Kingdom of Holland


July 5, 2022

The Kingdom of Holland (then spelling: Koningrijk Holland) was the official name of the Netherlands between 1806 and 1810. It was a sister republic or client state of the First French Empire of Napoleon Bonaparte. Napoleon appointed his third brother, Lodewijk Napoleon Bonaparte, as King of Holland.


The kingdom was established to better control the former Batavian Republic. Something similar also happened in Naples and Spain, where Napoleon appointed his older brother Joseph as king. After an orchestrated request from The Hague, the kingdom was established on June 5, 1806, with Louis Napoleon as king. The name of the leading department, Holland, was now given to the whole country. In the Fourth Coalition War, the Prussian East Frisia and the Russian Jeverland were conquered by French and Dutch troops. In 1807 the two areas were merged into the new department of East Friesland, which became part of the Kingdom of Holland. By imperial decree, Vlissingen was placed under French rule in December 1807. King Louis did not live up to Napoleon's expectations. Although Napoleon had urged his brother to remain a Frenchman, Lodewijk Napoleon presented himself as a very 'Dutch' king. He tried to serve Dutch interests instead of his brother's, and to shrink the army instead of increasing it, as his brother wanted. He carried out adverse French measures such as conscription and the Continental System with great reluctance. Lodewijk's attempts to propitiate the Dutch population, however, found no favor in the eyes of his brother. Napoleon was dissatisfied with Louis Napoleon's performance as King of Holland. For example, the Order of the Union, instituted by Louis Napoleon, was not allowed to be worn in the vicinity of the emperor. In the winter of 1809 the end of the kingdom came in sight. An English invasion took place on Walcheren. Although this was repulsed by French and Dutch forces, it further damaged Louis's position as monarch. Napoleon felt that the resistance had started too slowly. In December 1809 Walcheren was placed under French administration. On March 16, 1810, the area south of the Waal and Merwede was annexed by France and a few months later the remaining part of the kingdom. In the hope of preserving Dutch independence, Lodewijk abdicated. He was formally succeeded on 1 July by his young son Napoleon Lodewijk, as King Louis II. However, Napoleon ignored this decision and incorporated the remnants of the kingdom of Holland into the First French Empire by decree dated July 9, 1810. The kingdom was dissolved.

Administrative division

After the establishment of the Kingdom of Holland in 1806, the departmental division was re-established by law of 13 April 1807. The most important change compared to the division during the Batavian Commonwealth was the division of the department of Holland into the departments of Amstelland and Maasland and the division of the new department of Drenthe from the department of Overijssel. The department of Batavian Brabant was renamed to the department of Brabant and the department of City and Country of Groningen to the department of Groningen. It was also determined that the Meuse would form the northern border of Brabant. In July 1807 the department of East Frisia was added, bringing the final number of departments to eleven.

List of departments

Amstelland department department of Brabant Drenthe department department of Friesland Gelderland department Groningen department Maasland department department of Overijssel Utrecht department Zeeland department Department of East Frisia


With the introduction of the Kingdom of Holland, the Batavian Commonwealth came to an end. Lodewijk moved in 1808 d