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Battle of the Kattenburgerbrug, Amsterdam  May 30, 1787
Battle of the Kattenburgerbrug, Amsterdam — May 30, 1787
Painting by Jonas Zeuner. Amsterdam Museum

Dutch Patriots' Revolt 1787

The Dutch Patriots Revolt was a Dutch civil war.

It is also called the Dutch Patriot Revolt (singular) or more delicately referred to as the Dutch Crisis of 1787.


Who Fought?

The Patriots


The Orangists


Who Were the Patriots?

Before and during the French Revolution, the Patriotten (Dutch for Patriots) were supporters of the Patriot Party who were in favor of democratic reforms and against the ruling Prince of Orange.

Among them were,

Joan Derk (Derck / Derk) van der Capellen tot den Pol,

Herman Willem Daendels, who after losing this revolt went into exile in Dunkirchen, France, and later joined the French Revolutionary Army.

Rutger Jan Schimmelpenninck

Tom Brady
Tom Brady, New England Patriots,
Totally Unrelated and Nothing to Do With the Subject


Who were the Orangists?

Supporters of William V (Willem V), Prince of Orange, and stadtholder, or Stadhouder, of the Dutch Republic (the United Provinces, the Netherlands), and everything he stood for.


On Whose Side Was the General Public?

From among the Dutch populace, the most supporters for the Patriots came from the city's middle classes. The lower classes preferred William V, while the people in the country remained calm and collected.

The Orangists were strong in the provinces of Gelderland and Utrecht, the Patriots were strong in the province of Holland and in the city of Utrecht.

Here is Holland, Gelderland, and Utrecht on a map:

Map of Holland, Utrecht, Gelderland Provinces
Map of Holland, Utrecht, Gelderland Provinces
Click to enlarge


Who Won? Who Lost?

William V and his supporters had the revolt under control in October 1787, but only thanks to help from Prussia.

In a nutshell, it had come to this as follows:

Back in 1785, Willem V and his wife Wilhelmina of Prussia (Wilhelmine von Preussen) fled the Patriots, left The Hague, province of Holland, and moved to Nijmegen, province of Gelderland.

Willem's supporters wanted him back at The Hague, but gun-shy Willem said that this would only be an option if he was invited there.

Wilhelmina was a different breed entirely. Effectively combining brains with guts, she banked on backup from her brother, who had just recently become  Frederick William II, King of Prussia. So she designed to provoke the Patriots into an incident that would justify a Prussian intervention.

And it worked.

Wilhelmina announced her return from Nijmegen to The Hague. She was arrested at the province border. Prussia took this as an excuse to get involved.


The Arrest of Wilhelmina of Prussia at the Goejanverwelle Lock on June 28, 1787
The Arrest of Wilhelmina of Prussia at the
Goejanverwelle Lock on June 28, 1787

J.J.R. De Wetstein Pfister, Nederlandsche Schoolplaten.

Excellent picture, but maybe untrue. Wilhelmina and her entourage might have been arrested about three miles further south.
Read article here, or this one here.

However, the main point to remember is that Prussian troops were sent in support of the Orangists.

The Dutch Patriots, on the other hand, were sure of French support, but the French had their own problems and handled the Dutch Crisis rather poorly.

(See also Timeline of the French Revolution)


Amsterdam was a Patriot stronghold and therefore a good destination for the Prussian troops.

On October 1, 1787, an armistice between the Patriots at Amsterdam and the Prussians had been concluded. On October 10, 1787, and seeing that the French support didn't materialize, the Amsterdam Patriots gave up.

Prussian Troops Enter Amsterdam at the Leidsepoort - October 10, 1787
Prussian Troops Enter Amsterdam at the Leidsepoort - October 10, 1787
I.M.P. Amsterdam Museum

Most of the Patriots went into exile and William and Wilhelmina returned to The Hague.

The Patriots' Revolt was contained for the moment. However...

French support eventually did show up. In January 1795, the Patriots deposed Prince William V of Orange and installed the Batavian Republic (Bataafse Republiek).

The Dutch celebrated for about two minutes when they realized that their independence had disappeared and the French were now calling the shots.


Battles of the Dutch Patriots' Revolt of 1787

Battle of Vreeswijk
near Utrecht May 9, 1787 Victory for the Patriots

Battle of the Kattenburgerbrug
Amsterdam May 30, 1787 Victory for the Orangists








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