Netherlands History – From the Batavian Republic to the Kingdom of the Netherlands

By | December 1, 2021

William V became more and more the symbol of conservatism; after an attempt by the patriots to seize power due to the intervention of the Prussian army, the supporters of the reforms, having abandoned the Republic, took refuge in France, where they participated in the Revolution. At their request, revolutionary France waged war on the united provinces in 1793. The French army was forced to retreat, but two years later it invaded again and occupied the country. Thus came in 1795 the proclamation of the Batavian Republic: the Republic of the seven united Provinces had ceased to exist. With the new Constitution of 1798, the executive was entrusted to a directorate, then a large pension was at the head of the government until 1806, and finally a monarchy under Louis, brother of the emperor Napoleon. He kept the crown until 1810, when the Netherlands were incorporated into the French empire. The Russian campaign fueled the liberation movement and already towards the end of 1813 a provisional government was formed, which had the son of William V proclaimed sovereign prince and provided for the enactment of a new Constitution in 1814. The union of the Austrian Netherlands and the bishopric of Liège, together with the conferral of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg to William I, led to the establishment of the Netherlands kingdom, approved at the Congress of Vienna. The new state, however, did not last more than fifteen years: the contrast between the enlightened despotism of the sovereign and the liberalism of the former Austrian Netherlands, and between the Protestants of the North and the Catholics of the South, was too profound. Even from an economic point of view, the union was not very happy, because the free trade of the Netherlands directly damaged Belgium in need of a protectionist policy. For Netherlands history, please check ehistorylib.com.

Thus came the revolt of the Belgians, who in 1830 openly rebelled and proclaimed separation from the Netherlands. In vain did William I oppose the split approved by the great European powers and only in 1839 did he renounce his rights, after having seriously compromised, with his obstinacy, the economic stability of the country. The sovereign, who had now completely alienated the sympathies of the nation, the following year (1840) considered it appropriate to renounce the throne. The successor William II, after having largely restored the state finances, under the pressure of the liberal movement granted in 1848 a new Constitution which sanctioned the ministerial responsibility and instituted, for both chambers of the States General, the representative system. The long reign of his successor William III (1849-90) was characterized by the progressive strengthening of the parliamentary system, for which the credit went above all to the leader of the liberals, JR Thorbecke. He died in 1872, Catholics and Calvinists, bitter enemies until then, began the struggle for state subsidies to their confessional schools in agreement and, after the constitutional reform of 1887, which extended the right to vote to categories that had previously remained excluded, a government of Catholic-anti-revolutionary coalition (so that of the Calvinists was called) approved a law that provided for equal subsidies for private and government schools. In 1887 the first socialist deputy entered Parliament and the social question became increasingly important. The demand for a democratization of the state order was raised from various quarters: the liberals and the social democrats considerably strengthened their position and saw their requests accepted in 1917 with the introduction of universal male suffrage and with the adoption of the proportional elections to Parliament. Already in the elections of 1913 the two progressive parties had been victorious, but the formation of a coalition government was impossible due to the socialist refusal to assume the burdens of power.

The position of the Netherlands during the First World War was very difficult and precarious; the country, while remaining strictly neutral, suffered greatly and had to endure even greater sacrifices than those sustained by the warring states. After the war, disagreements arose with Belgium, which aspired to a plebiscite in Limburg. The ruling coalition, made up of Catholic, anti-revolutionary and Christian-historical elements, remained in power until 1925, when it fell apart following the abolition of political representation at the Vatican. From 1926 to 1939 the formation of a stable government proved impossible and the ministries that followed were all extra-parliamentary. When the Second World War broke out, the Netherlands remained neutral, but the German invasion of May 1940 marked the beginning of a very painful period in their history. Foreign occupation, aggravated by acts of Nazi Germany’s empire (economic exploitation, persecutions, deportations), ruined the country’s economy. anti-revolutionary and Christian-historians, it remained in power until 1925, when it fell apart following the abolition of political representation at the Vatican. From 1926 to 1939 the formation of a stable government proved impossible and the ministries that followed were all extra-parliamentary. When the Second World War broke out, the Netherlands remained neutral, but the German invasion of May 1940 marked the beginning of a very painful period in their history. Foreign occupation, aggravated by Nazi Germany’s acts of empire (economic exploitation, persecutions, deportations), ruined the country’s economy. anti-revolutionary and Christian-historians, it remained in power until 1925, when it fell apart following the abolition of political representation at the Vatican. From 1926 to 1939 the formation of a stable government proved impossible and the ministries that followed were all extra-parliamentary. When the Second World War broke out, the Netherlands remained neutral, but the German invasion of May 1940 marked the beginning of a very painful period in their history. Foreign occupation, aggravated by Nazi Germany’s acts of empire (economic exploitation, persecutions, deportations), ruined the country’s economy. From 1926 to 1939 the formation of a stable government proved impossible and the ministries that followed were all extra-parliamentary. When the Second World War broke out, the Netherlands remained neutral, but the German invasion of May 1940 marked the beginning of a very painful period in their history. Foreign occupation, aggravated by acts of Nazi Germany’s empire (economic exploitation, persecutions, deportations), ruined the country’s economy. From 1926 to 1939 the formation of a stable government proved impossible and the ministries that followed were all extra-parliamentary. When the Second World War broke out, the Netherlands remained neutral, but the German invasion of May 1940 marked the beginning of a very painful period in their history. Foreign occupation, aggravated by Nazi Germany’s acts of empire (economic exploitation, persecutions, deportations), ruined the country’s economy.

Netherlands History - From the Batavian Republic to the Kingdom of the Netherlands