Netherlands, Kingdom of the

Netherlands, Kingdom of the

 

(1815–30), a kingdom formed by the Congress of Vienna (1814–15), comprising the Netherlands and Belgium under the rule of the Orange-Nassau dynasty. Within the kingdom the Calvinist commercial and colonialist Netherlands dominated over industrially developed Catholic Belgium. The antidemocratic constitution of 1815 granted each part of the kingdom 55 seats in the lower chamber of the States General, although Belgium had a much larger population. Most of the posts in the bureaucracy and the army were held by Dutchmen. The amalgamation of government debts (the Netherlands, 589 million guldens; Belgium, 27 million guldens) resulted in a tax increase in Belgium, and customs duties were lowered in the interest of Dutch commercial capital. Under a law promulgated in 1825 many Catholic schools were shut down in Belgium, and the opposition press was persecuted. The creation of the kingdom to the detriment of the Belgian population intensified the discontent of all classes of Belgian society. The Belgian revolution of 1830 led to Belgium’s secession and the break-up of the kingdom.

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