De verzoening van Rennenberg (1579-1581) - Adellijke beweegredenen tijdens de Opstand anders bekeken | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 122, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 0040-7518
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1163


This article reassesses the motivations of noblemen during the Dutch Revolt by means of a case study of the so-called Treason of Rennenberg. According to the conventional view, on 3 March 1580, Georges of Lalaing, Count of Rennenberg, betrayed his nation by surrendering the city of Groningen to Philip II. He did so because he was a Catholic and an egotistical opportunist, seeking money and offices from the King. This article, however, presents Rennenberg’s ‘treason’ as a reconciliation with his King and the outcome of nine months of negotiations. Hence, his decision to give up his rebellion is assessed within the broader models of early modern nobility and state building, patronage, and particularism. This paper argues that although traditional stereotypes fail to explain fully why Rennenberg became reconciled to Philip, the three components of this model are helpful when considered separately. In a combined and contextualized analysis Rennenberg’s reconciliation is seen as one in which he saved Catholicism in Groningen but let it go in Friesland; in which he promised loyalty to the King without receiving his immediate military assistance; in which he won royal favours but saw other properties confiscated by the rebels; in which he acted in concert with some but not all of his kin; and in which he ceded to local pressures as a provincial governor. It was for precisely these reasons that it took Rennenberg nine months to reach an agreement.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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