Austrian Netherlands

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Austrian Netherlands
Österreichische Niederlande  (German)
Pays-Bas Autrichiens  (French)
Oostenrijkse Nederlanden  (Dutch)
Belgium Austriacum  (Latin)
Austrian Netherlands 1789.svg
The Austrian Netherlands in 1789
  •   Austrian Netherlands
Map of Austrian Netherlands 1789.svg
StatusProvince of Austria
State of the Holy Roman Empire
Common languagesGerman, French, Dutch, Latin
Roman Catholic
• 1716–1724
Eugene Francis (first)
• 1744–1780
Charles Alexander
• 1793–1794
Charles Louis (last)
• 1714–1716
Lothar Dominik (first)
• 1793–1794
Franz Karl (last)
Historical eraEarly Modern
7 March 1714
8 November 1785
18 September 1794
17 October 1797
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Spanish Netherlands
French First Republic
Today part ofNetherlands

The Austrian Netherlands[nb 1] was the larger part of the Southern Netherlands between 1714 and 1797. The period began with the Austrian acquisition of the former Spanish Netherlands under the Treaty of Rastatt in 1714 and lasted until Revolutionary France annexed the territory during the aftermath of the Battle of Sprimont in 1794 and the Peace of Basel in 1795. Austria, however, did not relinquish its claim over the province until 1797 in the Treaty of Campo Formio.


Silver coin: 1 kronenthaler Maria Theresa, 1767
Silver coin: 1 kronenthaler Francis II, 1793

Under the Treaty of Rastatt (1714), following the War of the Spanish Succession, the surviving portions of the Spanish Netherlands were ceded to Austria.

Brabant Revolution[edit]

In the 1780s, opposition emerged to the liberal reforms of Emperor Joseph II, which were perceived as an attack on the Catholic Church and the traditional institutions in the Austrian Netherlands. Resistance, focused in the autonomous and wealthy Duchy of Brabant and County of Flanders, grew. In the aftermath of rioting and disruption, known as the Small Revolution, in 1787, many of opponents took refuge in the neighboring Dutch Republic where they formed a rebel army. Soon after the outbreak of the French and Liège revolutions, the émigré army crossed into the Austrian Netherlands and decisively defeated the Austrians at the Battle of Turnhout in October 1789. The rebels, supported by uprisings across the territory, soon took control over much of the territory and proclaimed independence. Despite the tacit support of Prussia, the independent United Belgian States, established in January 1790, received no foreign recognition and soon became divided along ideological lines. The Vonckists, led by Jan Frans Vonck, advocated progressive and liberal government, whereas the Statists, led by Hendrik Van der Noot, were staunchly conservative and supported by the Church. The Statists, who had a wider base of support, soon drove the Vonckists into exile through terror.[1]

By mid-1790, Habsburg Austria ended its war with the Ottoman Empire and prepared to suppress the rebels. The new Holy Roman Emperor, Leopold II, was also a liberal and proposed an amnesty for the rebels. After defeating a Statist army at the Battle of Falmagne, the territory was soon overrun and the revolution was defeated by December. The Austrian reestablishment was short-lived, however, and the territory was soon overrun by the French during the French Revolutionary Wars.

Imperial Councillors of State[edit]

The Councillors of state acted as government, and formed the council by imperial consent:[2]

  • The Baron Franz von Reischach, Imperial Diplomat
  • Cardinal von Migazzi
  • Cardinal von Frankenberg
  • the Baron of Gottignies, Imperial Lord Chamberlain
  • Philippe von Cobenzl, vice Chancellor of the Imperial Council of State.
  • Henri d'Ognies, Prince of Grimberghen, Imperial Lord Chamberlain
  • the Count of Neny; president of the Privy Council, member of the Imperial Council of State
  • the Count of Woestenraedt, Imperial Lord Chamberlain.
  • the Marquess of Chasteler, Lord Chamberlain
  • the Count of Gomegnies, President of the Council of Hainaut
  • the Viscount of Villers; Imperial Treasurer General
  • Franz Joseph, Prince of Gavre: Grand Marshall of the Imperial Court of the Archduchess.

French rule[edit]

In 1794, the armies of the French Revolution annexed the Austrian Netherlands from the Holy Roman Empire and integrated them into the French Republic.


  1. ^ Dutch: Oostenrijkse Nederlanden; French: Pays-Bas Autrichiens; German: Österreichische Niederlande; Latin: Belgium Austriacum.


  1. ^ Brown, Kevin (2017). "Artist and Patrons: Court Art and Revolution in Brussels at the end of the Ancien Regime". Dutch Crossing: 1–28. doi:10.1080/03096564.2017.1299964.
  2. ^ Almanach de la cour de Bruxelles sous les dominatione autrichienne et francaise, la monarchie des Pays-Bas et le gouvernement belge, de 1725 a 1840 (etc.)


  • Heinrich Benedikt. Als Belgien österreichisch war. Herold, Vienna, 1965.