Vorstin op vredespad | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 131, Issue 4
  • ISSN: 0040-7518
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1163



A hundred years ago, on 10 November 1918, Emperor Wilhelm II fled occupied Belgium, in the face of a revolution and impending civil war in Germany. The Dutch government has always claimed a complete lack of pre-knowledge, and surprise at the Emperor’s arrival in the Netherlands. On the basis of newly found documents this article argues that in the summer of 1918 Queen Wilhelmina and Emperor Wilhelm II had engaged in considerable correspondence, via their courts and diplomats, to explore the possibility of organizing a peace conference in The Hague and a lobby for a . When this option was blocked by the military, the Emperor came to the Netherlands as a last resort and in search of refuge. This article showcases the historical importance of studying the relations between belligerents and neutrals in key moments such as the end of a war, the many hidden layers of diplomacy, and the role befriended royals could still wield within the (constitutional) restraints of their office.


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