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House of Orange-Nassau

House of Orange-Nassau
Country Netherlands, England, Scotland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Orange, Nassau
Parent house House of Nassau
Founded 1544
Founder William I of Orange (William the Silent)
Current head Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands
Dissolution Since 1962 extinct in the original agnatic line

The House of Orange-Nassau (in Spanish rule, which after the Eighty Years' War led to an independent Dutch state.

Several members of the house served during this war and after as governor or stadtholder (Dutch stadhouder) during the Dutch Republic. However, in 1815, after a long period as a republic, the Netherlands became a monarchy under the House of Orange-Nassau.

The dynasty was established as a result of the marriage of Henry III of Nassau-Breda from Germany and Claudia of Châlon-Orange from French Burgundy in 1515. Their son René inherited in 1530 the independent and sovereign Principality of Orange from his mother's brother, Philibert of Châlon. As the first Nassau to be the Prince of Orange, René could have used "Orange-Nassau" as his new family name. However, his uncle, in his will, had stipulated that René should continue the use of the name Châlon-Orange. History knows him therefore as René of Châlon. After the death of René in 1544 his cousin William of Nassau-Dillenburg inherited all his lands. This "William I of Orange", in English better known as William the Silent, became the founder of the House of Orange-Nassau.[1]:10


  • The House of Nassau 1
  • The Dutch rebellion 2
  • Expansion of dynastic power 3
  • Exile and resurgence 4
  • The second stadtholderless era 5
  • The end of the stadtholdership 6
  • Lands and Titles 7
  • The Monarchy (since 1815) 8
    • A new spirit: the United Kingdom of the Netherlands 8.1
    • William III and the threat of extinction 8.2
    • A modern monarchy 8.3
    • Net Worth 8.4
  • Stadtholderate under the House of Orange-Nassau 9
  • Stadtholderate under the House of Nassau 10
  • Principality of the Netherlands (1813-1815) 11
  • Kingdom of the Netherlands (1815–present) 12
  • The Royal Family and the Royal House 13
  • Family Tree 14
  • Coats of Arms 15
  • Standards 16
  • Monograms 17
  • See also 18
  • References 19
  • Literature 20
  • External links 21

The House of Nassau

1544 - "Orange-Nassau" symbolized by adding the "Châlon-Orange" arms in an escutcheon to the "Nassau" arms

The Castle of Nassau was founded around 1100 by Count Dudo-Henry of Laurenburg (German: Dudo-Heinrich von Laurenburg), the founder of the House of Nassau. In 1120, Dudo-Henry's sons and successors, Counts Robert I (German: Ruprecht; also translated Rupert) and Arnold I of Laurenburg, established themselves at Nassau Castle with its tower. They renovated and extended the castle complex in 1124 (see Nassau Castle).

The first man to be called the count of Nassau was Robert I of Nassau (Ruprecht in German), who lived in the first half of the 13th century (see family tree below). The Nassau family married into the family of the neighboring Counts of Arnstein (now Kloster Arnstein). His sons Walram and Otto split the Nassau possessions. The descendants of Walram became known as the Walram Line, which became Dukes of Nassau, and in 1890, the Grand Dukes of Luxembourg. This line also included Adolph of Nassau, who was elected King of the Romans in 1292. The descendants of Otto became known as the Ottonian Line, which inherited parts of Nassau County, and properties in France and the Netherlands.

William the Silent, Prince of Orange, leader of the Dutch War for Independence, and stadholder of Holland, Zeeland, and Utrecht.

The House of Orange-Nassau stems from the younger Ottonian Line. The first of this line to establish himself in the Netherlands was John I, Count of Nassau-Dillenburg, who married Margareta of the Marck. The real founder of the Nassau fortunes in the Netherlands was John's son, Engelbert I. He became counsellor to the Burgundian Dukes of Brabant, first to Anton of Burgundy, and later to his son Jan IV of Brabant. He also would later serve Philip the Good. In 1403 he married the Dutch noblewoman Johanna van Polanen, and so inherited lands in the Netherlands, with the Barony of Breda as the core of the Dutch possessions and the family fortune.[2]:35

The importance of the Nassaus grew throughout the 15th and 16th centuries as they became councilors, generals and stadholders of the Habsburgs (see armorial of the great nobles of the Burgundian Netherlands and List of Knights of the Golden Fleece). Engelbert II of Nassau served Charles the Bold and Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor, who had married Charles's daughter Mary of Burgundy. In 1496 he was appointed stadtholder of Flanders and by 1498 he had been named President of the Grand Conseil. In 1501, Maximilian named him Lieutenant-General of the Seventeen Provinces of the Netherlands. From that point forward (until his death in 1504), Engelbert was the principal representative of the Habsburg Empire to the region. Hendrik III of Nassau-Breda was appointed stadtholder of Holland and Zeeland by Charles of Ghent in the beginning of the 16th century. Hendrik was succeeded by his son René of Châlon-Orange in 1538, who was, as his full name stated, the Prince of Orange. When René died prematurely on the battlefield in 1544 his possessions passed to his cousin, William I of Orange. From then on, the family members called themselves "Orange-Nassau."[1]:8 [2]:37[3]:vol3,pp3-4[4]:37,107,139 See also Adolf of Germany.

The Dutch rebellion

"The Nassau Cavalcade", members of the house of Orange and Nassau on parade in 1621 from an engraving by Willem Delff. From left to right in the first row: Prince Maurice, Prince Philip William and Prince Frederick Henry.[5]

Although Charles V resisted the Protestant Reformation, he ruled the Dutch territories wisely with moderation and regard for local customs, and he did not persecute his Protestant subjects on a large scale. His son Philip II inherited his antipathy for the Protestants but not his moderation. Under the reign of Philip, a true persecution of Protestants was initiated and taxes were raised to an outrageous level. Discontent arose and William of Orange (with his vague Lutheran childhood) stood up for the Protestant (mainly Calvinist) inhabitants of the Netherlands. Things went badly after the Eighty Years' War started in 1568, but luck turned to his advantage when Protestant rebels attacking from the North Sea captured Brielle, a coastal town in present-day South Holland in 1572. Many cities in Holland began to support William. During the 1570s he had to defend his core territories in Holland several times, but in the 1580s the inland cities in Holland were secure. William of Orange was considered a threat to Spanish rule in the area and was assassinated in 1584 by a hired killer sent by Philip.[3]:vol3,p177[4]:216[6]

William was succeeded by his second son Maurits, a Protestant who proved an excellent military commander. His abilities as a commander and the lack of strong leadership in Spain after the death of Philip II (1598) gave Maurits excellent opportunities to conquer large parts of the present-day Dutch territory.[3]:vol 3,pp243-253[7] In 1585 Maurits was elected stadtholder of the Provinces of Holland and Zealand as his father's successor and as a counterpose to Elizabeth's delegate, the Earl of Leicester. In 1587 he was appointed captain-general (military commander-in-chief) of the armies of the Dutch Republic. In the early years of the 17th century there arose quarrels between stadtholder and oligarchist regents — a group of powerful merchants led by Johan van Oldebarnevelt — because Maurits wanted more powers in the Republic. Maurits won this power struggle by arranging the judicial murder of Oldebarnevelt.[4]:421-432,459[7]

Expansion of dynastic power

Willem II (1626-50), prince of Orange, and his wife Princess Maria Stuart of England (1631-60).

Maurits died unmarried in 1625 and left no legitimate children. He was succeeded by his half-brother Frederick Henry (Dutch: Frederik Hendrik), youngest son of William I. Maurits urged his successor on his deathbed to marry as soon as possible. A few weeks after Maurits's death, he married Amalia van Solms-Braunfels. Frederick Henry and Amalia were the parents of a son and several daughters. These daughters were married to important noble houses such as the house of Hohenzollern, but also to the Frisian Nassaus, who were stadtholders in Friesland. His only son, William, married Mary, Princess Royal and Princess of Orange, the eldest daughter of Charles I of Scotland and England. These dynastic moves were the work of Amalia.[1]:72-74 [8]:61

Exile and resurgence

Frederick Henry died in 1647 and his son succeeded him. As the Treaty of Munster was about to be signed, thereby ending the Eighty Years' War, William tried to maintain the powers he had in wartime as military commander. These would necessarily be diminished in peacetime as the army would be reduced, along with his income. This met with great opposition from the regents. When Andries Bicker and Cornelis de Graeff, the great regents of the city of Amsterdam refused some mayors he appointed, he besieged Amsterdam. The siege provoked the wrath of the regents. William died of smallpox on November 6, 1650, leaving only a posthumous son, William III (*November 14, 1650). Since the Prince of Orange upon the death of William II, William III, was an infant, the regents used this opportunity to leave the stadtholdership vacant. This inaugurated the era in Dutch history that is known as the First Stadtholderless Period.[9] A quarrel about the education of the young prince arose between his mother and his grandmother Amalia (who outlived her husband by 28 years). Amalia wanted an education which was pointed at the resurgence of the House of Orange to power, but Mary wanted a pure English education. The Estates of Holland, under Jan de Witt and Cornelis de Graeff, meddled in the education and made William a "child of state" to be educated by the state. The doctrine used in this education was keeping William from the throne. William became indeed very docile to the wishes of the regents and the Estates.[8][9]

The Dutch Republic was attacked by France and England in 1672. The military function of stadtholder was no longer superfluous, and with the support of the Orangists, William was restored, and he became the stadtholder. William successfully repelled the invasion and seized royal power. He became more powerful than his predecessors from the Eighty Years' War.[8][9] In 1677, William married his cousin Mary Stuart, the daughter of the future king James II of England. In 1688, William embarked on a mission to depose his Catholic father-in-law from the thrones of England, Scotland and Ireland. He and his wife were crowned the King and Queen of England on April 11, 1689. With the accession to the thrones of the three kingdoms, he became one of the most powerful sovereigns in Europe, and the only one to defeat Louis XIV of France.[8] William III died childless after a riding accident on March 8, 1702, leaving the main male line of the House of Orange extinct, and leaving Scotland, England and Ireland to his sister-in-law Queen Anne.

The collateral house of Nassau: the four brothers of Willem I, prince of Orange: Jan (1536-1606), sitting, Hendrik (1550-74), Adolf (1540-68) and Lodewijk (1538-74), counts of Nassau.

The second stadtholderless era

The regents found that they had suffered under the powerful leadership of King William III and left the stadtholderate vacant for the second time. As William III died childless in 1702 the principality became a matter of dispute between Prince John William Friso of Nassau-Dietz of the Frisian Nassaus and King Frederick I of Prussia, who both claimed the title Prince of Orange. Both descended from Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange. The King of Prussia was his grandson through his mother, Countess Luise Henriette of Nassau. Frederick Henry in his will had appointed this line as successor in the case the main House of Orange-Nassau would die out. John William Friso was a great-grandson of Frederick Henry (through Countess Albertine Agnes of Nassau, another daughter) and was appointed heir in William III's will. The principality was captured by the forces of King Louis XIV of France under François Adhémar de Monteil, Count of Grignan, in the Franco-Dutch War in 1672, and again in August 1682. With the Treaty of Utrecht that ended the wars of Louis XIV, the territory was formally ceded to France by Frederick I in 1713.[2]:1 John William Friso drowned in 1711 in the Hollands Diep near Moerdijk, and he left his posthumously born son William IV, Prince of Orange. That son succeeded at that time his father as stadtholder in Friesland (as the stadtholderate had been hereditary in that province since 1664), and Groningen. William IV was proclaimed the stadtholder of Guelders, Overijssel, and Utrecht in 1722. When the French invaded Holland in 1747, William IV was appointed stadtholder in Holland and Zeeland also. The stadtholderate was made hereditary in both the male and the female lines in all provinces at the same time.[1] :148-151,170

The end of the stadtholdership

William IV died in 1751, leaving his three-year-old son, Willem V of Orange, as the stadtholder. Since Willem V was still a minor, the regents reigned for him. He developed to be an indecisive person, a character defect which would follow Willem V for his whole life. His marriage to Wilhelmina of Prussia relieved this defect to some degree. In 1787, Willem V survived an attempt to dispose him by the Patriots (democratic revolutionaries) after the Kingdom of Prussia intervened. When the French invaded Holland in 1795, Willem V was forced into exile, and he was never to return alive to Holland.[1]:228-229 [3]:vol5,289

After 1795, the House of Orange-Nassau faced a difficult period, surviving in exile at other European courts, especially those of Prussia and of England. In 1802 William V's son William VI unconditionally renounced the stadtholdership in return for a few territories from Napoleon Bonaparte (Treaty of Amiens), which was erected into the Principality of Nassau-Orange-Fulda.[10] Willem V died in 1806.

Dutch Royalty
House of
King William I


King William II
Prince Frederick
Princess Pauline
Princess Marianne


King William III
Prince Alexander
Prince Henry
Prince Ernest Casimir
Grand Duchess Sophie
Queen Louise
Prince William
Prince Frederick
Princess Marie
Princess Charlotte
Prince Albert
Princess Elisabeth
Princess Alexandrine
King William II


King William III
Prince Alexander
Prince Henry
Prince Ernest Casimir
Grand Duchess Sophie


Prince William
Prince Maurice
Prince Alexander
Queen Wilhelmina
Prince Charles Augustus
Princess Marie Alexandrine
Princess Anna Sophia
Princess Elisabeth Sybille
King William III


Prince William
Prince Maurice
Prince Alexander
Queen Wilhelmina


Queen Juliana
Queen Wilhelmina


Queen Juliana


Queen Beatrix
Princess Irene
Princess Margriet
Princess Christina
Queen Juliana


Queen Beatrix
Princess Irene
Princess Margriet
Princess Christina


King William-Alexander
Prince Friso
Prince Constantijn
Prince Carlos
Princess Margarita
Prince Jaime
Princess Carolina
Prince Maurits
Prince Bernhard
Prince Pieter-Christiaan
Prince Floris
Bernardo Guillermo
Nicolás Guillermo
Juliana Guillermo
Queen Beatrix


King William-Alexander
Prince Friso
Prince Constantijn


Princess Catharina-Amalia
Princess Alexia
Princess Ariane
Countess Luana
Countess Zaria
Countess Eloise
Count Claus-Casimir
Countess Leonore
King Willem-Alexander


Princess Catharina-Amalia
Princess Alexia
Princess Ariane

Lands and Titles

A noble's power was often based on his ownership of vast tracts of land and lucrative offices. It also helped that much of the lands that the House of Orange controlled sat under one of the commercial and mercantile centers of the world. Besides being sovereign over the principality of Orange, William the Silent and his heirs possessed these other estates, most enfeoffed to some other sovereign, either the King of France, the Habsburgs, or the States of the provinces of the Netherlands:

The Monarchy (since 1815)

A new spirit: the United Kingdom of the Netherlands

After a repressed Dutch rebel action, Prussian and Cossack troops drove out the French in 1813, with the support of the Patriots of 1785. A provisional government was formed, most of whose members had helped drive out William V 18 years earlier. However, they were realistic enough to realize that any new government would have to be headed by William V's son, William Frederick (William VI). All agreed that it would be better in the long term for the Dutch to restore William themselves rather than have him imposed by the allies.[1]:230

At the invitation of the provisional government, William Frederick returned to the Netherlands on November 30. This move was strongly supported by the United Kingdom, which sought ways to strengthen the Netherlands and deny future French aggressors easy access to the Low Countries' Channel ports. The provisional government offered William the crown. He refused, believing that a stadholdership would give him more power. Thus, on December 6, William proclaimed himself hereditary sovereign prince of the Netherlands—something between a kingship and a stadholdership. In 1814, he was awarded sovereignty over the Austrian Netherlands and the Prince-Bishopric of Liège as well. On March 15, 1815 with the support of the powers gathered at the Congress of Vienna, William proclaimed himself King William I. He was also made grand duke of Luxembourg, and the title 'Prince of Orange' was changed to 'Prince of Oranje'. The two countries remained separate despite sharing a common monarch. William had thus fulfilled the House of Orange's three-century quest to unite the Low Countries.[3]:vol5,398

As king of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands, William tried to establish one common culture. This provoked resistance in the southern parts of the country, which had been culturally separate from the north since 1581. He was considered an enlightened despot.[3]:vol5,399

The Prince of Orange held rights to Nassau lands (Dillenburg, Dietz, Beilstein, Hadamar, Siegen) in central Germany. On the other hand the King of Prussia, Frederick William III—brother-in-law and first cousin of William I, had beginning from 1813 managed to establish his rule in Luxembourg, which he regarded as his inheritance from Anne, Duchess of Luxembourg who had died over three centuries earlier. At the Congress of Vienna, the two brothers-in-law agreed to a trade—Frederick William received William I's ancestral lands while William I received Luxembourg. Both got what was geographically nearer to their center of power.[3]:vol5,392

In 1830, most of the southern portion of William's realm—the former Austrian Netherlands and Prince-Bishopric—declared independence as Belgium. William fought a disastrous war until 1839 when he was forced to settle for peace. With his realm halved, he decided to abdicate in 1840 in favour of his son, William II. Although William II shared his father's conservative inclinations, in 1848 he accepted an amended constitution that significantly curbed his own authority and transferred the real power to the States General. He took this step to prevent the Revolution of 1848 from spreading to his country.[3]:vol5,455-463

William III and the threat of extinction

William II died in 1849. He was succeeded by his son, William III. A rather conservative, even reactionary man, William III was sharply opposed to the new 1848 constitution. He continually tried to form governments that were dependent on his support, even though it was prohibitively difficult for a government to stay in office against the will of Parliament. In 1868, he tried to sell Luxembourg to France, which was the source of a quarrel between Prussia and France.[3]:vol5,483

William III had a rather unhappy marriage with Sophie of Württemberg, and his heirs died young. This raised the possibility of the extinction of the House of Orange-Nassau. After the death of Queen Sophie in 1877, William remarried, to Emma of Waldeck and Pyrmont in 1879. One year later, Queen Emma gave birth to their daughter and the royal heiress, Wilhelmina.[3]:vol5,497-498

A modern monarchy

Wilhelmina was queen of the Netherlands for 58 years, from 1890 to 1948. Because she was only 10 years old in 1890, her mother, Emma of Waldeck and Pyrmont, was the regent until Wilhelmina's 18th birthday in 1898. Since females were not allowed to hold power in Luxembourg, due to Salic law, Luxembourg passed to the House of Nassau-Weilburg, a collateral line to the House of Orange-Nassau. For a time, it appeared that the Dutch royal family would die with Wilhelmina. Her half-brother, Prince Alexander, had died in 1884, and no royal babies were born from then until Wilhemina gave birth to her only child, Juliana, in 1909. The Dutch royal house remained quite small until the latter 1930s and the early 1940s, during which Juliana gave birth to four daughters. Although the House of Orange died out in its male line with the death of Queen Wilhelmina, the name "Orange" continues to be used by the Dutch royalty [3]:vol5,507-508 and as evidenced in many patriotic songs, such as "Oranje boven".

The Netherlands remained neutral in World War I, during her reign, and the country was not invaded by Germany, as neighboring Belgium was.[11]

Nevertheless, Queen Wilhelmina became a symbol of the Dutch resistance during World War II. The moral authority of the Monarchy was restored because of her rule. After 58 years on the throne as the Queen, Wilhelmina decided to abdicate in favour of her daughter, Juliana. Juliana had the reputation of making the monarchy less "aloof", and under her reign the Monarchy became known as the "cycling monarchy". Members of the royal family were often seen bicycling through the cities and the countryside under Juliana.[11]

A royal marriage policy quarrel occurred starting in 1966 when Juliana's eldest daughter, the future Queen Beatrix, decided to marry Claus von Amsberg, a German diplomat. The marriage of a member of the royal family to a German was quite controversial in the Netherlands, which had suffered under Nazi German occupation in 1940–45. This reluctance to accept a German consort probably was exacerbated by von Amsberg's former membership in the Hitler Youth under the Nazi regime in his native country, and also his following service in the German Wehrmacht. Beatrix needed permission from the government to marry anyone if she wanted to remain heiress to the throne, but after some argument, it was granted. As the years went by, Prince Claus was fully accepted by the Dutch people. In time, he became one of the most popular members of the Dutch monarchy, and his death in 2002 was widely mourned.[11]

On April 30, 1980, Queen Juliana abdicated in favor of her daughter, Beatrix. In the early years of the twenty-first century, the Dutch monarchy remained popular with a large part of the population. Beatrix's eldest son, Willem-Alexander, was born on April 27, 1967; the first immediate male heir to the Dutch throne since the death of his great-grandfather, Prince Alexander, in 1884. Willem-Alexander married Máxima Zorreguieta, an Argentine banker, in 2002; the first commoner to ever marry an heir apparent to the Dutch throne. They are parents of three daughters: Catharina-Amalia, Alexia, and Ariane. After a long struggle with neurological illness, Queen Juliana died on March 20, 2004, and her husband, Prince Bernhard, died on December 1 of that same year.[11]

Upon Beatrix's abdication on April 30, 2013, the Prince of Orange was inaugurated as King Willem-Alexander, becoming the Netherlands' first male ruler since 1890. His eldest daughter, Catharina-Amalia, as heiress apparent to the throne, became Princess of Orange in her own right.[11]

Net Worth

Unlike other royal houses, there has always been a separation in the Netherlands between what was owned by the state and used by the House of Orange in their offices as monarch, or previously, stadtholder, and the personal investments and fortune of the House of Orange.

The Royal Family's biggest wealth advantage, is that they don't need to live off their wealth for their day-to-day needs and job functions. As monarch, the King or Queen has use of, but not ownership of, the Huis ten Bosch as a residence and Noordeinde Palace as a work palace. In addition the Royal Palace of Amsterdam is also at the disposal of the monarch (although it is only used for state visits and is open to the public when not in use for that purpose), as is Soestdijk Palace (which is open to the public and not in official use at all at this time).[12] The crown jewels, comprising the crown, orb and sceptre, Sword of State, royal banner, and ermine mantle have been placed in the Crown Property Trust. The trust also holds the items used on ceremonial occasions, such as the carriages, table silver, and dinner services. Placing these goods in the hands of a trust ensures that they will remain at the disposal of the monarch in perpetuity.[13] Members of the Royal House also receive stipends in order to carry out their duties which are listed here. The Royal House is also exempt from income, inheritance, and personal tax.[14]

The House of Orange has long had the reputation of being one of the wealthier royal houses in the world, largely due to their business investments. They are rumored to have a large stake in Royal Dutch Shell. Other significant shares are supposed to be in the Philips Electronics company (known in the Netherlands as Royal Philips), KLM-Royal Dutch Airlines, and the Holland-America Line ( cruise ships)- How significant is a matter of conjecture, as their private finances, unlike their public stipends as monarch, are not open to scrutiny. The holdings are spread among real estate (include Castle Drakensteyn in Holland and a villa in Tuscany), investments, and commercial companies.[15] It should be noted that given Royal Dutch Shell's 2012 earnings, revenue, and equity, even a few percent stake in this company alone would exceed the estimates of earnings below.

Forbes magazine is the most consistent in estimating the net worth of heads of state. As late as 2001, the fortune of the Royal Family was estimated by various sources (Forbes magazine) at $3.2 billion. Most of the wealth was reported to come from the family's longstanding stake in the Royal Dutch/Shell Group. At one time, the Oranges reportedly owned as much as 25% of the oil company; their stake is in 2001 was estimated at a minimum of 2%, worth $2.7 billion on the May 21 cutoff date for the Billionaires issue. The family also was estimated to have a 1% stake in financial services firm ABN-AMRO.[16][17]

The fortune seems to have been hit by declines in real estate and equities after 2008. They were also rumored to have lost up to $100 million when Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme collapsed, though the royal house denies the allegations.[18] In 2009, Forbes estimated her wealth at US$300 million.[19] This could also have been due to splitting the fortune between Queen Beatrix and her 3 sisters, as there is no right of the eldest to inherit the whole property. A surge in export revenue, recovery in real estate and strong stock market have helped steady royal family’s fortunes, but uncertainty over the new government and future austerity measures needed to bring budget deficits in line may dampen future prospects. In July 2010, Forbes magazine estimated her net worth at $200 million [15][20] This estimate was repeated in April 2011.[21]

Stadtholderate under the House of Orange-Nassau

Reign start
Reign end
William I
(1533-04-24)24 April 1533 – 10 July 1584(1584-07-10) (aged 51) 1559 1584 Stadtholder[22] Orange-Nassau William, Prince of Orange
  • Prince of Orange
(1567-11-14)14 November 1567 – 23 April 1625(1625-04-23) (aged 57) 1585 1625 Stadtholder,[23] son of William I Orange-Nassau
Frederick Henry
  • Prince of Orange
(1584-01-29)29 January 1584 – 14 March 1647(1647-03-14) (aged 63) 1625 1647 Stadtholder,[24] son of William I Orange-Nassau
William II
  • Prince of Orange
(1626-05-27)27 May 1626 – 6 November 1650(1650-11-06) (aged 24) 14 March 1647 6 November 1650 Stadtholder,[25] son of Frederick Henry Orange-Nassau
William III
  • Prince of Orange
(1650-11-04)4 November 1650 – 8 March 1702(1702-03-08) (aged 51) 4 July 1672 8 March 1702 Stadtholder,[26] son of William II[27] Orange-Nassau
William IV
  • Prince of Orange
(1711-09-01)1 September 1711 – 22 October 1751(1751-10-22) (aged 40) 1 September 1711 (under the regency of Marie Louise until 1731) 22 October 1751 Hereditary Stadtholder of the United Netherlands,[28] son of John William Friso Orange-Nassau
William V
  • Prince of Orange
(1748-03-08)8 March 1748 – 9 April 1806(1806-04-09) (aged 58) 22 October 1751 9 April 1806 Hereditary Stadtholder of the United Netherlands, son of William IV, succeeded by his son King William I (-> Principality of the Netherlands (1813 - 1815) Orange-Nassau

Stadtholderate under the House of Nassau[29]

Reign start
Reign end
John VI
  • Jan de Oude (John the Elder)
(1536-11-22)22 November 1536 – 8 October 1606(1606-10-08) (aged 69) 1578 1581 Stadtholder,[30] brother of William I Nassau
William Louis
  • Us Heit (Our Father)
(1560-03-13)13 March 1560 – 31 May 1620(1620-05-31) (aged 60) 1584 1620 Stadtholder,[31] son of John VI Nassau
Ernest Casimir I
(1573-12-22)22 December 1573 – 2 June 1632(1632-06-02) (aged 58) 1620 1632 Stadtholder,[32] son of John VI Nassau
Henry Casimir I
(1612-01-21)21 January 1612 – 13 July 1640(1640-07-13) (aged 28) 1632 1640 Stadtholder,[33] son of Ernest Casimir I Nassau
William Frederick
(1613-08-07)7 August 1613 – 31 October 1664(1664-10-31) (aged 51) 1640 1664 Stadtholder,[34] son of Ernest Casimir I Nassau
Henry Casimir II
(1657-01-18)18 January 1657 – 25 March 1696(1696-03-25) (aged 39) 18 January 1664 25 March 1696 Hereditary Stadtholder,[35] son of William Frederick Nassau
John William Friso
(1687-08-04)4 August 1687 – 14 July 1711(1711-07-14) (aged 23) 25 March 1696 14 July 1711 Hereditary Stadtholder,[36] son of Henry Casimir II, succeeded by his son William IV of Orange-Nassau, Hereditary Stadtholder of the United Netherlands (-> Stadtholderate under the House of Orange-Nassau Nassau, Orange-Nassau

Principality of the Netherlands (1813-1815)

Reign start
Reign end
William I
(1772-08-24)24 August 1772 – 12 December 1843(1843-12-12) (aged 71) 6 December 1813 16 March 1815 Raised Netherlands to status of kingdom in 1815, son of Stadtholder William V Orange-Nassau William I of the Netherlands

Kingdom of the Netherlands (1815–present)

Reign start
Reign end
William I
(1772-08-24)24 August 1772 – 12 December 1843(1843-12-12) (aged 71) 16 March 1815 7 October 1840 Son of the last Stadtholder William V Orange-Nassau William I of the Netherlands
William II
(1792-12-06)6 December 1792 – 17 March 1849(1849-03-17) (aged 56) 7 October 1840 17 March 1849 Son of William I Orange-Nassau William II of the Netherlands
William III
(1817-02-17)17 February 1817 – 23 November 1890(1890-11-23) (aged 73) 17 March 1849 23 November 1890 Son of William II Orange-Nassau William III of the Netherlands
(1880-08-31)31 August 1880 – 28 November 1962(1962-11-28) (aged 82) 23 November 1890 4 September 1948 Daughter of William III Orange-Nassau Wilhelmina of the Netherlands
(1909-04-30)30 April 1909 – 20 March 2004(2004-03-20) (aged 94) 4 September 1948 30 April 1980 Daughter of Wilhelmina Orange-Nassau (House of Mecklenburg) Juliana of the Netherlands
(1938-01-31) 31 January 1938 30 April 1980 30 April 2013 Daughter of Juliana Orange-Nassau (House of Lippe) Beatrix of the Netherlands
(1967-04-27) 27 April 1967 30 April 2013 Son of Beatrix Orange-Nassau (House of Amsberg) William-Alexander

The Royal Family and the Royal House

A distinction is made in the Netherlands between the royal family and the Royal House.

The royal family is the Orange-Nassau family.

However, not every member of the family is also a member of the Royal House. By Act of Parliament, the members of the Royal House are:[11]

  • the monarch (King or Queen);
  • the former monarch (on abdication);
  • the members of the royal family in the line of succession to the throne, limited to the second degree of sanguinity reckoned from the reigning monarch;
  • H.R.H Princess Margriet of the Netherlands, (for whom an exception was made);
  • the spouses of the above.

Members of the Royal House lose their membership and designation as prince or princess of the Netherlands if they lose the membership of the Royal House on the succession of a new monarch (not being in the second degree of sanguinity to the monarch anymore), or marry without the consent of the Dutch Parliament. For example, this happened with Prince Friso in 2004, when he married Mabel Wisse Smit. This is written down in the law of membership of the Royal House, 2002. [37]

Family Tree

The House of Nassau is traceable to the 10th century.

The following family tree is compiled from WorldHeritage and the reference cited in the note[38]

Dudo-Henry of Laurenburg
(German: Dudo-Heinrich)
(ca. 1060 – ca. 1123)
was Count of Laurenburg in 1093

Robert I of Nassau
(German: Ruprecht)
(ca. 1090 – ca. 1154)
was from 1123
co-Count of Laurenburg
later title himself
1st Count of Nassau

Arnold I of Laurenburg
(died ca. 1148)

Robert II (German: Ruprecht)
Count of Laurenburg
(1154-1158)(died ca. 1159)

Walram I of Nassau
(French: Valéran)
(ca. 1146–1198)
was the first
(legally titled)
Count of Nassau

Henry (Heinrich) I
co-Count of Nassau
(1160 - August 1167)

Robert III, the Bellicose
German: Ruprecht der Streitbare
(died 1191)
co-Count of Nassau (1160-1191)

Henry (Heinrich) II, the Rich
Count of Nassau

Robert (Ruprecht) IV
Count of Nassau
Teutonic Knight

(d after 3 December 1240)
Canon of Mainz Cathedral
Walram II of Nassau
(ca. 1220 - 1276)
the WALRAMIAN Branch
present-day rulers of Luxembourg
descend from him

Robert (Ruprecht) V
d. before 1247
Teutonic Knight (1230–1240)

Otto I of Nassau
(reigned ca. 1247 - 1290)
the OTTONIAN branch
the present-day rulers of
the Netherlands descend from him

(ca. 1230 - 1309)
Bishop-Elect of Utrecht (1267–1290)
(ca. 1255-1298)
King of Germany
(1292 - 1298)

(d. 1343)
Count of Nassau in Siegen

(d. 7 June 1334)
Count of Nassau in Hadamar
extinct 1394

(d. 1328)
Count Nassau in Dillenburg

(+ 1304)

Gerlach I, Count of Nassau-Wiesbaden
(bef 1288 +1361)

Walram III
Count of Nassau-Wiesbaden
Otto II
(c. 1305 – 1330/1331)
Count of Nassau-Dillenburg

Count of Nassau-Beilstein
ext. 1561

(1307 +1370)
Count of Nassau in
ext 1605
John I
(1309 +1371)
Count of Nassau-Weilburg

Rupert 'the Bellicose'
(c. 1340 +1390)
Count of Nassau-Sonnenberg
John I
(1340 +1416)
Count of Nassau-Dillenburg

Philip I
1368 +1429)
Count of Nassau in Weilburg,Saarbrücken, etc.

(1362 +1420)
Count of Nassau-Dillenburg-Dietz

John II "The Elder"
( +1443)

Engelbert I
(c. 1370/80 +1442)
Count of Nassau, Baron of Breda
founder of the Netherlands Nassaus

John III "The Younger"
Count of Nassau in Siegen
Philip II
(1418 +1492)
Count of Nassau-Weilburg

John II
(1423 +1472)
Count of Nassau-Saarbrücken
ext. 1574

John IV (Jan)
(1410, +1475)
Count of Nassau-Dillenburg-Dietz

Henry II
(1414 +1450)
Count of Nassau-Dillenburg
John III
(1441 +1480)
Count of Nassau-Weilburg

Count of Nassau-Weilburg
Engelbert II the Valorious
(1451 +1504)
Count of Nassau and Vianden, Baron of Breda(fr), Lek, Diest, Roosendaal en Nispen and Wouw

John V
(1455 +1516)
Count of Nassau in Dillenburg,Siegen,Hadamar,Herborn,Vianden,Dietz

From here descends the House of Nassau-Weilburg
and the Grand Ducal Family of Luxembourg
(see below also)'
From here descends the House of Orange-Nassau (see below also)

A detailed family tree can be found here.[39] A detailed family tree of the House of Orange-Nassau from the 15th century can be found on the Dutch WorldHeritage at Dutch monarchs family tree.

A summary family tree of the House of Orange-Nassau [40] from the joining of the house of Nassau-Breda/Dillenburg and the House of Châlon-Arlay-Orange to the end of the Dutch Republic is shown below. The family spawned many famous statesmen and generals, including two of the acknowledged "first captains of their age", Maurice of Nassau and the Marshal de Turenne.

John V Count of Nassau-Dietz, 1455-1516, Stadholder of Gelderland

John IV Prince of Orange, 1475-1502

William the Rich Count of Nassau-Dillenburg 1487- 1559

Henry III Count of Nassau-Breda 1483-1538

Claudia of Châlon 1498–1521
Philibert of Châlon, Prince of Orange, 1502-1530
William I "the Silent" 1533-1584, Prince of Orange 1544, Stadholder of Holland, Zealand & Utrecht, assassinated by Spanish agent

Louis 1538–1574 died in battle against Spain
Adolf 1540–1568, died in battle against Spain
Henry 1550-1574 died in battle against Spain
John VI "the Elder" 1535–1606, Stadholder of Gelderland
René of Châlon 1519–1544, Prince of Orange,1521

Philip William 1554–1618, Prince of Orange, 1584

Maurice 1567–1625, Prince of Orange,1618, Stadholder of Holland, Zealand, Utrecht, etc.

Frederick Henry 1584–1647, Prince of Orange, 1625, Stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland, & etc.

Louise Juliana 1576-1644 married Frederick IV Elector Palatine from whom the British royal family descends
Elisabeth 1577-1642 married Henri de La Tour d'Auvergne, Duke of Bouillon
Justinus van Nassau (1559 – 1631)
Admiral & General, Gov of Breda 1601-1625
William Louis "Us Heit", Count of Nassau-Dillenburg 1560–1620, Stadtholder of Friesland, Groningen, and Drenthe
Ernst Casimir, Count of Nassau-Dietz 1573–1632, Stadtholder of Friesland, Groningen, and Drenthe
John VII "the Middle", Count of Nassau-Siegen, 1561–1623
William of Nassau (1601–1627), lord of de Lek
Louis of Nassau, Lord of De Lek and Beverweerd (1602– 1665)
Frederick V, Elector Palatine, 1610 & King of Bohemia 1619-21
Henri de la Tour d'Auvergne, Vicomte de Turenne & Marshal-General of France 1611-1675
Charles I, King of England 1625-1649
Charles II
William II 1626-1650,Prince of Orange & Stadholder of Holland, Zealand, etc, 1647

Mary,Princess Royal

James II

Louise Henriette (1627-1667) married Frederick William, Elector of Brandenburg descendants were Kings of Prussia and later German Emperors
Frederick Nassau de Zuylestein (1608–1672)
general of the army, descendants were the Earls of Rochford in England
Albertine Agnes(1634– 1696)
William Frederick,1613-1664 Count later Prince of Nassau-Dietz,Stadtholder of Friesland, Groningen and Drenthe
Henry Casimir I Count of Nassau-Dietz,1612–1640,Stadtholder of Friesland, Groningen and Drenthe
John Maurice "the Brazilian", Prince of Nassau-Siegen,1604–1679,gov. of Dutch Brazil, Field Marshal of the Dutch Army
William III 1650-1702,Prince of Orange 1650, Stadholder of Holland, Zealand, etc, 1672, King of England, 1689

Mary II of England

ceded claims to the lands of Orange to France in 1713, but kept right to use the title in its German form: currently
Henry Casimir II, Prince of Nassau-Dietz,1657-1696,Stadtholder of Friesland, Groningen and Drenthe
John William Friso 1687-1711, appointed heir by William III, Prince of Orange, 1702, Stadholder of Friesland 1696

Anne, Princess Royal of England
William IV 1711–1751, Prince of Orange, Stadholder of Holland, Zealand, etc. 1747

Wilhelmina of Prussia
William V 1748–1806, Prince of Orange,1751 Stadholder of Holland, Zealand, etc. 1751-1795

Carolina 1743–1787
Charles Christian, Prince of Nassau-Weilburg, 1735-1788
Princess Louise of Orange-Nassau, 1770– 1819 married Karl, Hereditary Prince of Braunschweig(-Wolfenbuttel), son of Princess Augusta of Great Britain
Prince Frederick of Orange-Nassau, 1774–1799 an Austrian General, no issue
William VI, Fürst of Nassau-Orange-Fulda 1803–1806, Fürst of Nassau-Orange, Prince of Orange 1806
William I, King of the Netherlands 1815

Frederick William, Prince of Nassau-Weilburg, 1768-1816
Royal Family of the Netherlands, see next table below
William, Duke of Nassau, 1792-1839
Adolphe 1817–1905, Duke of Nassau 1839-1866,Grand Duke of Luxembourg, 1890-1905
Grand Ducal Family of Luxembourg

The house of Orange-Nassau was relatively unlucky in establishing a hereditary dynasty in an age that favoured hereditary rule. The

Royal house
House of Orange-Nassau
Title last held by
House of Bonaparte
as ruling house of the Kingdom of Holland
Ruling house of the Netherlands
Succeeded by

Cadet branch of
House of Mecklenburg
House of Lippe
House of Amsberg
2013 – present
Title last held by
House of Habsburg-Lorraine
as ruling house of the Duchy of Luxembourg
Ruling house of Luxembourg
Succeeded by
House of Nassau-Weilburg
Title last held by
House of Châlon-Orange
as ruling house of the Principality of Orange
Ruling house of the Principality of Orange
Succeeded by
Title last held by
House of Habsburg
as ruling house of the Spanish Netherlands
Stadtholder of the Dutch Republic
Succeeded by
Batavian Republic
Title last held by
House of Stuart
as ruling house of the Kingdom of England
Ruling house of England
Succeeded by
House of Stuart
Title last held by
House of Stuart
as ruling house of the Kingdom of Scotland
Ruling house of Scotland
Succeeded by
House of Stuart
  • Dutch Royal House – official website

External links

  • Herbert H. Rowen, The princes of Orange: the stadholders in the Dutch Republic. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1988.
  • John Lothrop Motley, "The Rise of the Dutch Republic". New York: Harper & Brothers, 1855.
  • John Lothrop Motley, "History of the United Netherlands from the Death of William the Silent to the Synod of Dort". London: John Murray, 1860.
  • John Lothrop Motley, "The Life and Death of John of Barenvelt". New York & London: Harper and Brothers Publishing, 1900.
  • Petrus Johannes Blok, "History of the people of the Netherlands". New York: G. P. Putnam's sons, 1898.
  • Jonathan I. Israel, "The Dutch Republic: Its Rise, Greatness, and Fall, 1477–1806" Oxford University Press, 1995. ISBN 0-19-820734-4
  • Pieter Geyl, "Orange and Stuart 1641-1672" Phoenix Press, 2002>


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Rowen, Herbert H. (1988). The princes of Orange: the stadholders in the Dutch Republic. Cambridge University Press. 
  2. ^ a b c Grew, Marion Ethel (1947). The House of Orange. 36 Essex Street, Strand, London W.C.2: Methuen & Co. Ltd. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Blok, Petrus Johannes (1898). History of the people of the Netherlands. New York: G. P. Putnam's sons. 
  4. ^ a b c Israel, Jonathan I. (1995). The Dutch Republic: Its Rise, Greatness and Fall, 1477-1806. Oxford University Press.  
  5. ^ Delff, Willem Jacobsz. "De Nassauische Cavalcade". From an engraving on exhibit in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. Retrieved 26 April 2011. 
  6. ^ Motley, John Lothrop (1855). The Rise of the Dutch Republic. Harper & Brothers. 
  7. ^ a b Motley, John Lothrop (1860). History of the United Netherlands from the Death of William the Silent to the Synod of Dort. London: John Murray. 
  8. ^ a b c d Geyl, Pieter (2002). Orange and Stuart 1641-1672. Arnold Pomerans (trans.) (reprint ed.). Phoenix. 
  9. ^ a b c Rowen, Herbert H. (1978). John de Witt, grand pensionary of Holland, 1625-1672. Princeton University Press. 
  10. ^ He acquired Fulda, Corvey, Weingarten and Dortmund. He lost the possessions again after changing sides from France to Prussia in 1806. Cf. J. and A. Romein 'Erflaters van onze beschaving', Querido, 1979
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "The Official Website of the Dutch Royal House in English". Retrieved 26 April 2011. 
  12. ^ (Dutch)Wet op het Kroondomein
  13. ^ "Dutch Royal House - Movable Property". Archived from the original on 29 September 2007. Retrieved 2008-06-29. 
  14. ^ (Dutch) Constitution for the Kingdom of the Netherlands Article 40 (Dutch edition of WikiSource)
  15. ^ a b "In Pictures: The World's Richest Royals." Forbes. 7 July 2010. 30 September 2010.
  16. ^ " How Much Is Queen Elizabeth Worth?." Forbes 26 June 2001.
  17. ^ " Royal Flush." Forbes 4 March 2002.
  18. ^ " Monarchs and the Madoff Scandal." Forbes. 17 June 2009.
  19. ^ "In Pictures: The World's Richest Royals". 30 August 2007. Retrieved 2010-03-05. 
  20. ^ "Queen Beatrix Net Worth." Forbes 7 July 2010.
  21. ^ "Report: The World's Richest Royals." Forbes. April 29, 2011.
  22. ^ Stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland and Utrecht (employed by Philip II: 1559 – 1567, employed by the States General: 1572 – 1584), Stadtholder of Friesland and Overijssel (1580 – 1584)
  23. ^ Stadtholder of Holland and Zeeland (1585 – 1625), Utrecht, Guelders and Overijssel (1590 – 1625), Groningen (1620 – 1625)
  24. ^ Stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Guelders, and Overijssel (1620 – 1625), Groningen and Drenthe (1640 - 1647)
  25. ^ Stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Guelders, Groningen, Drenthe and Overijssel
  26. ^ Stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht and Overijssel (1672 - 1702), Guelders (1675 - 1702), Drenthe (1696 - 1702)
  27. ^ William III invaded - on invitation - England and became king of England, Scotland and Ireland
  28. ^ Hereditary Stadtholder of Friesland (1711 – 1747), Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht and Overijssel (April/May 1747 – November 1747), Stadtholder of Groningen (1718 – 1747), Guelders and Drenthe (1722 – 1747), was formally voted the first Hereditary Stadtholder of the United Provinces (1747 - 1751)
  29. ^ Stadtholders of Friesland, Groningen and Drenthe, became the direct male line ancestor of the Republic's hereditary Stadtholders, and later of the kings of the Netherlands.
  30. ^ Stadtholder of Guelders (under Philip II), architect of the Union of Utrecht
  31. ^ Stadtholder of Friesland (1584 – 1620), Groningen (1594 – 1620) and Drenthe (1596 – 1620)
  32. ^ Stadtholder of Friesland (1620 - 1632), Groningen and Drenthe (1625 - 1632)
  33. ^ Stadtholder of Friesland (1632 - 1640), Groningen and Drenthe (1632 - 1640)
  34. ^ Stadtholder of Friesland (1640 - 1664), Groningen and Drenthe (1650 - 1664)
  35. ^ In 1675 the State of Friesland voted to make the Stadtholdership hereditary in the house of Nassau-Dietz
  36. ^ Hereditary Stadtholder of Friesland (1707 - 1711) and Griningen (1708 - 1711)
  37. ^
  38. ^ Louda, Jiri; Maclagan, Michael (December 12, 1988), "Netherlands and Luxembourg, Table 33", Heraldry of the Royal Families of Europe (1st Ed.(U.S.) edition ed.), Clarkson N. Potter, Inc.; 
  39. ^ Nassau index page. (2003-01-13). Retrieved on 2013-09-05.
  40. ^ "Official Website of the Dutch Royal House". Rijksvoorlichtingsdienst (RVD), The Hague, the Netherlands. Retrieved 2013-04-30. 
  41. ^ a b c Haley, K(enneth) H(arold) D(obson) (1972). The Dutch in the Seventeenth Century. Thames and Hudson. pp. 75–83.  
  42. ^ Rietstap, Johannes Baptist (1875). Handboek der Wapenkunde. the Netherlands: Theod. Bom. p. 348. Prins FREDERIK: Het koninklijke wapen, in 't shcildhoofd gebroken door een rooden barensteel, de middelste hanger beladen met een regtopstaanden goud pijl. 
  43. ^ Junius, J.H. (1894). Heraldiek. the Netherlands: Frederik Muller. p. 151. tweede oon voert het koninklijk wapen gebroken door een barensteel van drie stukken met een zilveren pijl. 
  44. ^ Junius, J.H. (1894). Heraldiek. the Netherlands: Frederik Muller. p. 151. het wapen afgebeeld van de oudste dochter van den Koning der Nederlanden. De barensteel is van keel en beladen met een gouden koningskroon. 
  45. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Rietstap, Johannes Baptist (2003). Armorial general. vol.2. Genealogical Publishing Co. p. 297.  
  46. ^ Anonymous. "Wapenbord van Prins Maurits met het devies van de Engelse orde van de Kouseband". Exhibit of a painted woodcut of Maurice's Arms encircled by the Order of the Garter in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. Retrieved 26 April 2011. 
  47. ^ Rietstap, Johannes Baptist (1861). Armorial général, contenant la description des armoiries des familles nobles et patriciennes de l'Europe: précédé d'un dictionnaire des termes du blason. G.B. van Goor. p. 746. a la exception de celebre prince Maurice qui portai les armes ... 
  48. ^ Post, Pieter (1651). """Coat of Arms as depicted in "Begraeffenisse van syne hoogheyt Frederick Hendrick. engraving, in the collection of. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. Retrieved 1 June 2011. 
  49. ^ a b c Rietstap, Johannes Baptist (1861). Armorial général, contenant la description des armoiries des familles nobles et patriciennes de l'Europe: précédé d'un dictionnaire des termes du blason. G.B. van Goor. p. 746. 
  50. ^ a b c ""Coat of Arms as depicted on the "Familiegraf van de Oranje-Nassau's in de Grote of Jacobijnerkerk te Leeuwarden"". Familiegraf van de Oranje-Nassau's in de Grote of Jacobijnerkerk te Leeuwarden. Retrieved 9 November 2011. 
  51. ^ "Wapens van leden van het Koninklijk Huis". Coats of Arms of the Dutch Royal Family, Website of the Dutch Monarchy, the Hague. Rijksvoorlichtingsdienst (RVD), the Hague, the Netherlands. Retrieved 30 April 2012. Het wapen van het Koninkrijk der Nederlanden (Rijkswapen) en dat van de Koningen der Nederlanden (Koninklijk wapen) is vanaf de oprichting van het Koninkrijk in 1815 identiek. Het Wapen werd in 1907 gewijzigd en laatstelijk vastgesteld bij Koninklijk Besluit van 23 april 1980, nr. 3 (stb. 206) bij de troonsaanvaarding van Koningin Beatrix. De beschrijving van het wapenschild in het eerste artikel is dwingend voorgeschreven, de in het tweede en derde artikel beschreven uitwendige versierselen zijn facultatief. In de praktijk wordt de basisuitvoering van het wapen wel het Klein Rijkswapen genoemd. Het Koninklijk Wapen wordt sinds 1907 gekenmerkt door een gouden klimmende leeuw met gravenkroon. De blauwe achtergrond (het veld) is bezaaid met verticale gouden blokjes. De term bezaaid geeft in de heraldiek aan dat het aantal niet vaststaat, waardoor er ook een aantal niet compleet zijn afgebeeld. Het wapenschild wordt gehouden door twee leeuwen die in profiel zijn afgebeeld. Op het wapenschild is een Koningskroon geplaatst. Op een lint dat onder het wapenschild bevestigd is, staat de spreuk 'Je Maintiendrai'. Bij Koninklijk Besluit van 10 juli 1907 (Stb. 181) werd het Koninklijk Wapen, tevens Rijkswapen, aangepast. De leeuw in het schild en de schildhoudende leeuwen droegen vóór die tijd alle drie de Koninklijke kroon, maar raakten deze kwijt nu de toegevoegde purperen hermelijn gevoerde mantel, gedekt door een purperen baldakijn, een Koningskroon ging dragen. De schildhouders waren vóór 1907 bovendien aanziend in plaats van en profiel. 
  52. ^ Rietstap, Johannes Baptist (1875). Handboek der Wapenkunde. the Netherlands: Theod. Bom. pp. 347–348. De PRINS VAN ORANJE Gevierendeeld: 1 en 4 het koninklijke wapen; 2 en 3 nogmaals gevierendeeld van rood met een gouden schuinbalk, en van goud met een blaauwen, rood-gesnoerden en beslagen jagthoorn, benevens een hartschildje op het snijpunt, beladen met vijf gouden vakken grenzende aan vier blaauewe. Overigens geheel als het koninklijke wapen. 
  53. ^ Junius, J.H. (1894). Heraldiek. the Netherlands: Frederik Muller. p. 151. In Nederland voert de PRINS VAN ORANJE het koninklijk wapen gekwartileerd met dat van ORANJE-CHALONS. 
  54. ^ Rietstap, Johannes Baptist (1875). Handboek der Wapenkunde. the Netherlands: Theod. Bom. p. 348. De ERFPRINS VAN ORANJE, casu quo: Gelijk de Prins van Oranje, met een rooden barensteel over de beide eerste kwartieren heen. 
  55. ^ Junius, J.H. (1894). Heraldiek. the Netherlands: Frederik Muller. p. 151. ...behalve de erfprins die 's vaders wapen met een barensteel breekt. Bij ons vorstenhuis is die barenstell altijk van keel. 
  56. ^ "Wapens van leden van het Koninklijk Huis". Coats of Arms of the Dutch Royal Family, Website of the Dutch Monarchy, the Hague. Rijksvoorlichtingsdienst (RVD), the Hague, the Netherlands. Retrieved 30 April 2012. 
  57. ^ Klaas. "Maurits van Vollenhoven". Article on Maurits van Vollenhoven, 18-09-2008 10:28. Retrieved 4 April 2013. 
  58. ^ a b c "Official Website of the Dutch Royal House". Retrieved 30 April 2013. 
  59. ^ "Official Website of the Dutch Royal House". Retrieved 30 April 2013.  & [2]


In Robert A. Heinlein's 1956 science fiction novel Double Star, the House of Orange reigns over - but does not rule over - an empire of humanity that spans the entire Solar System.

  • Crypt of the House of Orange-Nassau in Delft
  • Burial Monument to William the Silent
  • Crypt of the Frisian Nassaus in Leeuwarden
  • Crypt of the Nassau-LaLecqs in Ouderkerk aan den IJssel
  • Original Crypt of Netherland Nassaus in Breda
  • Crypt of Engelbrecht II van Nassau in Breda
  • Crypt of the Nassau-Bergens in Bergen
  • Crypt of the Nassau-Siegens in Siegen

Traditionally, members of the Nassau family were buried in Breda, but as that city was in Spanish hands when William died, he was buried in a new crypt the New Church in Delft. His monument on his tomb was originally very modest, but it was replaced in 1623 by a new one, made by Hendrik de Keyser and his son Pieter. Since then, most of the members of the House of Orange-Nassau, including all Dutch monarchs have been buried in the same church. His great-grandson William the third, King of England and Scotland and Stadtholder in the Netherlands, was buried in Westminster Abbey

For further about the Dutch Monarchy and the Dutch Royal House:

See also

The monograms of some members of the Royal Family;

The monograms of the ruling kings or queens:

As most Royal Families, the Dutch Royal Family also makes use of royal monograms. Some examples from the Royal Family's website are:[11]


The standards of former members of the Royal Family:

The standards of the sisters of former Queen, now Princess Beatrix and their children:

The standards of the current sons of the former Queen, now Princess Beatrix and their wives and the Queen's husband:

The standards of the ruling king or queen:

The Dutch Royal Family also makes extensive use of royal standards that are based on their coats of arms, but not identical to them (as the British Royal Family does). Some examples from the Royal Family's website are:[11]


Coats of arms corresponding to the titles borne by various Dutch monarchs, including Veere and Flushing (right above the bottom crowned arms), displayed at Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam

A board of all the arms of the House of Orange-Nassau, showing all the titles historically borne by various Dutch Monarchs,

The arms of consorts are usually quartered with those of the Netherlands:

Wilhelmina further decreed that in perpetuity her descendants should be styled "princes and princesses of Orange-Nassau" and that the name of the house would be "Orange-Nassau" (in Dutch "Oranje-Nassau"). Only those members of the members of the Dutch Royal Family that are designated to the smaller "Royal House" can use the title of prince or princess of the Netherlands.[11] Since then, individual members of the House of Orange-Nassau are also given their own arms by the reigning monarch, similar to the United Kingdom. This is usually the royal arms, quartered with the arms of the principality of Orange, and an in escutcheon of their paternal arms.[56]

In the 19th century, the Dutch Crown prince, who holds the title "Prince of Orange" ("Prins van Oranje"), and his son, who holds the title "Hereditary Prince of Orange" ("Erfprins van Oranje") had their own pre-defined arms. The House of Orange, now the Royal House of the Netherlands, and their descendants the House of Orange-Nassau, kept this title for their family. For more extensive discussion of the use of the title, see the article on Prince of Orange:

When William VI of Orange returned to the Netherlands in 1813 and was proclaimed Sovereign Prince of the Netherlands, he quartered the former Arms of the Dutch Republic (1st and 4th quarter) with the "Châlon-Orange" arms (2nd and 3rd quarter), which had come to symbolize Orange. As an in escutcheon he placed his ancestral arms of Nassau. When he became King in 1815, he combined the Dutch Republic Lion with the billets of the Nassau arms and added a royal crown to form the Coat of arms of the Netherlands. In 1907, Queen Wilhelmina replaced the royal crown on the lion and the shield bearers of the arms with a coronet and had the phallus of the lion removed.[51]

When John William Friso became Prince of Orange, he used the arms below. However, he was never recognized outside of Holland and areas friendly to Holland as Prince of Orange. His son, William IV, recognized as Prince of Orange, seems to have used the original arms of William the Silent.[49] When the princes of Orange fled the Netherlands during the Batavian Republic and the Kingdom of Holland, and when France occupied the Netherlands, they were compensated by Napoleon with the Principality of Nassau-Orange-Fulda. These principalities were confiscated when Napoleon invaded Germany (1806) and William VI supported his Prussian relatives. He succeeded his father as prince of Orange later that year, after William V's death.

The house of Orange-Nassau also had many younger branches in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries descended from William the Silent's younger brother Count John of Nassau-Dillenburg. The division and re-uniting of this patriomony is complex and outlined at the article on the County of Nassau-Dillenburg. One branch, the Nassau-Dietz branch in the 17th century, succeeded to the Dutch title of prince of Orange and the stadholderate in the 18th century. They also survived the other branches and inherited the whole German patrimony. The arms are:[49]

The princes of Orange also originated several illegitimate branches (see above, Family Trees).

The princes of Orange also had personal arms before they became reigning prince. Maurice never changed his as he rarely used the tile of "Prince of Orange". Some others are:

The princes of Orange in the 16th and 17th century used the following sets of arms. On becoming prince of Orange, William placed the Châlon-Arlay arms in the center ("as an inescutcheon") of his father's arms. He used these arms until 1582 when he purchased the marquisate of Veere and Vlissingen. It had been the property of Philip II since 1567, but had fallen into arrears to the province. In 1580 the Court of Holland ordered it sold. William bought it as it gave him two more votes in the States of Zeeland. He owned the government of the two towns, and so could appoint their magistrates. He already had one as First Noble for Philip William, who had inherited Maartensdijk. This made William the predominant member of the States of Zeeland. It was a smaller version of the countship of Zeeland (& Holland) promised to William, and was a potent political base for his descendants. William then added the shield of Veere and Buren to his arms as shown in the arms of Frederick Henry, William II and William III with the arms of the marquisate in the top center, and the arms of the county of Buren in the bottom center.[1]:29-30 William also started the tradition of keeping the number of billets in the upper left quarter for Nassau at 17 to symbolize the original 17 provinces of the Burgundian/Habsburg Netherlands, which he always hoped would form one united nation.

Henry III of Nassau-Breda came to the Netherlands in 1499 as heir to his uncle, Engelbrecht II of Nassau-Breda. His and his uncle's arms are shown below. When Philbert, prince of Orange died in 1530, his sister's son René of Breda inherited the Princedom of Orange on condition that he used the name and coat of arms of the Châlon-Orange family. History knows him therefore as René of Châlon instead of as "René of Nassau-Breda." The 1st and 4th grand quarters show the arms of the Chalons-Arlay (the gold bend) princes of Orange (the bugle). The blue and gold cross is the arms of Jeanne of Geneva, who married one of the Chalons princes. The 2nd and 3rd show the quarterings of Brittany and Luxembourg-St. Pol. The inescutcheon overall is his paternal arms quarterd of Nassau and Breda. William the Silent's father, William the Rich, was rich only in children. He bore the arms shown below. Clockwise from upper left they displayed the arms of Nassau (1st quarter), Katzenelenbogen (3rd quarter), Dietz (2nd quarter), Vianden (4th quarter).

The ancestral coat of arms of the Ottonian line of the house of Nassau is shown right. Their distant cousins of the Walramian line added a red coronet to distinguish them. There is no specific documentation in the literature on the origin of the arms. The lion was always a popular noble symbol, originating as a symbol of nobility, power, and royal aspirations in western culture going all the way back to Hercules. The lion was also heavily used as a heraldic symbol in border territories and neighbouring countries of the Holy Roman Empire and France. It was in all likelihood a way of showing independence from the Holy Roman Emperor, who used an eagle in his personal arms and the King of France, who used the famous Fleur-de-lis. The lion was so heavily used in the Netherlands for various provinces and families (see Leo Belgicus) that it became the national arms of the Dutch Republic, its successor Kingdom of the Netherlands, Coat of Arms of Belgium, and Luxembourg. Blue, because of its nearness to purple, which in the northern climes tended to fade (red was the other choice), was an also a popular color for those with royal aspirations. The billets could have been anything from blocks of wood to abstractions of the reenforcements holding the shield together. The fact that these were arms were very similar to those of the counts of Burgundy (Franche-Comté) did not seem to cause too much confusion.

The gallery below show the coats of arms used by members of the house of Orange-Nassau. Their growing complexity and use of crowns shows how arms are used to reflect the growing political position and royal aspirations of the family. A much more complete armorial is given at the Armorial de la Maison de Nassau, section Lignée Ottonienne at the French WorldHeritage, and another one at Wapen van Nassau, Tak van Otto at the Dutch WorldHeritage.

Arms of the Ottonian Branch of the House of Nassau:[45] Azure billetty or, a lion rampant of the last armed and langued gules

Coats of Arms

William I, 1772-1843, King of the Netherlands, 1815-1840

Wilhelmina of Prussia
William II, 1792-1849, King of the Netherlands, 1840

Anna Pavlovna of Russia
Prince Frederick of the Netherlands, 1797-1881

Princess Pauline of Orange-Nassau, 1800-1806
Princess Marianne of the Netherlands, 1810-1883

married Prince Albert of Prussia (1809–1872)
Emma of Waldeck-Pyrmont
William III, 1817-1890, King of the Netherlands, 1849

Sophia of Württemberg
Prince Alexander of the Netherlands, 1818–1848
Prince Henry of the Netherlands, "the Navigator" 1820–1879
Princess Sophie of the Netherlands, 1824–1897 married Charles Alexander, Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach
Princess Louise of the Netherlands,1828–1871 married Charles XV of Sweden
Princess Marie of the Netherlands, 1841-1910 married William, Prince of Wied one son was William, Prince of Albania
Wilhelmina, 1880-1962, Queen of the Netherlands, 1890-1948

To 1907 after 1907
Henry of Mecklenburg-Schwerin 1876-1934, Prince of the Netherlands

William, Prince of Orange 1840-1879

Prince Maurice of the Netherlands1843-1850
Alexander, Prince of Orange, 1851-1884

Juliana 1909-2004, Queen of the Netherlands, 1948-1980

Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld, Prince of the Netherlands 1911-2004

Beatrix,1938-, Queen of the Netherlands,1980-2013

Claus van Amsberg,1926-2002, Prince of the Netherlands

Princess Irene of the Netherlands, 1939, m.(1964–1981) Carlos Hugo of Bourbon-Parma, Duke of Parma, 4 children not eligible for throne
Princess Margriet of the Netherlands, 1943-

Pieter van Vollenhoven
Princess Christina of the Netherlands,1947, m. Jorge Pérez y Guillermo (m. 1975; div. 1996), 3 children not eligible for throne
William-Alexander of the Netherlands,1967-

Prince of Orange & Heir Apparent, 1980, King of the Netherlands, 2013-
Queen Maxima of the Netherlands

Prince Friso of Orange-Nassau 1968-2013 m.(2004) Mabel Wisse Smit without permission, his children are not eligible for the throne and he was no longer a Prince of the Netherlands after his marriage
Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands, 1969-

Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands
4 sons, 2 of whom were eligible for the throne until Beatrix abdicated in 2013

Princess Catharina-Amalia of the Netherlands,2003- Princess of Orange & heiress apparent, 2013-

Princess Alexia of the Netherlands, 2005-

Princess Ariane of the Netherlands, 2007-

Countess Eloise of Orange-Nassau, 2002-
Count Claus-Casimir of Orange-Nassau, 2004-
Countess Leonore of Orange-Nassau, 2006-

In 1814, William VI of Orange became King of the Netherlands. The institution of the monarch in the Netherlands is considered an office under the Dutch Constitution. There are none of the religious connotations to the office as in some other monarchies. A Dutch sovereign is inaugurated rather than crowned/"coronated". It was initially more of a crowned/hereditary presidency, and a continuation of the status quo ante of the pre-1795 hereditary stadholderate in the Republic. In practice today, the monarch has considerably less power. This summary genealogical tree shows how the current Royal house of Orange-Nassau is related:[11]

The main house of Orange-Nassau also spawned several illegitimate branches. These branches contributed to the political and economic history of England and the Netherlands. Justinus van Nassau was the only extramarital child of William of Orange. He was a Dutch army commander known for unsuccessfully defending Breda against the Spanish, and the depiction of his surrender on the famous picture by Diego Velázquez, The Surrender of Breda. Louis of Nassau, Lord of De Lek and Beverweerd was a younger illegitimate son of Prince Maurice and Margaretha van Mechelen. His descendants were later created Counts of Nassau-LaLecq. One of his sons was the famous general Henry de Nassau, Lord of Overkirk, King William III's Master of the Horse, and one of the most trusted generals of John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough. His descendants became the Earls of Grantham in England. Frederick van Nassau, Lord of Zuylestein, an illegitimate son of Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange, gave rise to the Earls of Rochford in England. The 4th earl of Rochford was a famous English diplomat and a statesman.

Princes of the collateral House of Nassau-Dietz from the Stadhouderlijk Hof (nowadays called Princessehof Ceramics Museum) in Leeuwarden, H.Prince of Nassau, Henry Casimir, Prince of Nassau, George, Prince of Nassau, and Willem Frederick, Prince of Nassau_Dietz

Besides showing the relationships among the family, the tree above then also points out an extraordinary run of bad luck. In the 211 years from the death of William the Silent to the conquest by France, there was only one time that a son directly succeeded his father as Prince of Orange, Stadholder and Captain-General without a minority (William II). When the Oranges were in power, they also tended to settle for the actualities of power, rather than the appearances, which increasingly tended to upset the ruling regents of the towns and cities. On being offered the dukedom of Gelderland by the States of that province, William III let the offer lapse as liable to raise too much opposition in the other provinces.[41]:75–83

The Prince of Orange was also not just another noble among equals in the Netherlands. First, he was the traditional leader of the nation in war and in rebellion against Spain. He was uniquely able to transcend the local issues of the cities, towns and provinces. He was also a sovereign ruler in his own right (see Prince of Orange article). This gave him a great deal of prestige, even in a republic. He was the center of a real court like the Stuarts and Bourbons, French speaking, and extravagant to a scale. It was natural for foreign ambassadors and dignitaries to present themselves to him and consult with him as well as to the States General to which they were officially credited. The marriage policy of the princes, allying themselves twice with the Royal Stuarts, also gave them acceptance into the royal caste of rulers.[41]:76-77,80

Painting by Willem van Honthorst (1662), showing four generations of Princes of Orange: William I, Maurice and Frederick Henry, William II, and William III.


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