Adel op de pastorie. Aristocratische huwelijken van predikanten in de negentiende eeuw


  • Fred Vogelzang


Prior to 1800 marriages between Dutch Protestant clergymen and noblewomen hardly occurred, whereas this clearly changed in the nineteenth century, since to an increasing extent ministers were deemed to be suitable spouses for elite women. Several developments enhanced the social status of ministers. First, academic training became compulsory for clergymen after 1800; second, their increased income made a more elite lifestyle possible. At least equally important was the changing role of the clergy in King William I’s newly formed Hervormde Kerk, which placed ministers at the very centre of a nationalistic civilization movement. To be able to fulfil that role, the clergy required an elevated social status. Another cause of the increased interaction between Protestant ministers and the nobility was the country’s new Constitution of 1848, as a result of which the nobility lost its formal political power and took on a new role as protectors of the Protestant national heritage, making the Protestant clergy a natural ally. Due to the dearth of personal documents of aristocratic wives of ministers, it is not possible to gather information about their personal motives, but since religion was a central tenet of aristocratic female existence, marrying a clergyman should have been a befitting choice.