Count of Holland

Coat of arms of the Counts of Holland

The Counts of Holland ruled over the County of Holland in the Low Countries between the 10th and the 16th century.

House of Holland

The first count of Holland, Dirk I, was the son or foster-son of Gerolf, Count in Frisia (Dijkstra suggests that Dirk may have been the son of a sister of Gerolf and that his own father died while he was still an infant). He received land around Egmond from Charles the Fat at a place called Bladella (modern day Bladel near Eindhoven, The Netherlands) in 922. This is seen as the beginning of the county of Holland. However, until about 1100, the usual names for the county were West-Friesland, Frisia or Kennemerland; in spite of this the counts from Dirk I onwards are named of Holland.

Note that the chronology of the first few counts is uncertain. The existence of a count between Dirk I and Dirk II was only recently suggested, since it is thought that the references to counts named Dirk between 896 and 988 refer to three, not two, different counts. This third Count Dirk is placed between Dirk I and II and numbered as Dirk I bis to avoid confusion with the already established numbering referring to the other counts of Holland named Dirk.

Name Portrait Birth Marriages Death
Dirk V
c. 1052
son of Floris I and Gertrude of Saxony
bef. 26 July 1083
two children
17 June 1091
aged 38–39
Floris II
the Fat

c. 1080
son of Dirk V and Othelhilde
Gertrude-Petronilla of Lorraine
four children
2 March 1121
aged 40–41
Dirk VI
c. 1114
son of Floris II and Gertrude-Petronilla of Lorraine
Sophie of Salm
bef. 1137
nine children
5 August 1157
aged 42–43
Floris III
c. 1141
son of Dirk VI and Sophie of Salm
Ada of Huntingdon
1162, bef. 28 August
eleven children
1 August 1190
aged 48–49
Dirk VII
c. ?
son of Floris III and Ada of Huntingdon
Adelaide of Cleves
two daughter
4 November 1203
aged ?
with Louis I
c. 1188
daughter of Dirk VII and Adelaide of Cleves
5 November 1203
no issues
c. 1223
aged 34–35
Louis I
with Ada
c. ?
son of Gerhard II, Count of Loon and Adelaide of Guelders
29/30 Jul 1218
aged ?
William I
c. 1141
son of Floris III and Ada of Huntingdon
(1) Adelaide of Guelders
five children
(2) Marie of Brabant
July 1220
no issues
4 February 1222
The Hague
aged 80–81
Floris IV
24 June 1210
The Hague
son of William I and Adelaide of Guelders
Matilde of Brabant
6 December 1224
five children
19 July 1234
aged 24
William II
February 1227
son of Floris IV and Matilde of Brabant
Elisabeth of Brunswick-Lüneburg
25 January 1252
two children
28 January 1256
aged 28

House of Avesnes

When John I died childless, the county was inherited by John II of Avesnes, Count of Hainaut from 1299. John of Avesnes was a son of Adelaide of Holland, sister of William II of Holland.

Name Portrait Birth Marriages Death
John II
c. 1247
son of John I of Avesnes and Adelaide of Holland
Philippa of Luxembourg
twelve children
22 August 1304
aged 56–57
William III
c. 1286
son of John II and Philippa of Luxembourg
Joan of Valois
19 May 1305
eight children
7 June 1337
aged 50–51
William IV
c. 1307
son of William III and Joan of Valois
Joanna, Duchess of Brabant
bef. 27 November 1334
one son
26 September 1345
aged 37–38
Margaret I
with Louis
c. 1311
daughter of William III and Joan of Valois
25 February 1324
ten children
23 June 1356
Le Quesnoy
aged 44–45

House of Wittelsbach

During the rule of Margaret, her son William V had the real power in the county. He became ruler in his own right as a result of the Hook and Cod wars. He was also Duke of Bavaria-Straubing as William I.

There was a war of succession between John III and Jacqueline. This war was finally won by Philip of Burgundy in 1432, who, in the meantime had inherited John's claims on the county. Philip was a nephew of William VI, who had married a daughter of Philip the Bold of Burgundy. In 1432 he forced Jacqueline to abdicate from Hainaut and Holland on his behalf.

House of Valois

House of Habsburg

During the 'foreign rule' by Burgundy and Habsburg, the county was governed by a stadtholder in name of the count. In 1581, the Estates General of the United Provinces declared themselves independent from the Spanish rule of Philip II (who was Philip III of Holland). Until the Treaty of Münster in 1648, the kings of Spain still used the title Count of Holland, but they had lost the actual power over the county to the States of Holland.

The County of Holland and West Frisia 1582–1795

The County remained in existence as a constituent member state of the Dutch Republic until 1795. There were no more Counts however since the Estates of Holland and West-Frisia were the sovereign of the County (although the countship was offered to William the Silent in 1584, shortly before his death). The Stadtholders, who were servants of the Estates were the de facto Chief-Executives during this period.

See also


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