Frederick Henry (1584-1647), the ‘Conqueror of Cities’

Stadholder Frederick Henry was an extremely capable general, as good as his half-brother, Maurice, from whom he received an excellent military training. During the Eighty Years’ War he succeeded in recapturing many cities, including Den Bosch, Maastricht and Breda, from the Spaniards. These strategic exploits substantially reinforced the Dutch Republic’s position and earned Frederick Henry the name of ‘Conqueror of Cities’.

Influenced by his ambitious consort, Amalia von Solms, he also expanded the prestige, power and wealth of the House of Orange. Together they presided over a dazzling court modelled on other European royal households. The couple built various palaces, including the splendidly decorated Huis Honselaarsdijk near The Hague. Its construction was financed with part of the silver from the conquest of the Spanish Silver Fleet. Frederick Henry was known for his broad-mindedness. This contributed to the Dutch Republic’s policy with regard to religion and conscience, which was extremely tolerant for its time.

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