The proclamation of the Batavian Republic in 1795 brought an end after over two centuries to the once glorious Dutch Republic. The new state was a virtual satellite of France and stood for the ideals of the French Revolution: liberty, equality, fraternity.

1795-1806 Liberty Tree

Freedom party on Dam Square in Amsterdam on 4 March 1795. Reinier Vinkeles and Daniël Vrijdag after Jacques Kuyper, 1795

Branch from the Liberty Tree placed on Dam Square in Amsterdam to welcome the French troops, January 1795

On 18 January 1795, three days before the French arrived, a revolutionary committee of Patriots took over the administration of Amsterdam. It was a bloodless coup, as it was in most cities and villages around the country.

On 19 January, Amsterdam’s new rulers planted a Liberty Tree on Dam Square, a symbolic act that was emulated around the country. The Batavian Republic was proclaimed. Under the watchful eye of the French, the Patriots began implementing their revolutionary programme. They announced the separation of state and religion, declared all citizens to be equal and established elected representation of the people. However, they were unable to agree on a constitution for a unified Netherlands. While the Patriots argued, the French tightened their grip on the Batavian Republic.