Dordrecht – In Dordrecht today begins the First Free State Assembly. Twelve cities speak out if she William of Orange to provide financial support in his struggle against the Duke of Alva, a general who was sent to the Netherlands by King Philip II to put an end to the rebellion against him.

The meeting his emissaries present in Gorinchem, Gouda, Leiden, oudewater, Dordrecht, Alkmaar, Edam, Enkhuizen, Haarlem, Horn, Medemblik and Monnickendam. Other cities such as Rotterdam and Amsterdam have a council which is disposed spanish.

On behalf of the Beggars Willem van der Marck-Lumey present. The talks are led by Philip of Marnix van Sint Aldegonde, one of the counselors of William of Orange.

The meeting is particularly, only because King Philip II or his deputy may convene a council meeting. William of Orange's been five years no longer governor, Since his flight to Germany.

Orange had initially asked Gouda to organize the meeting, but the city felt Dordrecht as more entitled to, Dordrecht as the oldest city in the county Holland.

The Dordrechts Museum came up with an impressive reconstruction (more or less in Day of Then style )


The revolt against the Habsburg-Spanish rule began four years ago, but knew two months ago, a massive march, by victories of the Beggars. Op 1 April Brielle was conquered by the Spaniards. Shortly afterwards Vlissingen, Enkhuizen and Dordrecht.

One of the proposals will be on the table during the State Assembly in Dordrecht or the cities of Orange accept again as governor.

The rebel leader offers in exchange for financial support to protect against the Spaniards. After the capture of Brielle Van Oranje attempts through the east to move into a part of the Netherlands. His army is now engaged in the siege of Roermond.


Furthermore, it is also discussed the role of the watergeuzen in Dordrecht. The Beggars have achieved great victories, but also suffer from a negative image.

The men plunder since 1566 royalist cities and ships. William of Orange knew how to get on his side, by giving them letters of marque. Formally a permission to attack opponents of the uprising. Thus, Monnickendam and Schellingwoude last year sacked.

Brielle two weeks ago nineteen priests were hanged from Gorinchem. That Beggars leader Van der Marck-Lumey net to make much criticism. He was there in person, when the men were hanged.

To further prevent such abuses has William of Orange proposed to convert a form of religious freedom on paper. It is still questionable whether the Beggars will abide by it.

Or the killing of the clerics also Van der Marck-Lumey personally impact is unclear. Despite his cruelty he was very successful and he is seen by many as the face of the uprising.

Hoe ging het verder?

In the Augustinian monastery of William of Orange's proposals on financial support and the role of the Beggars adopted. William of Orange, the governor. Lumey the 'prince' of Holland, a feature on the land so, so he could be better controlled.

Lumey makes a promise that he will abide by the instructions of William of Orange, but a few months later goes wrong. He lets Musius Delft, a close friend of William of Orange, bring to life. Two years later he deposited.

Cities continue Philip II do see as their rightful ruler. Pas in 1581 is really talking about independence in the Act of Abjuration.

Many of the decisions are not taken, moreover at the First Free State Assembly in Dordrecht. After four days, the whole thing wound up in Dordrecht. A few days later the gentlemen further in Rotterdam, to finish then in Delft.

Three years later (1575) is indeed signed the Union of Dordrecht. In it William of Orange officially appointed as governor. Also in alliance and cooperation between the Dutch (and Zeeland) captured cities.

By many people, the Union of Dordrecht is seen as the beginning of the United Netherlands. An important first step is therefore already put over there during the First State Assembly.

Importance to Netherlands

Historians themselves "not quite agree’ about the importance of the First Free State Assembly in Dordrecht in the Dutch history. According to some, the role of this meeting even grossly exaggerated.

In 2015 opened King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands Court, which have just received an additional charge, the position of this meeting.

Even the location controversy. Often the Augustinian monastery is known as the location of the meeting, but others suggest that the Berckepoort must have been the location. The empty Augustine convent was used to capture the court on.

The Dordrechts Museum came up with an impressive reconstruction (more or less in Day of Then style )


History of South Holland: First Free State Assembly

Wikipedia: First Free State Assembly

Wikipedia: Union of Dordrecht

Marcel Tettero: Union of Dordrecht

Dordrecht Monumenteel – Nummer 60 – Herman van Duinen (p. 20)

Text: Dave Datema

published: 01 oktober 2017

story number: 51


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