For other uses, see d'Arenberg (disambiguation).
County (Duchy) of Arenberg
Grafschaft (Herzogtum) Arenberg
State of the Holy Roman Empire, then
State of the Confederation of the Rhine
Flag Coat of arms
The Duchy of Arenberg in 1807.
Capital Aremberg
Languages Moselle Franconian
Government Principality
Historical era Middle Ages
  County established ca 1177
   Gained Reichsfreiheit 1549
  Raised to Princely county 1576
  Joined Council of Princes 1580
  Raised to Duchy 1644
  Joined Confederation
    of the Rhine
   Mediatised to Hanover
    and Prussia
1810 1810
   1798 413 km² (159 sq mi)
   1798 est. 14,800 
     Density 35.8 /km²  (92.8 /sq mi)
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Prince-Bishopric of Münster
Electorate of Hanover
Kingdom of Prussia
First French Empire
Grand Duchy of Berg

Arenberg, also spelled as Aremberg or Ahremberg, is a historic county, principality and finally duchy located in modern Germany. The Dukes of Arenberg remain a prominent Belgian aristocratic family.


First mentioned in the 12th century, it was named after the village Aremberg in the Ahr Hills in today's Rhineland-Palatinate.


Aremberg was originally a county. It became a state of the Holy Roman Empire (reichsunmittelbar) in 1549, was raised to a principality in 1576, and finally a duchy in 1645.


The territorial possessions of the dukes of Arenberg varied through the ages. Around 1789 the duchy was located in the Eifel region on the west side of the Rhine, and contained amongst others Aremberg, Schleiden and Kerpen.

However, although the Duchy itself was in Germany, from the 15th century on, the principal lands of the Dukes of Arenberg have been in modern-day Belgium.

The pre-Napoleonic duchy had an area of 413 km² and a population of 14,800. It belonged to the Electoral Rhenish Circle, and was bordered by the duchy of Jülich, the Archbishopric of Cologne, the Archbishopric of Trier, and the county of Blankenheim.


After the French occupation of the west bank of the Rhine around 1798 (see Treaty of Campo Formio and Treaty of Lunéville) the duke of Arenberg received new lands: the county of Vest Recklinghausen, the county of Meppen, and the lordship of Dülmen.


Arenberg joined Napoleon's Confederation of the Rhine, although that did not prevent it being mediatised in 1810, with France annexing Dülmen and Meppen, and the duchy of Berg annexing Recklinghausen.


After Napoleon's defeat in 1814 and the dissolution of the Confederation of the Rhine the former Arenberg territories were divided between the kingdom of Prussia and the kingdom of Hanover. Both in Prussia and Hanover, the dukes became local peers subordinate to the king.


In 1826, the Arenberg territory in Hanover was named duchy of Arenberg-Meppen. Arenberg-Meppen had an area of 2,195 km² and a population of 56,700. The county of Recklinghausen, in Prussia, had an area of 780 km² and a population of 64,700.

The dukes of Arenberg remain a prominent Belgian aristocratic family. The direct family of the reigning duke are called by the nominal title of prince of Arenberg. The ducal family descends agnatically from the House of Ligne.

The forest of Arenberg is located in northeastern France, and is famous for its cobbled roads used in the classic road cycle race Paris–Roubaix. Its areas saw extensive mining in the past.

Counts, Princely Counts and Dukes

Main article: House of Arenberg

Counts of Arenberg (1117–1576)

  • Franko (1117–1129)
  • Henry I (1136–1187)
  • Eberhard I (1188–1202)
  • Eberhard II (1202–1229)
  • Henry II (1220–1250)
  • Gerard (1252–1260)
  • John I (1260–1279)
  • Mathilde (1282–1299)
  • Eberhard (Count of Marck) (1282–1308)
  • Eberhard I (III) (1308–1387)
  • Eberhard II (1387–1454)

Partition into Arenberg and Rochefort

  • John II (1454–1480)
  • Eberhard III (1480–1496)
  • Eberhard IV (1496–1531)
  • Robert I (1531–1541)
  • Robert II (?–1536)
  • Robert III (1541–1544)
  • Margaret (1544–1576)
  • John III (1547–1568)
  • Charles (1568–1576)

Princely Counts of Arenberg (1576–1645)

Dukes of Arenberg (1645–1810)

Mediatised 1810

Non-reigning dukes of Arenberg (1810–present)

See also


  1. Royal News of 2011, Section II Archived August 19, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.


External links

Coordinates: 50°52′45″N 4°42′07″E / 50.8792°N 4.7019°E / 50.8792; 4.7019

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