Sylvain Van de Weyer

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Sylvain Van de Weyer
Prime Minister of Belgium
In office
30 July 1845 – 31 March 1846
Monarch Leopold I
Preceded by Jean-Baptiste Nothomb
Succeeded by Barthélémy de Theux de Meylandt
Personal details
Born (1802-01-19)19 January 1802
Leuven, France
(now Belgium)
Died 23 May 1874(1874-05-23) (aged 72)
London, United Kingdom
Political party Liberal Party
Alma mater State University of Leuven

Jean-Sylvain Van de Weyer (19 January 1802 – 23 May 1874) was a Belgian politician, and then the Belgian Minister at the Court of St. James's, effectively the ambassador to the United Kingdom.

Van de Weyer was born in Louvain (Leuven); his family relocated to Amsterdam in 1811. The family returned to Leuven when his father, Josse-Alexandre (1769–1838), was named police commissioner for the city. Jean-Sylvain studied law at the State University of Louvain and set up as a lawyer in Brussels in 1823. Here he frequently defended newspapers and journalists which fell foul of the government of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands, of which modern Belgium then formed the southern half.

Statue of Sylvain Van de Weyer on the Kapucijnenvoer in Leuven, built by public subscription.
Monsr. & Madame Van de Weyer, in the 1860s.

On the outbreak of the Belgian Revolution in 1830, Van de Weyer was in Leuven, but hurried to Brussels where he became a member of the central committee of the Provisional Government of Belgium. His command of the English language resulted in him serving as a diplomatic representative of the revolutionaries. King Leopold I appointed Van de Weyer his "special representative" in London.

Madame Van de Weyer (Elizabeth Anne Sturgis Bates) (d.1878), from a print after Thomas Sully

Van de Weyer later served as the eighth Prime Minister of Belgium. He was Vice-President of the London Library from 1848 till his death in 1874.


The grandson of Jean-Baptiste or Jean-Sylvain Van de Weyer, originaire de bourgeois family of Bautersem, avait acquis le droit de bourgeoisie à Louvain en 1779, and son of Josse-Alexandre van de Weyer (1769–1838), by his wife Martine Goubau/Françoise-Martine Goubeau (died Brussels 11 June 1853, aged 73 7 months), (daughter of Josse Goubeau, commissaire de police de la quatrième section de Bruxelles),[1] he married Elizabeth, only daughter of Joshua Bates of Barings Bank, and formerly of Boston, in 1839.

Van de Weyer engraved by I. Thomson after a painting by Wappers. A pair with the print after Sully of his wife.

They had two sons and five daughters, who were brought up in Marylebone and on their country estate at New Lodge in the parish of Winkfield in Berkshire. Their youngest daughter, Eleanor, was the mother of Sylvia Brett, last Ranee of Sarawak. Their second daughter Alice Emma Sturgis van de Weyer (d. 4 February 1926) married 15 August 1878, Major Hon. Charles Brand (1855-1912), MFH, of Littledene, near Glynde, East Sussex, fourth son of Speaker Brand. The eldest son Lt. Colonel Victor William Bates Van de Weyer, was educated at Eton and was there Captain of Lower boats and rowed in the winning Eton crew against Radley in Henley on 26 June 1858, when the prize medals were presented by his father. Victor married Lady Emily Georgiana daughter of William Craven, 2nd Earl of Craven.


References and external links[edit]

  • Tribute to his father-in-law Joshua Bates (A Memorial of Joshua Bates from the City of Boston, Boston, 1864).
  • Biographie nationale de Belgique, par Herman Vander Linden, t. XXVII, 1938, col. 245-273;
  • J. BARTELOUS, Nos premiers ministres de Léopold Ier à Albert Ier 1831-1934, Bruxelles, Collet, 1983;
  • Posthumous miniature, by William Charles Bell, of Van de Weyer in the Royal Collection
  • Les Fondateurs de la Monarchie Belge, Sylvain Van de Weyer MINISTRE D'ETAT Ancienne Membre Gouvernment provisoire et ancien ministre plénipotentiaire de Belgique a Londres D'APRÈS DES DOCUMENTS INÉDITS, by THÉODORE JUSTE, I + II, BRUXELLES, published by C. MUQUARDT, (HENRY MERZBACH, SUCCESSEUR MÊME MAISON A GAND ET A LEIPZIG [and Trubner, London]), 1871. Here readable.
  • (ARCHIVES GENERALES DU ROYAUME), Inventaire des papiers de Sylvain Van de Weyer, by Lucienne Van Meerbeeck, CONSERVATEUR BRUXELLES 78, GALERIE RAVENSTEIN 1960. [1]
  • Sylvain Van de Weyer at Stad Leuven (Dutch)
Political offices
Preceded by
Jean-Baptiste Nothomb
Prime Minister of Belgium
Succeeded by
Barthélémy de Theux de Meylandt