The Kingdom of Holland 1806–10


Map Code: Ax02476

The new kingdom of Holland replaced the Batavian Republic, which was a client state of revolutionary France, founded after the conquest of the Netherlands in 1795. The Republic governed itself, instituting political changes and improvements.  When Napoleon Bonaparte became Emperor of the French in May 1804, he was concerned about maintaining political control over this restless republic. Bonaparte set up a new kingdom, appointing his brother Louis Bonaparte as ruler. The appointment of Louis was intended to exert greater political control over the Netherlands. In 1806 Louis was made a constitutional monarch of the new Kingdom, which had a population of just under two million. The Dutch were concerned that the new king would implement the policy of conscription to help fill the ranks of Napoleon’s armies, which were deployed in Germany and Spain. However, Louis asserted his independence; he learned Dutch, used the Dutch spelling of his name, Lodewijk, and also required his ministers and court also to speak Dutch. He ran his kingdom largely for the benefit of the country and avoided the dreaded issue of conscription. But Napoleon’s patience with the Dutch had finally run out and, in July 1810, he annexed the kingdom into the French Empire.

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