Celebrating 200 Years of Monarchy… But Nobody Noticed

Today is the last day of the 2 year celebration of 200 years Dutch Monarchy, but until now nobody noticed we were celebrating. Let’s go back in time, not 2 years when it started (November 30) but 200 years.

Coat of arms of the Netherlands
Coat of arms of the Netherlands

The Dutch monarchy is still relatively young. She began in 1806 when Louis Napoleon was appointed King of Holland by his brother Napoleon Bonaparte. They continued in 1813 when Willem Frederik from the house of Orange-Nassau, a son of stadtholder William V, accepted the title sovereign prince of the United Netherlands. Previously, the former Netherlands was briefly a vassal state of the First French Empire and before that a republic after in 1581 the monarchy of the lords of the house of Habsburg was abandoned.

The Monarchy of the Netherlands is constitutional and as such, the role and position of the monarch are defined and limited by the constitution of the Netherlands. Consequently, a fairly large portion of the Dutch constitution is devoted to the monarch; roughly a third of the constitution describes the succession, mechanisms of accession and abdication to the throne, the roles and responsibilities of the monarch and the formalities of communication between the States-General of the Netherlands and the role of the monarch in the creation of laws.

Coat of arms of the Kingdom of Belgium
Coat of arms of the Kingdom of Belgium

In 1815 the United Netherlands consisted of the, as they’re known now, Kingdom of the Netherlands, Kingdom of Belgium and Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. The Belgian monarchy was formed in 1831 when Belgium, fought for independence of the Netherlands, and formed their own kingdom. The royal title was meant to play Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, which – became King of the Belgians – the idea of the people’s monarchy. After him ruled Leopold II, Albert I, Leopold III, Baudouin, Albert II and Philippe. With the exception of Leopold I, who remained Lutheran, the Belgian monarchs are Roman Catholic.

Coat of arms of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
Coat of arms of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg

Luxembourg has been a grand duchy since March 15, 1815, when it was elevated from a duchy, and was in personal union with the Netherlands until 1890. Since 1815, there have been nine monarchs of Luxembourg, including the incumbent, Henri.

3 thoughts on “Celebrating 200 Years of Monarchy… But Nobody Noticed

  1. BeNeLux countries (I remember this from geography classes in school). and the house of windsor in the UK used to be the house of saxe-coburg and gotha (changed during WWI cause germany).

    interesting how the netherlands started as french with a napoleon as a ruler. thanks for the history lesson, peter! 🙂

    one of my co-workers will be visiting amsterdam and luxembourg next month for business. and my company has a product distributor/representative in brussels.

    1. The Mountbatten surname derives from the German town of Battenberg, in Hesse. Prince Louis of Battenberg Anglicised his surname to Mountbatten (its literal English translation) during the First World War at the request of King George V. When then-Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark*, a member of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg (the royal house of Denmark and Norway and the deposed royal house of Greece) took British citizenship, he used this surname since he descends from the Battenberg family through his mother, Princess Alice of Battenberg.

      The name Windsor was adopted by the British branch of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in 1917.

      *Prince Philip as in consort of Queen Elizabeth II

      Hope your co-worker has a good time in Amsterdam, and the other cities as well of course.

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