Kingdom of Holland, 1806-1813 1830-1848

The Northern Netherlands, 1815 - 1830

Establishment of the Kingdom, and Constitution . The Vienna Congress created the Kingdom of the United Netherlands, comprising of the former Dutch Republic and the Southern Netherlands (Belgium, Luxemburg), with the head of the House of Orange, hitherto stadholder of the Dutch provinces, as King. Capitals were both Amsterdam and Brussels, and the country was to have a Constitution (of 1814). The United Netherlands had a combined population of 5.5 million, c. 60 % of whom lived in the southern part, c. 40 % in the northern part of the country. In the Staten-Generaal (Estates General, the bicameral parliament, the north and the south were equally represented, the north thus being favoured by the constitution; the large majority, even of the adult male population, did not (yet) have the right to vote. The constitution of 1814 provided for equality of the confessions.
Dutch historiography has long celebrated the events of 1813 as a radical break with the past. In reality, the French withdrew on their own accord; the Dutch administration (Gijsbert Karel van Hogendorp) negotiated the return of William V./ William I.; the transition was peaceful, and administrative personnel remained in office, serving under a new master. The constitution of 1814 maintained many of the reforms introduced during the Batavian Republic; the code civile remained valid.

Domestic Policy - Neo-Absolutism . However, King William I., reminiscent of the fact that the weak position of the stadholders had resulted in the weakening of the republic, pursued a policy of neo-absolutism. He resided in 's-Gravenhage (Den Haag). Willem I.'s policy aimed at unifying the country. Dutch was introduced as the sole language of administration (1819, effective from 1822, against the resistance of the Walloon regions).
In 1816 the Nederlandse Hervormde Kerk (literally : In Dutch Reformed Church) was established, replacing the Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk, state church of the Dutch Republic since 1579 (and in English also usually called Dutch Reformed Church). While both are Calvinist, the new church ordinnances had been strongly influenced by King William I., who wanted to transform the independent-minded church into an instrument of the state. Similarly he intended to interfere in the organization of the Catholic Church; he passed a regulation which required institutions of higher education to follow tate guidelines. Both were resented by the Catholic Church; here King William I. had to make concessions. In 1827 the Netherlands' government signed a Concordat with the Pope; new dioceses were established (Amsterdam, Brugge, 's-Hertogenbosch). The Economy . The Metric System was introduced in 1816. The taxation system of the North was extended on the South, which resulted in a tax increase for the Southern Netherlands. Willem I. dreamt of the Netherlands as an economic power, the economy of the North being based on trade, the one of the south on industry. He believed in the role of the tate in the economy and founded a number of state enterprises.
A number of new canals were constructed, most of them in the southern Netherlands, in order to boost the economic development. The Bank van Nederland was founded in 1814.
Dutch merchants favoured free trade; Belgian factory owners wanted protective tariffs. The King and his ministers did not pursue a clear policy, once leaning toward the former, once toward the latter.

Foreign and Colonial Policy . In 1816 the British returned Java and the Moluccas to Dutch rule, and an administration could be reestablished in the Dutch East Indies. In 1824 the Dutch and British government signed an agreement delimiting mutual spheres of interest in the Archipelago. In 1826 the Dutch colonies in the Caribbean were merged to form the Dutch West Indies.

The Secession of Belgium . The southern provinces, catholic as opposed to the dominantly protestant north, and in part french-speaking, came to resent the rule of Willem I. of Oranje-Nassau. Criticism of the predominant influence of Calvinism and the Dutch language only added on to the desire to replace neo-absolutism by a constitutional monarchy; liberal citizens looked at France as a role model. When France in 1830 expelled the Bourbon Dynasty, the spark ignited a revolution in Brussels; Belgium seceded. The Dutch response was an invasion (Ten Days Campaign, 1831); the Dutch troops were stopped by Wallonian volunteers.

Article United Kingdom of the Netherlands, William I., from Wikipedia, English edition
Article Nederlandse Hervormde Kerk, Verenigd Koninkrijk der Nederlanden, Willem I., Nederlandse Grondwet (constitution), Gijsbert Karel van Hogendorp, from Wikipedia Dutch edition
Development of Parliamentary Democracy, from the Holland Page (scroll down to find the chapter)
Military Orders of the Netherlands, from Orders of the World
Armed Conflict Events Data : Netherlands 1800-1999, from
Prussia and the United Kingdom of the Netherlands and Belgium, 1813-1822, in Dutch, by Ilja Nieuwland
Periode 1814-1840: onder koning Willem I (Period 1814-1840, under King Willem I.), from Parlement en Politiek, official site
De Nederlandsche Bank, from Dizionario delle Banche e delle Organizzazioni Economiche Internazionali (Dictionary of Banks and International Economic Organizations), in Italian
DOCUMENTS Coins issued under King Willem I. (1815-1840), from Numismania
Medal : Coronation of William I., 1814, from Napoleonic Medals
Portrait of Willem I., from Art Istocracy
Links to Documents on the History of the Netherlands in the 19th Century, posted by psm-data
General Gazetteer 1823 : Netherlands
Netherlands - United Kingdom 1815, Warflags, from
Law restoring the Willem Order, 1815, posted by Koninklijke Onderscheidingen, in Dutch
Draft of a Constitution, 1814, from, in German
Constitution of 1815, from, in German
REFERENCE Mark T. Hooker, The History of Holland, Westport : Greenwood, 1999, KMLA Lib.Sign. 949.2 H783h
J. Roegiers and N.C.F. van Sas, The United Kingdom, pp.297-312 in : J.C.H. Blom and E. Lamberts (ed.), History of the Low Countries, trsl. by James C. Kennedy, NY : Berghahn Books 1999, KMLA Lib. Sign. 949.3 B653h
A.J.W. Camijn, Een eeuw vol bedrijvigheid. De industrialisatie van Nederland, 1814-1914 (A century of industry, the industrialization of the NL), Utrecht : Veen 1987 [G]

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First posted in 2000, last revised on May 5th 2006

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