De Belgische orangistische adel, deel II. De rol van de adel in het Belgisch orangisme (1830-1850)


  • Els Witte



When William I of Orange-Nassau became King of the Netherlands (1814-1815), he was fully aware of the influence of the rich, landowning aristocracy in the southern part of the Netherlands and tried hard to have this group on his side. A minority was opposed to the King’s politics, which favoured a more secular society. The majority appreciated that he privileged the aristocracy at his court and gave it considerable influence in the political and administrative elite. Whereas noble opponents joined the Belgian revolution of 1830, loyalists remained faithful to the King and became members of the counter-revolutionary Orangist movement. Some only sympathized, but others were very active members as leaders of brigades or belonging to the core of the movement. In 1839 the Treaty of the 24 Articles was signed by Belgium and the Netherlands. A number of Orangist aristocrats, then, left the movement. Others persisted and waited until the end of the 1840s, when the political movement was neutralized and only a nostalgic cult in remembrance of the lost kingdom survived in some aristocratic families.