Utrecht Monastery

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Banner of the Holy Roman Emperor with haloes (1400-1806) .svg
Territory in the Holy Roman Empire
Utrecht Monastery
coat of arms
Coat of arms diocese of Utrecht.png
Sticht-Oversticht Utrecht.png
Alternative names Dutch: Sticht Utrecht, Utricht
Arose from formed since the 11th century
Form of rule until 1524: electoral principality / corporate state
Ruler / government Prince-Bishop , Administrator or vacant : General Chapter
from 1524: Governor
Today's region / s NL-UT / NL-OV / NL-DR
Parliament Reichsfürstenrat , ecclesiastical bank: 1 viril vote
Reich register 50 horsemen, 205 foot soldiers, 325 guilders (1522)
Reichskreis Lower Rhine-Westphalian until 1548 , then Burgundy
Capitals / residences Utrecht , Wijk bij Duurstede , Deventer
Dynasties 1524: Habsburgs
1556: Spanish Habsburgs
Denomination / Religions Roman Catholic , Jewish minority
Language / n Latin , Dutch

Incorporated into 1579/81: States General

The Hochstift Utrecht (Ndl. Sticht Utrecht ) was the secular domain of the bishops of Utrecht and a territory in the Holy Roman Empire . It emerged from the 11th century and existed as an independent power until the 16th century. Then it fell to Spain. The area joined the emerging Netherlands in 1579 as part of the Union of Utrecht .



After failed approaches in the 7th century, including around 690 by Willibrord , he was only able to resume the Frisian mission in 719/22 and is considered the first bishop of the diocese. A permanent organization of the Frisian diocese did not follow until the second half of the 8th century. An uninterrupted line of bishops began with Bishop Alberich (around 777). It was subordinate to the Archbishop of Cologne . The area of ​​the diocese comprised the part of today's Netherlands lying north of the Waal up to almost the river Ems .

During the Norman incursions in the 9th century, the bishops fled to Deventer . Since Bishop Balderich (917 / 18–975), the bishops came back to Utrecht in 929. The destroyed city has now been rebuilt. During his time, the diocese belonged to the West Franconian Empire at times . But Balderich submitted to the East Franconian King Heinrich I.

During the investiture controversy, the bishops mostly held the emperor. Bishop Wilhelm I of Utrecht announced the excommunication of Gregory VII in 1076 . His successor, Konrad, was the educator Heinrich V. With exceptions such as Bishop Godebold , the bishops mostly remained loyal to the emperor. In the centuries that followed, the bishops, as imperial princes, acted increasingly independently of royal influence. Especially since the time of Henry VI. the imperial influence subsided.

Over time, the bishops in the city of Utrecht lost much of their secular rights to citizenship. There were also conflicts with the ministerials. The general chapter, to which other high clergy belonged in addition to the cathedral chapter, also increasingly gained a strong position .

Outwardly they were in conflict with the Counts of Holland and the Counts of Geldern. From the end of the 13th century pressure from Brabant , Flanders and Hainaut also increased. The most important prince-bishop in the 14th century was Jan van Arkel (1342-1364), who saved the bishopric in numerous armed conflicts with Holland and Geldern, but also introduced spiritual reforms in the diocese.

Territorial development

At the time of Bishop Adalbold (1010-1026) the county of Drenthe in the south of Groningen was acquired as the first secular property . Further acquisitions followed: Teisterbant (1026), a county on the east bank of the Zuidersee (1042), the county in Hamaland (1046), West Friesland (1064), Stavoren (1077), Oster- und Westergau (1086), Ijsselgau (1086). After 1108, the county of Geldern separated the territorial property into two parts. The Niederstift comprised the area around Utrecht between the Rhine and the Zuidersee. The Oberstift was between Deventer and Groningen.

It was not until the late Middle Ages that a certain territorial statehood emerged, with the secular domain of the bishop of Utrecht extending far to the east (Oberstift with Drenthe), to the border of the Münster Niederstift; A disadvantage for the development of sovereignty was that the counts, most recently dukes of Geldern, succeeded in extending their own territory across the bishop's area to the Zuidersee ( Veluwe ). Since 1439, the House of Burgundy claimed suzerainty (umbrella bailiwick) over the monastery of Utrecht and gained significant influence on the occupation of the diocese. David of Burgundy , an illegitimate son of Philip the Good, was bishop between 1457 and 1496.

When the imperial circles were set up in the Holy Roman Empire, the bishopric was initially included in the Lower Rhine-Westphalian Empire (at that time still the Dutch-Westphalian Empire), as was Geldern.

When there were uprisings in the bishopric under Bishop Heinrich von der Pfalz, who was currently at war with money, he transferred the bishopric to Charles V as successor to Burgundy in 1528. Under Habsburg rule, the Niederstift was administered jointly with Holland, while the Oberstift became the province of Overijssel, which initially always had the same governor as Friesland. The Burgundian Treaty of 1548 assigned the areas that came under Habsburg rule after 1521 (Geldern, Utrecht, Cambrai) to the Burgundian Empire .

The Niederstift became part of the Union of the Netherlands ("States General") as the Province of Utrecht in 1579 , the Oberstift as the Province of Overijssel, and the Drenthe region, which actually also belonged to the Oberstift, came under the joint rule of the States General. At the end of the Eighty Years War , the area was completely separated from the Holy Roman Empire.

See also