willem lodewijk van nassau

You can tell from his white collar, the expensive clothes and last but not least by the way this man looks you in the eye that this is an important person.

Willem Lodewijk van Nassau Michiel Jansz. van Mierevelt’s studio, 1616

Willem Lodewijk van Nassau Michiel Jansz. van Mierevelt’s studio, 1616

It is William Louis of Nassau, a distant relative of our present king and, in his days, a popular stadtholder. He married his cousin Anna van Nassau, the love of his youth. She died young, when she was pregnant with their first child.

Out of respect for his beloved Anna, William Ludwig never remarried and remained childless. Yet, he went down in history as us heit, ‘our father’, due to his great efforts on behalf of Friesland. He did not only achieve military successes but also founded the University of Franeker in 1585.

After his death, William Louis was succeeded by his brother Ernst Casimir, a far forefather of our present king Willem Alexander’s