Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange

Frederick Henry, or Frederik Hendrik in Dutch (29 January 1584 – 14 March 1647), was the sovereign Prince of Orange and stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Guelders, and Overijssel from 1625 to 1647. He was the grandfather of William III of England.

As the leading soldier in the Dutch wars against Spain, his main achievement was the successful Siege of 's-Hertogenbosch in 1629. It was the main Spanish base and a well-fortified city protected by an experienced Spanish garrison and by formidable water defenses. His strategy was the successful neutralization of the threat of inundation of the area around 's-Hertogenbosch and his capture of the Spanish storehouse at Wesel.[1]

Frederick Henry
Prince of Orange
Frederik Hendrik by Michiel Jansz van Mierevelt
Prince of Orange
In office
Preceded byMaurice
Succeeded byWilliam II
Stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Guelders, and Overijssel
In office
Preceded byMaurice, Prince of Orange
Succeeded byWilliam II, Prince of Orange
Personal details
Born29 January 1584
Delft, Dutch Republic
Died14 March 1647 (aged 63)
The Hague, Dutch Republic
Resting placeNieuwe Kerk, Delft, Netherlands
52°00′44″N 4°21′39″E / 52.0123°N 4.3609°E
Spouse(s)Amalia of Solms-Braunfels
ChildrenWilliam II, Prince of Orange
Louise Henriette, Duchess of Prussia
Henriette Amalia of Nassau
Elisabeth of Nassau
Isabella Charlotte of Nassau
Albertine Agnes of Nassau
Henriette Catherine, Princess of Anhalt-Dessau
Henry Louis of Nassau
Maria, Countess Palatine of Simmern-Kaiserslautern
ParentsWilliam the Silent
Louise de Coligny


Early life

Frederick Henry was born on 29 January 1584 in Delft, Holland, Dutch Republic. He was the youngest child of William the Silent and Louise de Coligny. His father William was stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, and Friesland. His mother Louise was daughter of the Huguenot leader Gaspard de Coligny, and was the fourth wife of his father. He was thus the half brother of his predecessor Maurice of Orange, deceased in 1625.

Frederick Henry was born six months before his father's assassination on 10 July 1584. The boy was trained to arms by his elder brother Maurice, one of the finest generals of his age. After Maurice threatened to legimitize his illegitimate children if he did not marry, Frederick Henry married Amalia of Solms-Braunfels in 1625. His illegitimate son by Margaretha Catharina Bruyns (1595–1625), Frederick Nassau de Zuylestein was born in 1624 before his marriage. This son later became the governor of the young William III of England for seven years.


Anselm van Hulle (Attr.) - Equestrian portrait of Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange
Equestrian portrait of Frederick Henry by Anselm van Hulle
Anselmus-van-Hulle-Hommes-illustres MG 0442
Engraving of Frederick Henry by Anselm van Hulle.

On the death of Maurice in 1625 without legitimate issue, Frederick Henry succeeded him in his paternal dignities and estates, and also in the stadtholderates of the five provinces of Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Overijssel and Guelders, and in the important posts of captain and admiral-general of the Union (commander-in-chief of the Dutch States Army and of the Dutch navy).

Frederick Henry proved himself almost as good a general as his brother, and a far more capable statesman and politician. For twenty-two years he remained at the head of government in the United Provinces, and in his time the power of the stadtholderate reached its highest point. The "Period of Frederick Henry," as it is usually styled by Dutch writers, is generally accounted the golden age of the republic. It was marked by great military and naval triumphs, by worldwide maritime and commercial expansion, and by a wonderful outburst of activity in the domains of art and literature.

The chief military exploits of Frederick Henry were the sieges and captures of Grol in 1627, 's-Hertogenbosch in 1629, of Maastricht in 1632, of Breda in 1637, of Sas van Gent in 1644, and of Hulst in 1645. During the greater part of his administration the alliance with France against Spain had been the pivot of Frederick Henry's foreign policy, but in his last years he sacrificed the French alliance for the sake of concluding a separate peace with Spain, by which the United Provinces obtained from that power all the advantages they had been seeking for eighty years.

Frederick Henry built the country houses Huis Honselaarsdijk, Huis ter Nieuwburg, and for his wife Huis ten Bosch, and he renovated the Noordeinde Palace in The Hague. Huis Honselaarsdijk and Huis ter Nieuwburg are now demolished.[2]


The funeral procession of Frederik Hendrik, etching with colour, h 225mm × w 565mm.
The funeral procession of Frederik Hendrik, etching with colour, h 225mm × w 565mm.

Frederick Henry died on 14 March 1647 in The Hague, Holland, Dutch Republic. He left his wife Amalia of Solms-Braunfels, his son William II, Prince of Orange, four of his daughters, and his illegitimate son Frederick Nassau de Zuylestein.

On Frederick Henry's death, he was buried with great pomp beside his father and brother at Delft. The treaty of Munster, ending the long struggle between the Dutch and the Spaniards, was not actually signed until 30 January 1648, the illness and death of the stadtholder having caused a delay in the negotiations. Frederick Henry left an account of his campaigns in his Mémoires de Frédéric Henri (Amsterdam, 1743). See Cambridge Mod. Hist. vol. iv. chap. 24.

His widow commissioned an elaborate mausoleum in the Oranjezaal, a panoramic painted ballroom with scenes from his life and allegories of good government based on his achievements.


Gerrit van Honthorst - Frederik Hendrik met familie
Prince Frederick Henry and his wife Amalia of Solms-Braunfels and his three youngest daughters, portrayed by Gerard van Honthorst.

Frederick Henry and his wife Amalia of Solms-Braunfels had nine children, being seven daughters and two sons. Four of their children, including one son, died in childhood, leaving Frederick Henry with only a single son as heir. Ultimately, after the death of Frederick Henry's only male-line grandson, the stadtholdership was to pass to a distant agnatic cousin, who was married to Frederick Henry's daughter Albertine Agnes. Frederick Henry's children were:

Frederick Henry recognized one illegitimate child by Margaretha Catharina Bruyns:


Frederick Henry's ancestors in three generations
Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange Father:
William the Silent
Paternal Grandfather:
William I, Count of Nassau-Dillenburg
Paternal Great-grandfather:
Count John V of Nassau-Dillenburg
Paternal Great-grandmother:
Landgravine Elisabeth of Hesse-Marburg
Paternal Grandmother:
Juliana of Stolberg
Paternal Great-grandfather:
Bodo VIII, Count of Stolberg-Wernigerode
Paternal Great-grandmother:
Anna of Eppstein-Königstein
Louise de Coligny
Maternal Grandfather:
Gaspard de Coligny
Maternal Great-grandfather:
Gaspard I de Coligny
Maternal Great-grandmother:
Louise de Montmorency
Maternal Grandmother:
Charlotte de Laval
Maternal Great-grandfather:
Guy XVI de Laval, Comte de Laval
Maternal Great-grandmother:
Antoinette de Daillon

Coat of Arms and Titles

Coat of arms of Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange
Gartered arms of Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange
Arms of William Henry, Prince of Orange, Count of Nassau
Arms of Frederick Henry used as Prince of Orange

Frederick Henry, besides being Stadholder of several provinces and Captain-General, both non-hereditary and appointive titles:

Stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Guelders, and Overijssel;

he was the hereditary sovereign of the principality of Orange in what is today Provence in France. He also was the lord of many other estates, which formed his wealth:

List of Military Battles

Frederick Henry participated in these battles as principal Dutch commander:


  1. ^ Israel, The Dutch Republic (1995) p 507
  2. ^ Poelhekke, J.J. (2008). "Hoofdstuk IX". Frederik Hendrik. Prins van Oranje. Een biografisch drieluik (in Dutch). Digitale Bibliotheek voor de Nederlandse Letteren. Retrieved 2008-08-07.

Further reading

  • Israel, Jonathan I. The Dutch Republic: Its Rise, Greatness, and Fall 1477-1806 (1998) excerpt and text search pp 506–45

External links

Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange
Cadet branch of the House of Nassau
Born: 29 January 1584 Died: 14 March 1647
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Prince of Orange
Baron of Breda

Succeeded by
William II
Political offices
Preceded by
Maurice of Nassau
Stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland,
Utrecht, Guelders and Overijssel

Succeeded by
William II
Amalia of Solms-Braunfels

Amalia of Solms-Braunfels (31 August 1602, Braunfels – 8 September 1675, The Hague), was Princess consort of Orange by marriage to Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange. She acted as the political adviser of her spouse during his reign, and acted as his de facto deputy and regent during his infirmity from 1640–47. She also served as chair of the regency council during the minority of her grandson William III, Prince of Orange from 1650 until 1672. She was the daughter of count John Albert I of Solms-Braunfels and countess Agnes of Sayn-Wittgenstein.

Capture of Maastricht

The Siege of Maastricht was fought between 9 June and 22 August 1632, when the Dutch commander Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange eventually captured the city from Habsburg forces.

Countess Albertine Agnes of Nassau

Albertine Agnes of Nassau (April 9, 1634 – May 26, 1696), was regent of Friesland, Groningen and Drenthe during the minority of her son Henry Casimir II, Count of Nassau-Dietz. She was the sixth child and fifth daughter of stadtholder Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange and Amalia of Solms-Braunfels.

Countess Louise Henriette of Nassau

Louise Henrietta of Nassau (Dutch: Louise Henriëtte van Nassau, German: Luise Henriette von Nassau; 7 December 1627 – 18 June 1667) was a Countess of Nassau, granddaughter of William I, Prince of Orange, "William the Silent", and an Electress of Brandenburg.

Dutch ship Brederode (1644)

Brederode was a ship of the line of the Maas Admiralty, part of the navy of the United Provinces of the Netherlands, and the flagship of the Dutch fleet in the First Anglo-Dutch War. Throughout her career, she carried from 49 to 59 guns. She was named after Johan Wolfert van Brederode, the brother-in-law of stadtholder Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange.

Frederick Henry

Frederick Henry may refer to:

Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange (1584–1647), Prince of Orange and stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Guelders, and Overijssel

Frederick Henry (bishop) (born 1943), Roman Catholic bishop in Calgary, Canada

Frederick F. Henry (1919–1950), Medal of Honor recipient

Frederick Henry, Duke of Saxe-Zeitz-Pegau-Neustadt (1668–1713), German prince of the House of Wettin

Frederick Henry, Margrave of Brandenburg-Schwedt (1709–1788), last owner of the Prussian secundogeniture of Brandenburg-Schwedt

Frederick Henry (cyclist) (born 1929), Canadian Olympic cyclist

Frederick Nassau de Zuylestein

Frederick of Nassau, Lord of Zuylestein (1624–1672) was an illegitimate son of Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange, by Margaretha Catharina Bruyns,

Joachim van den Hove

Joachim van den Hove (1567? – 1620) was a Flemish/Dutch composer and a lutenist. He composed works for lute solo and for lute and voice. Moreover, he wrote many arrangements for lute of Italian, French, and English vocal and instrumental music, and of Flemish/Dutch folk music. Van den Hove disputes with Adriaensen and Vallet the distinction of being the most important representative of 17th century Dutch lute music.

Van den Hove was born in Antwerp, where his father, Peeter van den Hove, was a respected musician. After the Fall of Antwerp in 1584–5 the family fled north. From at least 1593 to 1616 Joachim lived in Leiden, where in 1594 he married Anna Rodius (originally "de Roy") from Utrecht. There he was a lutenist and also lute teacher. His most famous pupils were the young Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange and Maurice of Nassau, Prince of Orange.

Van den Hove's financial fortunes declined and in 1616 his properties were confiscated. Before his Leiden home was sold by public auction in 1618, he had fled to The Hague, where he died in poverty in 1620.Published collections of his works are:

Florida, sive cantiones (Utrecht, 1601)

Delitiae Musicae (Utrecht, 1612)

Praeludia testudinis (Leiden, 1616)Works in manuscripts:

Christoph Herold - Lautenbuch, 1602

Joachim van den Hove - Lautenbuch, 1615 (Autograph)

Ernst Schele - Tabulaturbuch, 1619


The L'Aubespine family was a French family descended from Claude de l'Aubespine, a lawyer of Orléans and bailiff of the abbey of Saint Euverte in the beginning of the 16th century. His progeny gained distinction in offices connected with the law.

Sebastien de l'Aubespine (1518–1582) was abbot of Bassefontaine, and abbé commendataire Mozac, bishop of Vannes and afterwards bishop of Limoges. He fulfilled important diplomatic missions in Germany, Hungary, England, the Low Countries, and Switzerland under King Francis I of France and his successors. He was plenipotentiary of France to the Treaty of Cateau-Cambrésis.

Claude de L'Aubespine (1510–1567) was Sebastien's brother and baron of Chateauneuf-sur-Cher. He was a secretary of finance and he was in charge of negotiations with England in 1555 and 1559. He was commissioned several times to deal with the Huguenots in the king's name.

Guillaume de l'Aubespine was Claude's son, a councillor of state and ambassador to England.

Madeleine de l’Aubespine (1546–1596) was a French poet, who corresponded with Ronsard. She married Nicolas de Neufville, seigneur de Villeroy.Charles de l'Aubespine (1580–1653) was ambassador to Germany, the Low Countries, Venice and England. He was Keeper of the Seals, from 1630–1633, and 1650-1651.

François de L'Aubespine, marquis de Hauterive (c. 1584-1670) was a French general. Born into an old family of counselors and secretaries of state, he was the son of Guillame de L'Aubespine, Baron of Chateauneuf, and his brother Charles L'Aubespine, marquis de Châteauneuf. He fought in the Eighty Years' War beginning in the early seventeenth century, serving the states of Holland against Spain. At the siege of Jülich in 1610, his name appears among the officers of the regiment of Bethune. In 1644 he was colonel of a French regiment. The Marquis de Hauterive was general of the French infantry in Holland and governor of Breda. He later became lieutenant-general of the armies of the king. He won the confidence of Prince Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange, because of his opposition to Cardinal Richelieu. He married Eleanor of Volvire, Marchioness of Ruffec; they had a daughter, Charlotte, mother of the Duc de Saint-Simon, famous diarist.The family fell into poor circumstances and became extinct in the 18th century.

Maria of Orange-Nassau (1642–1688)

Maria of Nassau or Maria of Orange-Nassau (5 September 1642, The Hague - 20 March 1688, Kreuznach) was a Dutch princess of the house of Orange and by marriage pfalzgräfin or countess of Simmern-Kaiserslautern.

Nieuwe Kerk (Delft)

The Nieuwe Kerk (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈniʋə ˈkɛrk]; English: New Church) is a Protestant church in the city of Delft in the Netherlands. The building is located on Delft Market Square (Markt), opposite to the City Hall (Dutch: Stadhuis). In 1584, William the Silent was entombed here in a mausoleum designed by Hendrick and Pieter de Keyser. Since then members of the House of Orange-Nassau have been entombed in the royal crypt. The latest are Queen Juliana and her husband Prince Bernhard in 2004. The private royal family crypt is not open to the public. The church tower, designed by Pierre Cuypers and completed in 1872 , is the second highest in the Netherlands, after the Domtoren in Utrecht.


The Oranjezaal refers to a painted ballroom in the Royal palace Huis ten Bosch in the Hague. It was once, together with its neighboring Chinese room, part of the first national museum of the Netherlands founded in 1800 called the Nationale Konst-Gallery. The supervisor Cornelis Sebille Roos appointed Jan Gerard Waldorp as the first custodian and curator to receive visitors (for 6 stuivers) and explain the collection.

The Oranjezaal or Orange room was commissioned upon the death of Frederik Hendrik in 1647 and was built during the years 1648-1651 by Jacob van Campen under the direction of Constantijn Huygens and Amalia van Solms. The painters were chosen as the best of the Netherlands who painted in the style of Rubens, and were mostly of the Catholic faith. A total of 31 paintings were made to decorate the room from floor to ceiling and the result became part of the first national museum of the Netherlands. It is still considered one of the highlights of Dutch Golden Age painting, but is not open to the public.

Besides Jacob van Campen, the painters Theodoor van Thulden, Caesar van Everdingen, Salomon de Bray, Thomas Willeboirts Bosschaert, Jan Lievens, Christiaen van Couwenbergh, Pieter Soutman, Gonzales Coques, Jacob Jordaens, Pieter de Grebber, Adriaen Hanneman and Gerard van Honthorst all made contributions.

Princess Henriëtte Amalia of Anhalt-Dessau

Henriëtte Amalia Maria von Anhalt-Dessau (Kleve, 16 August 1666 – Dietz an der Lahn, 18 April 1726) was the daughter of John George II, Prince of Anhalt-Dessau, and Henriëtte Catharina of Nassau and the granddaughter of Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange.


Rheinberg is a town in the district of Wesel, in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is situated on the left bank of the Rhine, approx. 10 km (6.2 miles) north of Moers and 15 km (9.3 miles) south of Wesel.

It comprises the municipal districts of Rheinberg, Borth, Budberg, and Orsoy.

During the Dutch Revolt Rheinberg became known as the whore of war since it was captured and retaken so many times. First taken in 1590, then 1597, 1599, 1601, 1606 and finally where Prince Rupert of the Rhine gained his first military experience fighting alongside the Protestant Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange in 1633.

A century later the Battle of Rheinberg was fought on 12 June 1758, during the Seven Years' War.

It is the location of a Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery, where 3,327 Commonwealth servicemen of the Second World War are buried or commemorated. The majority of those now buried in the cemetery were airmen re-interred from German cemeteries after the war. The men of the other fighting services buried there mostly lost their lives during the Battle of the Rhineland to the Elbe.It is the home town of the supermodel Claudia Schiffer, who still sometimes resides in Xanten, a historic town located about 15 km (9.3 miles) away from Rheinberg.

It is the home town of Isabell Werth (born July 21, 1969 in Rheinberg), who is a German equestrian and world champion in dressage.

Rheinberg is also the site of a 110,000 square meter fulfilment warehouse.Rheinberg is also home to Underberg, one of the most famous liquor makers in Germany.

Siege of Breda (1637)

The Fifth Siege of Breda (21 July – 11 October 1637) was an important siege in the Eighty Years' War in which stadtholder Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange retook the city of Breda, which had last changed hands in 1625 when the Spanish general Ambrogio Spinola conquered it for the Spanish Habsburgs. Hereafter, the city would remain in the hands of the Dutch Republic until the end of the war.

Siege of Groenlo (1627)

For other sieges of the town see Siege of Groenlo.The Siege of Grol in 1627 was a battle between the Army of the Dutch Republic commanded by Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange and the Spanish controlled fortified city of Grol (now known as Groenlo), during the Eighty Years War and the Anglo–Spanish War in 1627. The Spanish army led by Hendrik van den Bergh came to relieve Grol, but it came too late. The siege lasted from 20 July until 19 August 1627, resulting in the surrender of the city to the army of the United Provinces.During the siege, a-16 kilometer-long circumvallation line was made around Grol in order to prevent the enemy from leaving and to prevent liberation of the city from the outside. Ambrosio Spinola had used a similar technique during the Siege of Breda (1624), and after the successful siege of Grol Frederic-Henry would later use it in other sieges in the Netherlands, such as at the Siege of 's-Hertogenbosch. The success at Grol provided the first serious victory on land for the Republic after the Twelve Years' Truce.

Siege of Venlo (1637)

The Siege of Venlo was an important siege in the Eighty Years' War that lasted from 20 to 25 August 1637. The Cardinal-Infante Ferdinand of Austria, Governor of the Spanish Netherlands, retook the city of Venlo from the United Provinces, which had taken control of it in 1632 during the offensive of Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange against Maastricht. The capture of Venlo and Roermond, which was surrendered to the Cardinal-Infante a week later, effectively cut Maastricht from the Dutch Republic, thus preventing further attacks on the Spanish Netherlands from the east. In the southern front Ferdinand lost the towns of La Capelle, Landrecies, and Damvillers to the French, but then he forced them to retreat south of Maubeuge.


Solms-Braunfels was a County with Imperial immediacy in what is today the federal Land of Hesse in Germany.

Solms-Braunfels was a partition of Solms, ruled by the House of Solms, and was raised to a Principality of the Holy Roman Empire in 1742. Solms-Braunfels was partitioned between: itself and Solms-Ottenstein in 1325; itself and Solms-Lich in 1409; and itself, Solms-Greifenstein and Solms-Hungen in 1592. Solms-Braunfels was mediatised to Austria, Hesse-Darmstadt, Prussia and Württemberg in 1806.

Triumph of Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange

Triumph of Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange is a painting by Jacob Jordaens, signed and dated at the bottom left "J JOR fec / 1652".

Stadtholders of Holland, Zeeland and (from 1528) Utrecht

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