The Correspondence of William of Orange 1549-1584

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The Correspondence of William of Orange 1549-1584

Willem van Oranje op 12-jarige leeftijd. Houtsnede van Cornelis
Anthonisz, 1545 (Rijksprentenkabinet, Amsterdam) Willem van
Oranje op 22-jarige leeftijd. Schilderij van Antonis Mor of Antonio Morio, 1555 (Gemäldegalerie Staatliche
Kunstsammlungen, Kassel) Willem van Oranje op 33-jarige leeftijd.
Schilderij, maker onbekend, 1566 (Kunsthistorisches Museum, Wenen) Willem van Oranje op 46-jarige leeftijd. Schilderij van Adriaen Thomasz Key, 
1579 (Mauritshuis, Den Haag) Willem van Oranje op
50-jarige leeftijd. Schilderij, maker onbekend, 1583 (Stedelijk Museum Alkmaar, Hofje van Paling en van
Foreest) Willem van Oranje op zijn doodsbed. Schilderij van 
Christiaen Jansz van Bieselingen, 1584 (Gemeente Zaltbommel)

Edited by J.H. Kluiver, J.G. Smit, and B.A. Vermaseren

This project aims to present a complete survey of all the surviving correspondence associated with William of Orange (1533-1584). The term ‘correspondence’ is used in the broadest sense and includes not only letters that were sent to or written by William of Orange, but also commissions, petitions, instructions and speeches. Research for this project was carried out in almost 200 archives and libraries in the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, England, France, Italy, Austria, Poland, Spain, Vatican City, Sweden and Switzerland.

So far, 12,609 documents have been found and the oldest letter dates from 1549. Key information on every single letter has been stored in a central database: the date it was written, the correspondent, where it was sent from, where it was found, the type of document (letter, speech, etc.), and a brief description of its contents. Photographs were taken of most of the letters and documents. The films and copies were then scanned and the scanned images saved in a photo database. A link has been created between these digital files and the unique identification number assigned to each letter in the database.

The project makes it possible to carry out research on a number of different levels. For example, within the Netherlands it is possible to examine the contacts that William of Orange had with the national, regional and local authorities as well as private individuals, while on an international level it is possible to explore relations with the Habsburg kings and regents. The database also discloses a great deal of source material about the prince’s relationship with his German family and other in-laws and relatives.

The project menu on the left-hand side will guide you through the various sections. Click on introduction for more information about the background of the letters. Here you will find a description of the project and an explanation of the choices that were made. The Survey of letters gives the complete, unabridged list of all the documents that have been included. Advanced search offers the most extensive search possibilities. Help with searching provides help and offers background information on the search fields. The Bibliography gives complete titles of all the books and articles that have been quoted and also provides assistance with further research. Additional information can be called up about the archives of William of Orange in the Royal Archive. Similarly, additional details about the books that contained examples of official letters can also be called up; these books were used by the clerks when writing official letters to be signed by the prince. The Colophon lists the names of all those who worked on the project.

Recommended guideline for quoting: A [name of correspondent] to B [name of correspondent], date [date of the letter or document], The correspondence of William of Orange no. [personal identification number of letter or document], date it was consulted. URL: http://[nummer].

Example: [William of] Orange to Philip van Hessen, 12-12-1560, The correspondence of William of Orange no. 5097, 8-2-2005. URL: /Onderzoek/Projecten/WVO/brief/5097.

You can carry out a search for the letters using the form below. The advanced search option offers more possibilities.

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