Dietrich, Count of Oldenburg

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Dietrich of Oldenburg
Didrik den Lykkelige (Rosenborg).JPG
Count of Oldenburg
Predecessor Christian V of Oldenburg
Successor Christian VII
Born 1398
Died 14th February 1440 (aged 4142)
BuriedRoskilde Cathedral, Roskilde, Denmark
Noble family House of Oldenburg
Spouse(s) Countess Adelheid of Oldenburg-Delmenhorst
Helvig of Schauenburg


Christian I of Denmark
Maurice V of Delmenhorst
Gerhard VI, Count of Oldenburg
Adelheid, Countess of Hohenstein and Mansfeld
Father Christian V, Count of Oldenburg
Mother Countess Agnes of Honstein

Dietrich or Theoderic of Oldenburg (c. 1398 14 February 1440) was a feudal lord in Northern Germany, holding the counties of Delmenhorst and Oldenburg. He was called "Fortunatus", as he was able to secure Delmenhorst for his branch of the Oldenburgs.

Northern Germany is the region in the northern part of Germany which exact area is not precisely or consistently defined. It varies depending on whether one has a linguistic, geographic, socio-cultural or historic standpoint. The five coastal states are regularly referred to as Northern Germany. Though geographically in the northern half of Germany, Westphalia, Brandenburg, and the northern parts of Saxony-Anhalt are rarely referred to as Northern Germany and instead are almost always associated with Western Germany and the historic East Germany respectively.

Delmenhorst Place in Lower Saxony, Germany

Delmenhorst is an urban district in Lower Saxony, Germany. It has a population of 74,500 and is located 10 kilometres west of downtown Bremen with which it forms a contiguous urban area, whereas the city of Oldenburg is 25 kilometres to the northwest. The city has a total area of 62.36 square kilometres ; and a population density of approx. 1200 inhabitants per km².

Duchy of Oldenburg historical duchy centered on Oldenburg in what is now north-western Germany

The Duchy of Oldenburg — named after its capital, the town of Oldenburg — was a state in the north-west of present-day Germany. The counts of Oldenburg died out in 1667, after which it became a duchy until 1810, when it was annexed by the First French Empire. It was located near the mouth of the River Weser.


Dietrich was the father of Christian I of Denmark, who would go on to start the modern day dynasty of the Danish throne.

Christian I of Denmark King of Denmark, Norway and Sweden

Christian I was a Scandinavian monarch under the Kalmar Union. He was King of Denmark (1448–1481), Norway (1450–1481) and Sweden (1457–1464). From 1460 to 1481, he was also Duke of Schleswig and Count of Holstein. He was the first Danish monarch of the House of Oldenburg.

Denmark constitutional monarchy in Europe

Denmark, officially the Kingdom of Denmark, is a Nordic country and the southernmost of the Scandinavian nations. Denmark lies southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and is bordered to the south by Germany. The Kingdom of Denmark also comprises two autonomous constituent countries in the North Atlantic Ocean: the Faroe Islands and Greenland. Denmark proper consists of a peninsula, Jutland, and an archipelago of 443 named islands, with the largest being Zealand, Funen and the North Jutlandic Island. The islands are characterised by flat, arable land and sandy coasts, low elevation and a temperate climate. Denmark has a total area of 42,924 km2 (16,573 sq mi), land area of 42,394 km2 (16,368 sq mi), and the total area including Greenland and the Faroe Islands is 2,210,579 km2 (853,509 sq mi), and a population of 5.8 million.


Dietrich of Oldenburg was the son of Christian V of Oldenburg, who became the Count circa 1398 and died in 1403. His wife, the Countess Agnes of Honstein, was born circa 1410 and died in 1460. His grandfather, Conrad I of Oldenburg, who died circa 1368, left his lands divided between Dietrich's father and uncle, Conrad II.

Dietrich’s father, Christian V, managed to gain the upper hand when Conrad II's son Maurice II died in 1420. After this, most of the Oldenburg family patrimony was under the rule of Dietrich’s branch. However, the house had several minor branches with estates and claims, as was usual in any medieval fief.

Fief System of economic governance during the Middle Ages in Europe.

A fief was the central element of feudalism and consisted of heritable property or rights granted by an overlord to a vassal who held it in fealty in return for a form of feudal allegiance and service, usually given by the personal ceremonies of homage and fealty. The fees were often lands or revenue-producing real property held in feudal land tenure: these are typically known as fiefs or fiefdoms. However, not only land but anything of value could be held in fee, including governmental office, rights of exploitation such as hunting or fishing, monopolies in trade, and tax farms.

Dietrich of Oldenburg was the grandson of Ingeborg of Itzehoe, a Holstein princess who had married Count Conrad I of Oldenburg. After the death of her only brother, Count Gerhard V of Holstein-Itzehoe-Plön in 1350, Ingeborg and her issue were the heirs of her grandmother Ingeborg of Sweden (d. ca. 1290, the first wife of Gerhard II of Holstein-Plön), the eldest daughter of King Valdemar of Sweden and Queen Sophia, who herself was the eldest daughter of King Eric IV of Denmark and his wife Jutta of Saxony who had no male descendants. Since there were no other living legitimate descendants of King Valdemar by this time, Dietrich was considered the heir general of Kings Valdemar I of Sweden and Eric IV of Denmark.

Eric IV of Denmark King of Denmark

Eric IV, also known as Eric Ploughpenny or Eric Plowpenny, was king of Denmark from 1241 until his death in 1250. He was the son of Valdemar II of Denmark by his wife, Berengaria of Portugal, and brother of King Abel of Denmark and King Christopher I of Denmark

Saxony State in Germany

Saxony, officially the Free State of Saxony, is a landlocked federal state of Germany, bordering the federal states of Brandenburg, Saxony Anhalt, Thuringia, and Bavaria, as well as the countries of Poland and the Czech Republic. Its capital is Dresden, and its largest city is Leipzig.

Dietrich succeeded his father as head of the House of Oldenburg in 1403.

Marriages and children

During his childhood, Dietrich married a distant cousin, the Countess Adelheid of Oldenburg-Delmenhorst, daughter of Oldenburg Count Otto IV of Delmenhorst, for reasons of succession and uniting the hereditary fiefs. Countess Adelheid is presumed to have died in 1404. In 1423, Dietrich married again, to Helvig of Schauenburg (born between 1398–1400 and died in 1436), widow of Prince Balthasar of Mecklenburg and daughter of the murdered Duke Gerhard VI of Schleswig and Holstein and his wife Elisabeth of Brunswick and, thus, sister of the reigning Duke Adolf VIII. All his legitimate children were born by his second wife.

His second marriage strengthened this interest in the Scandinavian monarchies since Helvig was a descendant of King Eric V of Denmark, King Haakon V of Norway and King Magnus I of Sweden.

Haakon V of Norway King of Norway

Haakon V Magnusson was king of Norway from 1299 until 1319.

At this time, Scandinavia was ruled by the Kalmar Union, established by Queen Margarethe I of Denmark. In 1387, she had lost her heir Olav IV of Norway, who was succeeded as heir by Eric of Pomerania and his sister Catherine, who was married to a prince of the Palatinate and Bavaria.

Dietrich of Oldenburg is said to have been a rival claimant to the crowns of Sweden and Denmark during the reign of Eric VII/Eric XIII, whose succession was through Christopher I of Denmark, the younger brother of the murdered Eric IV, and through Magnus I of Sweden, younger brother of the deposed King Valdemar.

Count Theodoric had three surviving sons and one daughter:

Christian (1426–1481); who succeeded him as Count of Oldenburg and Delmenhorst, and later became King Christian I of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden (following the deposition of Charles VII of Sweden), as well as Duke of Schleswig and Holstein. He would found the House of Oldenburg Dynasty in Denmark that still rules to this day.

Maurice V of Delmenhorst (1428–1464); when his elder brother became king, he was given the County of Delmenhorst.

Gerhard VI, Count of Oldenburg (1430–1500); two years after his eldest brother had become king, he was given the county of Oldenburg, and from his other brother's heirs, he also inherited Delmenhorst in about 1483. The third son got his name from usages of the mother's Holstein clan.

Adelheid (1425–1475), first married Ernest III, the Count of Hohnstein (d. 1454) and then, in 1474, Gerhard VI, Count of Mansfeld (d. 1492).

Male line of descendants

Dietrich of Oldenburg is a direct ancestor of the Danish royal family having given birth to the first House of Oldenburg King of Denmark, Christian I. He is also a direct ancestor of the British Royal Family, the pretenders to the Kingdom of the Hellenes, the Norwegian royal family, and the last Russian czars of Romanov-Holstein-Gottorp.



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The House of Oldenburg is a European dynasty of North German origin. It is one of Europe's most influential royal houses, with branches that rule or have ruled in Denmark, Iceland, Greece, Norway, Russia, Sweden, Schleswig, Holstein, and Oldenburg. The current Queen of Denmark and King of Norway, the former King of Greece, the consort of the monarch of the United Kingdom, as well as the first thirteen persons in the line of succession to the British throne, are all patrilineal members of the Glücksburg branch of this house.

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    Dietrich, Count of Oldenburg
    Born: 1390 Died: 14 February 1440
    Regnal titles
    Preceded by
    Maurice II
    Count of Oldenburg
    with his cousin Maurice II (14011420)
    and his brother Christian VI (14031421)
    Succeeded by
    Christian VII

    Archaeologisches Landesmuseum/Bibliothek - Schloß Gottorf, Schleswig