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Coat of arms De Graff van Polsbroek as Lords of Purmerland and Ilpendam

De Graeff (also: Graeff and De Graeff van Polsbroek) is an old Dutch patrician family. The family have played an important role during the Dutch Golden Age. Since 1885 the family belonging to the Dutch nobility with the title of jonkheer or jonkvrouw.

Contents

The De Graeff family during the Dutch Golden Age

During the Dutch Golden Age, the De Graeff familiy was very critical of the influence of the House of Orange. the De Graeffs belonged to the republican political movement, also referred to as the ‘state oriented’, as opposed to the Royalists. Together with the Republican political leader Grand Pensionary Johan de Witt, the republican-minded brothers Cornelis and Andries de Graeff strived for the abolition of stadtholdership. They desired the full sovereignty of the individual regions in a form in which the Republic of the United Seven Netherlands was not ruled by a single person. Instead of a sovereign (or stadtholder) the political and military power was lodged with the States General and with the regents of the cities in Holland.

During the two decades from the 1650 to the 1670s the De Graeff family had a leading role in the Amsterdam administration, the city was at the peak of its political power. This period was also referred to by Republicans as the ‘Ware Vrijheid’ (True Freedom). It was the First Stadtholderless Period which lasted from 1650 to 1672uring these twenty years, the regents from Holland and in particular those of Amsterdam, controlled the republic. The city was flush with self confidence and liked to compare itself to the famous Republic of Rome. Even without a stadtholder, things seemed to be going well for the Republic and its regents both politically and economically.

In early 1671, Andries de Graeff was once again put forward as chief-mayor (regent) and managed to gain control with his Republican faction. During the winter of that year it seemed as if – at least in Amsterdam – the Republicans were winning. It was an exceptionally opportune moment to commission a monumental ceiling painting on Amsterdam’s independent position for the ‘Sael’ of his mayor’s residence. De Graeff had a clear message in mind for the ceiling painting: the ‘Ware Vrijheid’ of the Republic was only protected by the Republican regents of Amsterdam. The paintings by Gerard de Lairesse glorify the de Graeff family’s role as the protector of the Republican state, defender of ‘Freedom’. The work of art can be viewed as a visual statement opposing the return of House of Orange.[1]

Some members of them were painted by famous artists like Rembrandt, Gerard ter Borch, Jacob Isaakszoon van Ruysdael, Artus Quellinus and Caspar Netscher.

Prominent members

  • Lenaert Jansz de Graeff (ca 1525/30 - 1578), captain of the Sea Beggars in the Capture of Brielle.
  • Diederik Jansz. Graeff (1529 - 1589), mayor of Amsterdam, merchant.
  • Jacob Dircksz de Graeff (1570 - 1638), regent and mayor of Amsterdam, lord of the semisouverain lordship Zuid-polsbroek, lord of the manor of Sloten, Osdorp and Amstelveen.
  • Cornelis de Graeff (1599 - 1664), regent and mayor of Amsterdam, lord of the semi-sovereign lordship Zuid-polsbroek, lord of the manor of Sloten and Amstelveen, President of the Dutch East Indies Company (VOC).
  • Andries de Graeff (1611 - 1678), minister of finances, regent and mayor of Amsterdam, lord of the manor of Urk and Emmeloord.
  • Pieter de Graeff (1638 - 1707), regent of Amsterdam, lord of the semi-sovereign lordships of Zuid-polsbroek, Purmerland and Ilpendam, President of the Dutch East Indies Company (VOC).
  • Jacob de Graeff (1642 - 1690), advisor of Amsterdam, lord of the semi-sovereign lordship Purmerland and Ilpendam.
  • Cornelis de Graeff II. (1671-1719), lord of the semi-sovereign lordship Purmerland and Ilpendam
  • Johan de Graeff (1673- 1714), advisor of Amsterdam, lord of the semi-sovereign lordship Zuid-polsbroek.
  • Gerrit de Graeff (I.) van Zuid-Polsbroek (1711 - 1752), regent of Amsterdam, lord of the semi-sovereign lordships of Zuid-polsbroek, Purmerland and Ilpendam, President of the Dutch East Indies Company (VOC) and the Dutch West Indies Company (WIC).
  • Johannes de Graeff (1729 - 1813), governor of Sint Eustatius.
  • Gerrit de Graeff II. (1741-1811), regent of Amsterdam, lord of the semi-sovereign lordships of Zuid-polsbroek, Purmerland and Ilpendam.
  • Gerrit de Graeff (III.) van Zuid-Polsbroek (1766-1814), lord of the semi-sovereign lordships of Zuid-polsbroek, Purmerland and Ilpendam.
  • Gerrit de Graeff (IV.) van Zuid-Polsbroek (1797-1870), advisor of Amsterdam, lord of the semi-sovereign lordships of Zuid-polsbroek, Purmerland and Ilpendam.
  • Dirk de Graeff van Polsbroek (1833 - 1916), Diplomat, Generalconsul and Dutch minister in Japan.
  • Andries Cornelis Dirk de Graeff (1872 - 1958), Governor General of Dutch East Indies, Dutch minister for foreign affairs.

See also

De Graeff
House De Graeff van Polsbroek
Preceded by
Family Boelens Loen (enz)
Regent of Amsterdam
1578-1672
Succeeded by
Gillis Valckenier and the Prince of Orange - Faction
Preceded by
House of Ligne
Lord of the Semisouverain Fief Zuid-Polsbroek
1610-1870
Succeeded by
Family De Jong
Preceded by
Family of Lord Overlander and Frans Banning Cocq
Lord of the Free and high Lordship of Purmerend, Purmerland and Ilpendam
1678-1870
Succeeded by
Family De Jong

Notes

Literature

  • Graeff, P. De (P. de Graeff Gerritsz en Dirk de Graeff van Polsbroek) Genealogie van de familie De Graeff van Polsbroek Amsterdam 1882.
  • Bruijn, J. H. De Genealogie van het geslacht De Graeff van Polsbroek 1529/1827.
  • Rowen, Herbert H. (1986) John de Witt - Statesman of the „True Freedom“. Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-52708-2
  • Zandvliet, Kees De 250 rijksten van de Gouden Eeuw - Kapitaal, macht, familie en levensstijl (2006 Amsterdam; Nieuw Amsterdam Uitgevers),
  • Israel, Jonathan I. (1995) The Dutch Republic - Its Rise, Greatness, and Fall - 1477-1806. Clarendon Press, Oxford, ISBN 978-0-19-820734-4
  • Burke, P. (1994) Venice and Amsterdam. A study of seventeenth-century élites.
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