Oldenbarneveldt, Johan van

Oldenbarneveldt, Johan van

(yōhän` vän ôl'dənbär`nəvĕlt), 1547–1619, Dutch statesman. He aided William the SilentWilliam the Silent
or William of Orange
(William I, prince of Orange), 1533–84, Dutch statesman, principal founder of Dutch independence. Early Life
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 in the struggle for Dutch independence from Spain and opposed the dictatorial policy set by Robert Dudley, earl of LeicesterLeicester, Robert Dudley, earl of
, 1532?–1588, English courtier and favorite of Queen Elizabeth I. A younger son of John Dudley, duke of Northumberland, he was early brought into the society of Edward VI and Princess (later Queen) Elizabeth.
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, chosen by the States-General as governor-general in 1586. After Leicester's departure (1587) he helped to concentrate military power in the hands of Maurice of NassauMaurice of Nassau
, 1567–1625, prince of Orange (1618–25); son of William the Silent by Anne of Saxony. He became stadtholder of Holland and Zeeland after the assassination (1584) of his father.
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. Made permanent advocate of Holland in 1586, Oldenbarneveldt controlled the civil affairs of the United Provinces (in which Holland was prominent). He represented the patrician manufacturing and commercial oligarchies that ruled the states of Holland; and during his administration Dutch commerce expanded spectacularly, and the Dutch East India Company was founded. He negotiated (1609) a 12-year truce with Spain, despite the objections of Maurice of Nassau, and thus secured virtual recognition of Dutch independence. As leader of the party favoring control of state affairs by the States-General, Oldenbarneveldt was increasingly opposed by the house of Orange. This conflict was aggravated by the fierce struggle of the RemonstrantsRemonstrants
, Dutch Protestants, adherents to the ideas of Jacobus Arminius, whose doctrines after his death (1609) were called Arminianism. They were Calvinists but were more liberal and less dogmatic than orthodox Calvinists and diverged from the teachings of the Dutch
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 and the strict Calvinists; in this quarrel, Oldenbarneveldt and Maurice of Nassau found themselves in opposing camps. In 1618, Maurice, determined to crush the Remonstrants, convoked the Synod of Dort, which condemned their doctrine. Oldenbarneveldt was arrested and, after a highly irregular trial for treason, was sentenced to death. His execution was a judicial murder brought about by his personal enemies; no incriminating evidence has ever been found against Oldenbarneveldt, who was one of the ablest and most patriotic statesmen in the history of the Dutch.
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