United Kingdom of the Netherlands

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United Kingdom of the Netherlands

Verenigd Koninkrijk der Nederlanden  (Dutch)
Royaume-Uni des Pays-Bas  (French)
1815–1839
Motto: "Je maintiendrai" (French)
"I will uphold"
Anthem: 
Wien Neêrlands Bloed
"Those in whom Dutch blood"
United Kingdom of the Netherlands 1815.svg
Location of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands (dark green) in 1815 in Europe (dark grey). The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg (light green) is also shown.
Capital Amsterdam and Brussels
Common languages Dutch (official) and French (official in Wallonia)
Religion
Dutch Reformed
Roman Catholic
Government Constitutional monarchy
King  
 1815–1839
William I
Legislature States General
Senate
House of Representatives
Historical era Late modern period
16 March 1815
24 August 1815
25 August 1830
19 April 1839
Population
 1815
c. 2,233,000 [1]
 1839
c. 3,500,000 [1]
CurrencyDutch guilder
ISO 3166 code NL
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Flag of the Netherlands.svg Sovereign Principality of the United Netherlands
Flag of France (1794-1815, 1830-1958).svg First French Empire
Kingdom of the Netherlands Flag of the Netherlands.svg
Duchy of Limburg Duchylimburg.png
Luxembourg Flag of Luxembourg.svg
Belgium Flag of Belgium (civil).svg

The United Kingdom of the Netherlands (Dutch : Verenigd Koninkrijk der Nederlanden; French : Royaume-Uni des Pays-Bas) is the unofficial name given to the Kingdom of the Netherlands as it existed between 1815 and 1839. The United Netherlands was created in the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars through the fusion of territories that had belonged to the former Dutch Republic, Austrian Netherlands, and Prince-Bishopric of Liège. The polity was a constitutional monarchy, ruled by William I of the House of Orange-Nassau.

Dutch language West Germanic language

Dutch(Nederlands ) is a West Germanic language spoken by around 24 million people as a first language and 5 million people as a second language, constituting the majority of people in the Netherlands and Belgium. It is the third-most-widely spoken Germanic language, after its close relatives English and German.

French language Romance language

French is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire, as did all Romance languages. French evolved from Gallo-Romance, the spoken Latin in Gaul, and more specifically in Northern Gaul. Its closest relatives are the other langues d'oïl—languages historically spoken in northern France and in southern Belgium, which French (Francien) has largely supplanted. French was also influenced by native Celtic languages of Northern Roman Gaul like Gallia Belgica and by the (Germanic) Frankish language of the post-Roman Frankish invaders. Today, owing to France's past overseas expansion, there are numerous French-based creole languages, most notably Haitian Creole. A French-speaking person or nation may be referred to as Francophone in both English and French.

Kingdom of the Netherlands Kingdom in Europe and the Caribbean

The Kingdom of the Netherlands, commonly known as the Netherlands, is a sovereign state and constitutional monarchy with the large majority of its territory in Western Europe and with several small island territories in the Caribbean Sea, in the West Indies islands.

Contents

The polity collapsed in 1830 with the outbreak of the Belgian Revolution. With the de facto secession of Belgium, the Netherlands was left as a rump state and refused to recognise Belgian independence until 1839 when the Treaty of London was signed, fixing the border between the two states and guaranteeing Belgian independence and neutrality as the Kingdom of Belgium.

Belgian Revolution Conflict in western Europe, 1830–1831

The Belgian Revolution was the conflict which led to the secession of the southern provinces from the United Kingdom of the Netherlands and the establishment of an independent Kingdom of Belgium.

In law and government, de facto describes practices that exist in reality, even though they are not officially recognized by laws. It is commonly used to refer to what happens in practice, in contrast with de jure, which refers to things that happen according to law.

Belgium Federal constitutional monarchy in Western Europe

Belgium, officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a sovereign state in Western Europe. It is bordered by the Netherlands to the north, Germany to the east, Luxembourg to the southeast, France to the southwest, and the North Sea to the northwest. It covers an area of 30,688 km2 (11,849 sq mi) and has a population of more than 11.4 million. The capital and largest city is Brussels; other major cities are Antwerp, Ghent, Charleroi and Liège.

Background

Before the French Revolutionary Wars (1792–1802), the Low Countries was a patchwork of different polities created by the Eighty Years' War (1568–1648). The Dutch Republic in the north was independent; the Southern Netherlands was split between the Austrian Netherlands and the Prince-Bishopric of Liège [2] - the former being part of Habsburg Monarchy, while both were part of the Holy Roman Empire. In the aftermath of the French Revolution, the War of the First Coalition broke out in 1792 and France was invaded by Prussia and the Holy Roman Empire. After two years of fighting, the Austrian Netherlands and Liège were captured by the French in 1794 and annexed into France. [3] The Dutch Republic collapsed in 1795 and became a French client state.

French Revolutionary Wars series of conflicts fought between the French Republic and several European monarchies from 1792 to 1802

The French Revolutionary Wars were a series of sweeping military conflicts lasting from 1792 until 1802 and resulting from the French Revolution. They pitted France against Great Britain, Austria, Prussia, Russia and several other monarchies. They are divided in two periods: the War of the First Coalition (1792–97) and the War of the Second Coalition (1798–1802). Initially confined to Europe, the fighting gradually assumed a global dimension. After a decade of constant warfare and aggressive diplomacy, France had conquered a wide array of territories, from the Italian Peninsula and the Low Countries in Europe to the Louisiana Territory in North America. French success in these conflicts ensured the spread of revolutionary principles over much of Europe.

Low Countries Historical coastal landscape in north western Europe

The Low Countries, the Low Lands, or historically also the Netherlands, is a coastal lowland region in northwestern Europe, forming the lower basin of the Rhine, Meuse, and Scheldt rivers, divided in the Middle Ages into numerous semi-independent principalities that consolidated in the countries of Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands, as well as today's French Flanders.

Eighty Years War 16th and 17th-century Dutch revolt against the Habsburgs

The Eighty Years' War or Dutch War of Independence (1568–1648) was a revolt of the Seventeen Provinces of what are today the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg against Philip II of Spain, the sovereign of the Habsburg Netherlands. After the initial stages, Philip II deployed his armies and regained control over most of the rebelling provinces. Under the leadership of the exiled William the Silent, the northern provinces continued their resistance. They eventually were able to oust the Habsburg armies, and in 1581 they established the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands. The war continued in other areas, although the heartland of the republic was no longer threatened; this included the beginnings of the Dutch Colonial Empire, which at the time were conceived as carrying overseas the war with Spain. The Dutch Republic was recognized by Spain and the major European powers in 1609 at the start of the Twelve Years' Truce. Hostilities broke out again around 1619, as part of the broader Thirty Years' War. An end was reached in 1648 with the Peace of Münster, when the Dutch Republic was definitively recognised as an independent country no longer part of the Holy Roman Empire. The Peace of Münster is sometimes considered the beginning of the Dutch Golden Age.

Creation of the United Netherlands

A British cartoon, satirising the "wedding" of Belgium and the Netherlands at the Congress of Vienna The Wedding of The Netherlands and Belgium.png
A British cartoon, satirising the "wedding" of Belgium and the Netherlands at the Congress of Vienna

In 1813, the Netherlands was liberated from French rule by Prussian and Russian troops during the Napoleonic Wars. It was taken for granted that any new regime would have to be headed by the son of the last Dutch stadhouder , William Frederik of Orange-Nassau. A provisional government was formed, most of whose members had helped drive out the House of Orange 18 years earlier. However, they realised that it would be better in the long term to offer leadership of the new government to William Frederik themselves rather than have him imposed by the allies. Accordingly, William Frederick was installed as the "sovereign prince" of a new Sovereign Principality of the United Netherlands. The future of the Southern Netherlands, however, was less clear. In June 1814, the Great Powers secretly agreed to the Eight Articles of London which allocated the region to the Dutch as William had advocated. That August, William Frederik was made Governor-General of the Southern Netherlands and the Prince-Bishopric of Liège–almost all of what is now Belgium. For all intents and purposes, William Frederik had completed his family's three-century dream of uniting the Low Countries under a single rule.

Russian Empire former country, 1721–1917

The Russian Empire was an empire that extended across Eurasia and North America from 1721, following the end of the Great Northern War, until the Republic was proclaimed by the Provisional Government that took power after the February Revolution of 1917.

Napoleonic Wars Series of early 19th century European wars

The Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815) were a series of major conflicts pitting the French Empire and its allies, led by Napoleon I, against a fluctuating array of European powers formed into various coalitions, financed and usually led by the United Kingdom. The wars stemmed from the unresolved disputes associated with the French Revolution and its resultant conflict. The wars are often categorised into five conflicts, each termed after the coalition that fought Napoleon: the Third Coalition (1805), the Fourth (1806–07), the Fifth (1809), the Sixth (1813), and the Seventh (1815).

William I of the Netherlands King of the Netherlands and Grand Duke of Luxembourg 1815 - 1840

William I was a Prince of Orange and the first King of the Netherlands and Grand Duke of Luxembourg.

Discussions on the future of the region were still ongoing at the Congress of Vienna when Napoleon attempted to return to power in the "Hundred Days". William used the occasion to declare himself king on 16 March 1815 as William I. After the Battle of Waterloo, discussions continued.

Congress of Vienna Early 19th century conference of ambassadors of European states to provide a long-term peace plan for Europe

The Congress of Vienna, also called Vienna Congress, was a meeting of ambassadors of European states chaired by Austrian statesman Klemens von Metternich, and held in Vienna from November 1814 to June 1815, though the delegates had arrived and were already negotiating by late September 1814. The objective of the Congress was to provide a long-term peace plan for Europe by settling critical issues arising from the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars. The goal was not simply to restore old boundaries but to resize the main powers so they could balance each other and remain at peace. The leaders were conservatives with little use for republicanism or revolution, both of which threatened to upset the status quo in Europe. France lost all its recent conquests while Prussia, Austria and Russia made major territorial gains. Prussia added smaller German states in the west, Swedish Pomerania and 60% of the Kingdom of Saxony; Austria gained Venice and much of northern Italy. Russia gained parts of Poland. The new Kingdom of the Netherlands had been created just months before, and included formerly Austrian territory that in 1830 became Belgium.

Hundred Days Period from Napoleons escape from Elba to the second restoration of King Louis XVIII

The Hundred Days marked the period between Napoleon's return from exile on the island of Elba to Paris on 20 March 1815 and the second restoration of King Louis XVIII on 8 July 1815. This period saw the War of the Seventh Coalition, and includes the Waterloo Campaign, the Neapolitan War as well as several other minor campaigns. The phrase les Cent Jours was first used by the prefect of Paris, Gaspard, comte de Chabrol, in his speech welcoming the king back to Paris on 8 July.

Monarchy of the Netherlands Wikimedia list article

The monarchy of the Netherlands is the constitutional monarchy of the Netherlands. As such, the role and position of the monarch are defined and limited by the Constitution of the Netherlands. Consequently, a large portion of it is devoted to the monarch; roughly a third of the document 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 and the role of the monarch in the creation of laws.

In exchange for the Southern Netherlands, William agreed to cede the Principality of Orange-Nassau and parts of the Liège to Prussia on 31 May 1815. In exchange, William also gained control over the Duchy of Luxembourg, which was elevated to a grand duchy and placed in personal and political union with the Netherlands, though it remained part of the German Confederation.

Orange-Nassau, also known as Nassau-Orange, was a principality which was part of the Lower Rhenish-Westphalian Circle within the Holy Roman Empire. It existed under this name between 1702 and 1815. The territory of the former state of Orange-Nassau is now part of Germany. It was ruled by the House of Orange-Nassau.

A grand duchy is a country or territory whose official head of state or ruler is a monarch bearing the title of grand duke or grand duchess.

A personal union is the combination of two or more states that have the same monarch while their boundaries, laws, and interests remain distinct. A real union, by contrast, would involve the constituent states being to some extent interlinked, such as by sharing some limited governmental institutions. In a federation and a unitary state, a central (federal) government spanning all member states exists, with the degree of self-governance distinguishing the two. The ruler in a personal union does not need to be a hereditary monarch.

Government

Constitution and government

Though the United Netherlands was a constitutional monarchy, the king retained significant control as head of state and head of government. Beneath the king was a bicameral legislature known as the States General with a Senate and House of Representatives. From the start, the administrative system proved controversial. Representation in the 110-seat House of Representatives, for example, was divided equally between south and north, although the former had a larger population. This was resented in the south, which believed that the government was dominated by northerners.

King William I, depicted in 1819 Portret van Willem I, koning der Nederlanden Rijksmuseum SK-C-1460.jpeg
King William I, depicted in 1819

Provinces

Map of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands 1815-VerenigdKoninkrijkNederlanden-en.svg
Map of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands

The United Netherlands was divided into 17 provinces and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg which was constitutionally distinct. Many were based on the pre-existing départements , established by the French. They included:

The United Netherlands was also a colonial power with overseas colonies in the East Indies and elsewhere.

Economic policy

Dutch troops in the Flemish town of Dendermonde in 1820 Hollandse troepen trekken door de vestingstad Dendermonde Rijksmuseum SK-A-4664.jpeg
Dutch troops in the Flemish town of Dendermonde in 1820

Economically, the United Netherlands prospered. Supported by the state, the Industrial Revolution began to affect the Southern Netherlands where a number of modern industries emerged, encouraged by figures such as John Cockerill who created the steel industry in Wallonia. Antwerp emerged as major trading port.

William I actively supported economic modernisation. Modern universities were established at Leuven, Liège, and Ghent in 1817. Lower education was also extended. The General Netherlands Society for Advancing National Industry (Algemeene Nederlandsche Maatschappij ter Begunstiging van de Volksvlijt) was created in 1822 to encourage industrialisation in the south, while the Netherlands Trading Society (Nederlandsche Handel-Maatschappij) was created in 1825 to encourage trade with the colonies. William I also embarked on a programme of canal building that saw the creation of the North Holland, Ghent–Terneuzen and Brussels–Charleroi canals.

Regional tensions

Differences between Southern and Northern Netherlands were never totally effaced. The two were divided by the issue of religion because the south was strongly Roman Catholic and the north largely Dutch Reformed. [4] The Catholic Church in Belgium resented the state's encroachment on its traditional privileges, especially in education. In French-speaking parts of the south, attempts to enforce the use of Dutch language were particularly resented among the elite. [5] Many Belgians believed that the United Netherlands' constitution discriminated against them. Though they represented 62 percent of the population, they were only allocated 50 percent of the seats in the House and less in the Senate while the state extracted money from the richer south to subsidise the north. By the mid-1820s, a union of opposition had formed in Belgium, uniting liberals and Catholic conservatives against Dutch rule.

Belgian Revolution and secession

Fighting between Belgian rebels and the Dutch military expedition in Brussels in September 1830 Revolution belge de 1830 - La rue de Flandre le jeudi 23 septembre 1830.jpg
Fighting between Belgian rebels and the Dutch military expedition in Brussels in September 1830

The Belgian Revolution broke out on 25 August 1830, inspired by the recent July Revolution in France. A military intervention in September failed to defeat the rebels in Brussels, radicalising the movement. Belgium was declared an independent state on 4 October 1830. A constitutional monarchy was established under King Leopold I.

William I refused to accept the secession of Belgium. In August 1831, he launched the Ten Days' Campaign, a major military offensive into Belgium. Though initially successful, the French intervened to support the Belgians and the invasion had to be abandoned. [6] After a period of tension, a settlement was agreed at the Treaty of London in 1839. The Dutch recognised Belgian independence, in exchange for territorial concessions. [7] The frontier between the two countries was finally fixed by the Treaty of Maastricht in 1843. Luxembourg became an autonomous state in personal union with the Dutch, though ceding some territory to Belgium.

See also

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References

  1. 1 2 Demographics of the Netherlands, Jan Lahmeyer. Retrieved on 10 December 2013.
  2. S Marteel, The Intellectual Origins of the Belgian Revolution (2018) p. 23
  3. A W Ward, The Cambridge History of British Foreign Policy 1783-1919 Vol I (Cambridge 1922) p. 263
  4. S Marteel, The Intellectual Origins of the Belgian Revolution (2018) p. 4
  5. D Richards, Modern Europe (London 1964) p. 86-7
  6. D Richards, Modern Europe (London 1964) p. 88
  7. D Richards, Modern Europe (London 1964) p. 89
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Bibliography