A compact district located in the angle between Belgium, France, and Germany. A County, then Duchy, during the Middle Ages, and source of one of the most powerful dynasties in western Europe in the 14th century. Raised to the status of a Grand Duchy in 1814, in personal union with the Kingdom of the Netherlands - owing to differences in succession laws, the union was dissolved in 1890, and Luxembourg became fully independent.

MECHELEN (Malines) A city in north-central Belgium, about 14 miles (22½ km.) south of Antwerp, and a similar distance north of Brussels. It was a lordship within the bishopric of Liege from 915. It consisted of two enclaves (the town of Mechelen and a number of villages; and the city of Heist-op-den-Berg), surrounded by the county of Louvain and the duchy of Brabant. It was ruled by a local dynasty, the Berthouts, also lords of Grimbergen, a territory in Brabant. The Berthout line split 1147/51 into two collateral branches (Mechelen and Grimbergen). After the dynastic union with Flanders in 1357, Mechelen became the smallest of the principalities of the Seventeen Netherlands until it was annexed to France in 1794. After the Napoleonic era, it become an urban district of the Netherlands (1814-1830) and Belgium from 1830.

MOHA A minor county in the Belgian province of Liege, to the north of the river Meuse, near Huy. It was set up in the 9th-10th century.

MONS A division of Hainault, briefly autonomous in the 10th century.

The city of Montfoort lies in the south-western part of the Utrecht province, in the middle of the Lopikerwaard, on the Hollandse IJssel river, situated between Utrecht to the east (9 miles - 15 km.) and Rotterdam to the west (25 miles - 40 km.). Godfried van Rhenen, bishop of Utrecht (1156-1178) had a strong fortress built on a strategic point of the Hollandse IJssel to protect his bishopric against attacks and looting by the counts of Holland. The date of its foundation is ca. 1170. Castle and adjacent territory constituted the lordship of Montfoort, fief of the bishopric of Utrecht, ruled by castellani (châtelains) from ca. 1170 to 1281, and by burgraves afterwards until 1648.

MORESNET (Neutral Moresnet) A town and district located adjacent to the frontier of Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands, about 5 miles (8 km.) southwest of Aachen. The area came under a territorial dispute at the close of the Napoleonic Wars, claimed by both The Netherlands and Prussia, and was constituted a Neutral Zone, administered by a commission of the claimant parties. See also the Lands Beyond the Meuse for a record of other districts in southern Limburg to which specialized and very local arrangements were erected between 1661-1794.

NamurNAMUR A county and (1184) Margraviate in south-central Belgium.

The NETHERLANDS The Netherlands emerged as an independent state in the 16th century, during its secessionist rebellion against Spain, the Eighty Years War (1568-1648). The state was arranged as an aristocratic republic; It was ruled by the States-General (i.e. a body composed of the States of the Seven Provinces) and by the Stadthalder. The function of Stadthalder was a remnant of the preceding period under Burgundian, Habsburg and Spanish rulers. The function was hereditary in practice (not in theory). The power of the Stadtholders was poorly defined and depended on their personality (even contemporay historians are not in agreement about the Stadthalderate). They were army commanders and controlled appointments of city regents and other important offices. Their power ranged from servants of the States to quasi-monarchs. The state recieved formal recognition as a sovereign State, entirely independent of Spain and the Empire, in 1648. Following the murder of Johan de Witt and the re-establishment of the Nassau family, the form was converted to that of Hereditary Stadthalder. Succumbing to French invasion at the end of the 18th century, a French puppet republic was set up, being followed by a Napoleonic Kingdom and, ultimately, outright annexation to France. The modern Kingdom dates from the Congress of Vienna, 1814-5. The current royal House retains the Name of Orange-Nassau, although Queen Juliana's father was a Von Mecklenburg, and Queen Beatrice's father was a Von Lippe.

One of the South Holland islands, southwest of Rotterdam, to the east of the lordship of Voorne with the Bernisse as boundary river. Its first administrative centre was the castle of Puttenstein until 1304 and after its destruction the castle of Geervliet. Putten was a fief of Holland and Voorne, detached from the lordship of Voorne ca. 1200. Its ruling family presumably descended from the Persijns, lords of Velsen and Waterland. Putten entered into a personal union with Strijen in 1294. Both lordships were attached to the county of Holland in 1459 and annexed in 1477. It was then ruled by the baillif (Dutch: ruwaard) of Putten. A famous ruwaard was Cornelis de Witt, brother of Raadspensionaris Johan de Witt - both murdered in 1672 when the Dutch Republic was simultanously attacked by England, France, Cologne and Münster.

RAVENSTEIN This was a small barony in the northeast of the Dutch province of Brabant, on the left bank of the Maas.

RECHTEREN A small locale in the central Netherlands, 9 miles (15 km.) east of Zwolle in northwestern Overijssel. In the later Middle Ages and early modern times it constituted a minor Barony (County from 1711), first within the demesne of the Bishops of Utrecht (until 1523), then within Gelders.

RODE (Sint Oedenrode)
The county of Rode emerged from the Frankish pagus (administrative county or gau) of Toxandria, which corresponded roughly with the present province of North-Brabant. Toxandria fragmented into three sections during the 9th century. The eastern section became the (dynastic) county of Rode, which centered around the settlement of Eerschot, nowadays the village of Sint Oedenrode (which derives its name from “Saint Oda’s Rode”; Oda was a female saint, born in Scotland, who was venerated in Eerschot from the 11th century). The names of its counts are known from the 11th century. Sint Oedenrode is in what is now south-central Netherlands, on the Dommel River 10 miles (16 km.) southeast of  's-Hertogenbosch and 9 miles (14½ km.) north of Eindhoven. Mierlo, a town which has some association with this lordship, is 10 miles (16 km.) to the southeast.

A lordship in northern Netherlands, in the southwestern portion of the province of Drenthe, centered on the village of the same name, located some 8 miles (13 km.) northeast of the market town of Meppel. It was a fief of the bishopric of Utrecht ca. 1040-1536, of its Habsburg successors (HRE Charles V and king Philip II of Spain) 1536-1581 and of the States of Overijssel 1581-1795.

‘S-HERTOGENRADE A minor barony largely within the southern end of the Dutch panhandle extending south along the east bank of the Maas River. The bulk of Baronial territory lies just west and north of the German city of Aachen - a few tiny baronial districts lie within what is now Germany.

A city in the northwest of the present Dutch province of North-Brabant (37 km west of Breda). It received municipal rights in 1272. The lordship of Steenbergen wasn’t ruled by a local dynasty but by lords of the neighbouring territories

A lordship which extended over the Hoeksewaard (one of the South Holland islands) and the very northwest of Brabant, between Rotterdam (26 km) and Antwerp (76 km). The early history of Strijen is poorly known. A pagus Stryna or Struona is mentioned in the 10th century. Strijen was supposed to have originated as an allodial  principality ca. 630 – the Strijen legend – but this view isn’t shared by present regional historians. The lordship of Strijen is for the first time mentioned during the 12th century, when it was apparently a fief of Brabant. It was united with Putten in a personal union 1294/1316-1459, until it was annexed to the county of Holland (1459/1477).

THORN A small village just inside the Netherlands, 22 miles (35 km.) north of Maastricht, at the point where the Maastricht corridor joins the main portion of the Dutch state - the Belgian frontier is immediately to the southwest, less than half a mile (1 km.) away. During the time of the Empire, the village, and fairly extensive rural holdings nearby, hosted a sovereign Benedictine convent. This establishment, like Essen and Quedlinburg, was reserved for ladies of noble birth, as a place of education or retirement. Vows were not required, and in fact many inmates left to marry, including one of the Abbesses (Anna Katharina von Salm-Reiffenscheid, who wed Count Johann von Rietberg in 1647, and had 5 children). The monastery is in a good state of preservation, and the High Altar in the church is one of the most splendid in Europe.

TOURNAI (Doornik) A Belgian city in western Hainault, about 5 miles (8 km.) from the French border and 44 miles (70 km.) west-southwest of Brussels. Dating from Roman times (as Turnacum), it was an important Merovingian community - the birthplace of Clovis I - and the site of one of the finest cathedrals in Europe from the Middle Ages.

TWENTE A district in eastern Netherlands, adjacent to the German frontier in southern Overijssel province, it is the most heavily urbanized region in Overijssel, the chief cities being Enschede, Hengelo, and Almelo.

TWICKEL A barony in Overijssel. Castle Twickel, a magnificent Baroque structure with a fine set of gardens, is located just north of Delden, a suburb of Hengelo some 3½ miles (5½ km.) west of that city. The lords of Twickel have long been powerful, influential, and cultured magnates in Dutch society.

Urk and Emmeloord are two small towns located in what has been up until recently the north-central portion of the Zuiderzee (now the Ijsselmeer). In early times, the area was a low-lying coastal district, and a countship was established here in later Carolingian times. The region gradually flooded however - especially during the 12th  and 13th centuries, and by c. 1250 all that was left were two tiny islands: Urk itself, some 36 miles (58 km.) northeast of Amsterdam, and Emmeloord (called Schokland from the 18th century), 9 miles (14½ km.) east of Urk and 7 miles (11¼ km.) northwest of the town of Kampen at the mouth of the Ijssel River. Nevertheless, the Dutch have reclaimed most of the old Zuiderzee, and in 1941 Urk and Emmeloord were integrated into the Noordoostpolder and once more are part of an extensive stretch of dry land.

UTRECHTAn important Mediaeval bishopric located in the Netherlands near Amsterdam, and also controlling the north-central province of Overyssel.

VALENCIENNES A division of Hainault, sporadically autonomous in the 10th and 11th centuries.

VALKENBURG A small town located about 10 miles (15 km.) east of Maastricht, in the southeastern panhandle of the Netherlands between the Maas River and the German frontier. It was a local Barony, being made a County in 1356, just prior to being absorbed by its neighbours.

VEERE (Vere) A small town in Zeeland, southwestern Netherlands, on the northwest shore of what used to be Walcheren Island, now connected to the mainland by a narrow peninsula separating the Schelde estuary from the Oosterschelde - the city of Vlissingen (Eng. Flushing) lies on the opposite side of the peninsula, 7 miles (11 km.) to the south. Originaslly a local lordship, it was elevated in status to that of a margrave in 1555.

A small lordship – restricted to its castle and immediate environment - in the coastal dune area of North-Holland, near the western outlet of the present North Sea Channel, which connects Amsterdam with the North Sea, 25 km west of Amsterdam, around the present village of Velsen. Its lords ruled (one half of ) the lordship of Waterland from the 13th century until 1353/72.

VIANDEN A small town on the Our River, just inside Luxembourg from the German frontier.

A lordship consisting of a chip of territory on the southern bank of the river Lek, with the Lordship of Culemborg immediately to the east. It was established around 1258/71 when Hubrecht de Schenk, lord of Bosichem, granted a part of Culemborg to his second son Zweder. A castle (“Op de Bol”), the origin of the later city of Vianen (15 km south of Utrecht) was built in the last quarter of the 13th century. Vianen formed a self-proclaimed sovereign seignory till 1795. During the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, as a "free city”, it was a haven for felons, escaped serfs and bankrupts.

A lordship in the province of South-Holland (ca. 23 miles - 36 km. - west of Rotterdam) which included the island of (East-)Voorne, bordering the North Sea and the Haringvliet, and the island of Goeree (formerly: West-Voorne), now a part of the island of Goeree-Overflakkee. Its eastern border was the river Bernisse, which separated Voorne from the island and  lordship of Putten. The first residence of its ruling family was the castle of Poortvliet (island of Tholen), which was destroyed in 1204 by an army of Willem I count of Holland. After their recovery, the lords of Voorne built a new castle on the island of Voorne, where the village of Oostvoorne came into being. Voorne wasn’t formally incorporated into the county of Holland, but ruled as a polity - Bailliwick of Voorne - in personal union with the county of Holland. Names, dates and order of some of the first lords of Voorne between Hugo I and Hugo IV are uncertain.

WATERLAND A lordship in the eastern half of the province of North-Holland, to the north of the city of Amsterdam, from the IJ to West-Frisia, a peaty area dissected by much open water.

WESTERWOLDE, and the Castle of WEDDE
 A region in the far northeastern Netherlands, in the eastern and southeastern portion of the province of Groningen. Westerwolde is an isolated territory located between vast peat bogs (the Bourtanger Moor forms the German frontier just to the east) - now almost completely cut and reclaimed - bordering the small rivers Mussel A and Ruiten A, which flow together to the Dollard Estuary as Westerwoldse A. Wedde Castle itself is some 26 miles (42 km.) east-southeast of Groningen, about 4½ miles (7¼ km.) from the German frontier.

The present city of Woerden, situated 25 miles (40 km.) east of The Hague and 11 miles (18 km.) west of Utrecht, arose around the Woerden Castle, which was built in 1159 or 1160 by the bishop of Utrecht to defend the western border of his territory against the county of Holland. The commander of the castle was a servant (ministerialis) of the bishop, called castellanus (castellan, lord of the castle), but he titled himself from 1165 also as dominus de Worthen(e). The lordship of Woerden was finally annexed by Holland (1317) but afterwards continued incidentally as an appanage or as a pawn.

A small lordship in the western part of the province of Overijssel. It was situated on both banks of the lower course of the river Gelderse IJssel, between the cities of Zwolle (9 km) and Kampen (11 km). Two territories made up this lordship, Zalk on the southern bank and Veecaten on the northern bank. It came into being around the castle of Buckhorst, which originally belonged to the lords of Gemen (Germany, Northrhine-Westfalia), split off ca. 1150. Zalk and Veecaten was an allodium i.e. a territory free from such obligations as rent or services due to an overlord, until 1386 when its lord accepted terms which made him in practice a vassal of the bishop of Utrecht.

ZEELAND The sandy strands and islands of the Maas and Scheldt estuaries, in southwestern Netherlands.

ZUTPHEN A town in Gelderland, 8 miles (13 km.) south of Deventer and some 15 miles (24 km.) northeast of Arnhem. The lordship of Zutphen emerged in the first part of the 11th century (but with some evidence pointing to an earlier Carolingian origin), between the river Ijssel and the modern Dutch-German border, to the east of the town of Arnhem. It occupied more or less the eastern part of the modern Dutch province of Gelderland. It was inherited 1138 by Henry, count of Gelderland (son of Irmgard, sister of Henry the Old of Zutphen) and remained in personal union with the county/duchy of Gelderland, as one of its four ‘quarters’ (the others being Veluwe, Domain of Nijmegen, and Upper Gelre).

Zuylen Castle, the core of the small lordship of Zuylen, is situated on the river Vecht in the tiny village of Oud-Zuilen near the city of Utrecht. The roots of the family begin in the 13th century, when the descendants of Stephan I (Dutch: Steven) van Zuylen (Germ.: Sulen, Suylen), a knight from the region of Rees in the county of Cleves, started to intermarry with the local noble families of Utrecht and thereby gained an important political role in the region as servants (ministeriales) of the bishopric of Utrecht. The castle was founded by Steven III van Zuylen ca 1250. They were also the rulers of the Lordship of Anholt ca. 1200-1380.