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The Dutch nobility is regulated by act of law in the Wet op de adeldom (Law Regarding Nobility, passed into law on August 1, 1994) and is overseen by the Hoge Raad van Adel (High Council of Nobility), an official state institution of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
During the period 1581–1795, when the Netherlands was a republic (Republic of the Seven United Netherlands), the native nobility kept their constitutional significance. Representatives of the knighthoods remained sitting in the regional administrations. In 1795, under the influence of the ideas of the French Revolution, the positions and thus the nobility were abolished.
United Kingdom of the Netherlands
With the establishment of the Sovereign Principality of the United Netherlands in 1813–1815 the rights of the nobility were restored and the peerage obtained official status. In the Constitution it was established that nobility might be granted by the king. By the Sovereign Decree of 13 February 1815, No 60, the ways in which this could happen was determined. Initially by appointment in the (re)established knighthoods, but after a few years only by acknowledgment, incorporation or elevation. The terms refer to the acknowledgment of indigenous titles of nobility existing before 1795, the incorporation of originally foreign titles of nobility, and elevation where entirely new nobility is created.
Constitutional Amendment of 1848
In the constitutional amendment of 1848 was, the feudal society was abolished and again came an end to the constitutional role of the nobility. The only legal right after the 1848 amendment the nobility was allowed to retain was the right to hold a predicate or a title. Even after that time, people acknowledged by the king, could become elevated or incorporated into the Dutch nobility.
Act of Nobility 1994
The former article of the Dutch Constitution regarding nobility was replaced by a separate Nobility Act, which passed into law on August 1, 1994, which codifies the existing practice. According to this law, titles of nobility continue to exist by virtue of the aforementioned three methods, but the possibilities for increase are significantly reduced. In particular, new elevations, which had not taken place since 1939 and which had been abolished by the Council of Ministers in 1953, were restricted by the Nobility Act to members of the royal family. The most recent elevation to the peerage concerns Princess Máxima, in a Royal Decree of 25 January 2002 (Government Gazette 41), due to the fact of her marriage to the Prince of Orange.
Government policy now focusses on rewarding personal merit through a different system of royal honors.
Viscount(This title only exists in the Kingdom of Belgium.)
- Hereditary knighthoods
- Montijn, I. Hoog geboren. Atlas-Contact. 2012 p.30