William of Holland

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Coat of arms of Wilhelm II of Holland in a medieval manuscript.
Seal with the image of Wilhelm of Holland
Grave of Wilhelm II in the choir church of Middelburg Abbey

Wilhelm von Holland , Dutch Willem , (* February 1228  ? † January 28, 1256 at Hoogwoud , Opmeer , Holland ) was from 1234 to 1256 as William II. Count of Holland , from 1248 to 1254 Roman-German counter-king and from 1254 to on his death in 1256, Roman-German king . He came from the Gerulfinger family .


Wilhelm's parents were Count Florens IV of Holland - Zeeland and Countess Mathilde of Brabant . In 1234 he followed his father in the county, where he was under the tutelage of his uncles Wilhelm († 1238) and Otto († 1249) until 1239 .

After the death of the opposing king Heinrich Raspe , Wilhelm was elected king by the papal party in Worringen on October 3, 1247 , as no other German prince was willing to take up the fight against the Hohenstaufen . On November 1, 1248 he was crowned in Aachen , which he had conquered after a protracted siege, by the Archbishop of Cologne, Konrad I of Hochstaden . Since the electors partly spoke out in favor of Staufer Friedrich II and partly wanted neither of them as king, Wilhelm had to return to Holland without being able to do anything. In the same year he built a hunting and pleasure palace on the North Sea coast. Later, with extensions, it was to form the core of the Binnenhof , today the seat of the Dutch parliament in The Hague . Only after Frederick II died in 1250 and his son Conrad had been forced to hurry to Italy to save it for himself, Wilhelm won powerful supporters among them through testimonies of grace and enfeoffments, but especially through marriage with the Guelph house of Braunschweig-Lüneburg Saxon and East Saxon princes, including his father-in-law, Duke Otto I of Braunschweig-Lüneburg , the margrave brothers Johann I and Otto III. of Brandenburg and Duke Albrecht I of Saxony-Wittenberg. After Conrad IV's death in May 1254, Wilhelm was generally recognized as king in the empire, while at the same time falling out with his old patron, the Archbishop of Cologne.

Wilhelm waged a war against Countess Margarete von Flanders , from which he emerged victorious in the battle of Westkapelle . In 1256 he went out to subdue insurgent Frisians , broke through the ice on January 28 on this campaign with his horse near Hoogwoud and was found and killed by the Frisians; the body was buried. It was not until 1282 that his son and successor as Count of Holland, Florens V , found the body and brought it to Middelburg . His grave is there on the south wall of the abbey choir .

Wilhelm was married to Elisabeth von Braunschweig (* around 1235; † 1266), the daughter of Duke Otto's child , since 1252 . The two had two children:

  • Florens V , Count of Holland (1254–1296)
  • Mechthild (* 1256)


  • Martin Kaufhold :
    • The kings of the interregnum. Konrad IV., Heinrich Raspe, Wilhelm, Alfons, Richard (1245–1273). In: Bernd Schneidmüller , Stefan Weinfurter (Hrsg.): The German rulers of the Middle Ages, historical portraits from Heinrich I to Maximilian I. CH Beck, Munich 2003, pp. 315–339.
    • German Interregnum and European Politics. Conflict resolution and decision-making structures 1230–1280 (= writings of the Monumenta Germaniae Historica. Volume 49). Hahn, Hannover 2000, ISBN 3-7752-5449-8 . ( Technical discussion )

Web links

Commons : Wilhelm von Holland  - album with pictures, videos and audio files


predecessor Office successor
Conrad IV. Roman-German king
Richard of Cornwall
Alfonso X of Castile
Florens IV. Count of Holland
Florens V.