Vrienden van vroeger | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 132 Number 3
  • ISSN: 0040-7518
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1163



In 1806, at Napoleon’s behest, Louis Bonaparte suddenly became the foreign king of a former republic. Confronted with the problem of finding competent and trustworthy senior court dignitaries in this alien environment, he initially resorted to appointing French friends and confidants. Louis’ choice was far from unique: his crowned relatives elsewhere, by necessity, opted for the same solution. This article reconstructs the early household composed by Louis and compares it to the households in the other satellite states. The juxtaposition not only highlights Napoleon’s constant interference in nominations, but also reveals some inconsistencies in the Emperor’s attitude. In addition, it emphasizes the marked impact of local conditions. Contrary to the situation in the other Napoleonic kingdoms, no Frenchmen entered the government posts in Holland, yet they dominated in senior court office. The comparison also helps to explain the remarkably rapid disappearance of French court dignitaries from Holland, prompting the ‘Dutchification’ of the king’s entourage familiar from earlier historiography.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): court dignitaries; Kingdom of Holland; Louis Bonaparte; Napoleonic era; royal household
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