Austrian Netherlands

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Banner of the Holy Roman Emperor with haloes (1400-1806) .svg
Territory in the Holy Roman Empire
Austrian Netherlands
coat of arms
Flag of the Austrian Netherlands Coat of arms of the Austrian Netherlands
Austrian Netherlands in 1786 (orange)
Administrative division of the Austrian Netherlands in 1789
Alternative names Belgium Austriacum (lat.)
Consist 1714-1795
Arose from Spanish Netherlands
Reichskreis Burgundian Empire
Capitals / residences Brussels
Dynasties Habsburgs
Denomination / Religions Roman Catholic
Language / n French, Latin (also Dutch and German as spoken languages)

Incorporated into First French Republic , from 1814 the Kingdom of the United Netherlands and Grand Duchy of Luxembourg , from 1831 Belgium and Luxembourg

Historical map of the Austrian Netherlands, Luxembourg and the Principality of Liège from around 1730 by Johann Baptist Homann . In addition, the historical boundaries after the Thirty Years' War are drawn

The Austrian Netherlands ( Latin Belgium Austriacum , Dutch Oostenrijkse Nederlanden , French Pays-Bas autrichiens ) roughly comprised the territory of today's Belgium and Luxembourg and existed from the end of the Spanish War of Succession in 1714 until the conquest by French revolutionary troops and the annexation to the French Republic in 1795.


In detail it was


After the Spanish line of the Habsburgs died out and the resulting War of the Spanish Succession , the previously Spanish Netherlands came to the Austrian line of the house. This is how the Austrian Netherlands came into being in 1714. The Allied winners of the war were only unanimous in repelling the French urge to expand. For the southern Netherlands, this meant that Dutch troops were stationed in some important forts and cities . At the same time, the Scheldt remained closed to maritime trade, and the former world trading city of Antwerp continued to be hampered in its economic development. This was laid down in the so-called barrier treaty . The emperor Karl VI. The Ostend company , which was founded , could not use the most suitable port in the country and was therefore severely inhibited in its development.

The first governor was Prince Eugene of Savoy , who, however, was represented by his confidante Ercole Turinetti de Prié . The fact that the prince never assumed his governorate in person may be another reason why the governorship had no support from the estates and the population. 1724 was the sister of Emperor Charles VI. Archduchess Maria-Elisabeth Governor General, Karl Alexander von Lorraine followed in 1744 , who ruled for the first year together with his wife Maria Anna . During the War of the Austrian Succession , they were occupied by French troops under Marshal Hermann Moritz von Sachsen from 1745 to 1748 . In 1780 Prince Georg Adam von Starhemberg ruled , in 1781 Albert Casimir, Duke of Saxony-Teschen. In the same year, Marie Christine Archduchess of Austria followed as co-regent. After the short-lived, independent "Republic of the United Netherlands States " in 1790, Karl Ludwig Archduke of Austria was the last governor from 1793–1794 .

Until the conquest by France during the First Coalition War , the country was ruled by the governors from Brussels.

Barter object

The Austrian Netherlands were offered several times by the Habsburgs as an object of exchange to other powers. In the Seven Years' War France was to receive it for its help in regaining Silesia, the trigger for the Bavarian Succession War was an exchange plan with the Elector Palatinate (the Austrian Netherlands against Bavaria), which Prussia, together with a German coalition of princes , prevented. Incidentally, after 1793, during the French Revolutionary Wars , Prussia did give its consent to the Austro-Bavarian exchange plans in order to obtain Austria's consent to the second partition of Poland agreed between Russia and Prussia . However, the project was no longer feasible: Austria had briefly recaptured the southern Netherlands after the Brabant Revolution and an initial French occupation, but lost it to the French revolutionary armies in 1794. Prussia recognized the new French acquis in 1795, and finally Austria had to cede the lost possessions to France in the Peace of Campo Formio in 1797 and received the French-occupied Veneto as compensation .

Brabant Revolution and the United Belgian States

The inhabitants of the country resisted massively against the centralistic and enlightened-absolutist reforms of Emperor Joseph II. ( Josephinism ). This resistance culminated in the Brabant Revolution in 1789 and in the proclamation of the Republic of the United Belgian States in 1790 . Joseph's brother and successor Leopold II succeeded in ending the unrest, but not in overcoming the contradictions to the various patriotic movements that were constituting themselves at that time as the bearers of the Belgian nation .

In 1792 the Austrian Netherlands was occupied for the first time by French revolutionary armies, after an Austrian reconquest in 1793 then again by French in 1794 and formally annexed to France on October 1, 1795. In 1797, in the Peace of Campo Formio , Austria also formally ceded the Austrian Netherlands to France. The Peace of Lunéville confirmed this in 1801 on behalf of the Holy Roman Empire .

Authorized Ministers

The authorized ministers in the Austrian Netherlands (French Ministres plénipotentiaires des Pays-Bas autrichiens) were the deputies of the general governor and the actual heads of the government.

See also



  • Ignaz de Luca : Geographical Handbook of the Austrian State. Volume 5, 2 section: Burgundy, Lombardy, and Toscana. Joseph V. Degen, Vienna 1792, chapter The Austrian Netherlands, or the Burgundian Circle , pp. 369-580 ( digitized from Google Books , there the entire volume 5).

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