Diederik Jansz. Graeff

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Diederik Jansz. Graeff
Dirk Jansz Graeff.jpg
Regent and Mayor of Amsterdam
In office
1578 – ?
Personal details
DiedJuly 27, 1589
Political partyStates Faction
Spouse(s)1) Agnies Pietresdr van Neck
2) Jan Claes Cat
RelationsAdmiral Jacob Cornelisz van Neck (distant cousin via Agnies Pietersdr van Neck)
ChildrenWeyntje, Jan (or Johan), Jacob, Pieter, Cornelis
ResidenceHouse De Keyser on the Damrak in Amsterdam, country house Vredenhof near Voorschoten
Professionmerchant and Ship-owner
Epitaphimage of Diederik Jansz Graeff at the Oude kerk (Amsterdam)

Diederik Jansz Graeff, also Dirk Jansz Graeff, Lord of the manor Vredenhof (Amsterdam 1532[1] – Jul 27 1589), first illustrious member of the De Graeff family, was a rich merchant, ship-owner and politician. Diederik Graeff was also the founder of a regent dynastie of the Dutch Golden Age [2] and the short time of the First Stadtholderless Period that retained power and influence for centuries and produced a number of ministers. He was the first Mayor of Amsterdam from the De Graeff family.[3]

Family De Graeff[edit]

During the Dutch Golden Age, the De Graeff family were very critical of the Orange family’s influence in the Netherlands. Together with the Republican-minded family Bicker, the De Graeffs strived for the abolition of stadtholdership. They desired the full sovereignty of the individual regions in which the Republic of the United Seven Netherlands were not ruled by a single person. Instead of a sovereign (or stadtholder) the political and military power was lodged with the States General and with the regents of the cities in Holland.[4] Diederik Jansz.

Graeffs parents were Jan Pietersz Graeff, a rich cloth merchant and advisor of Amsterdam, and Stein Braseman.[5] His older brother was Lenaert Jansz de Graeff, perhaps ident with "Monseigneur de Graeff", a captain of the Sea Beggars in the Capture of Brielle.

marriage and children[edit]

Diederik was married to Agnies Pietresdr van Neck. Among their children were:


Diederiks was a merchant, he bought and sold steel at his house De Keyser in a street, now called Damrak. Like his brothers Jan, Lenaert and Jacob, Diederik was one of the richest inhabitants of Amsterdam. In 1564 Diederik was a member of a delegation who spoke with the Spanish Regent about the political situation in Amsterdam and the province Holland. In 1567 he was against Charles de Brimeus entry in Amsterdam.[7] In March of that year, backed by the brothers De Graeff and a large part of the bourgeoisie Henry, Count of Bréderode became the Generalcaptain of the city.

Diederik Graeff was also a friend of William the Silent.[8] The Prince visited him at his house in Amsterdam. The armchair which was used by Prince William was now part of the collection of the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam. This hooded chair is a unique example of an item of formal furniture from the estate of a late 16th-century Amsterdam burgomaster. Attached to the back of this armchair is a copper plate with the words from Pieter de Graeff "Willem the First, Prince of Orange, set in this chair in 1578 when he stayed with my great-grandfather, Burgomaster Dirk Jansz de Graeff, who then lived in a house called De Keijser by the water." [9] In 1576 Graeff was a delegate of the States-General of the Netherlands. In 1578 Graeff was made regent-mayor of Amsterdam, by influence of Willem of Orange. Between the same year and his death in 1589 Graeff was a councillor of the city.[10]

Diederik's tomb chapel is located in the Oude Kerk at Amsterdam.[11]

History of the first De Graeffs in Amsterdam[edit]

Pieter Graeff[edit]

Pieter (ca 1485/90-?) was a member of the vroedschap and advisor of Amsterdam. Some old sources called him a son of Wolfgang von Graben, a member of the Austrian noble family Von Graben von Stein.[12] He was married to Griet Pietersdr. Berents, and they were the parents of Jan Pietersz Graeff (?-1553).[13]

Jan Pietersz Graeff[edit]

Jan (?-1553) was the oldest son of Pieter, and was married to Stein Braseman. He was a member of the vroedschap and in 1543 an advisor of the city. He lived at the house De Keyser on an old street called Vijgendam. De Graeff was a cloth merchant and sold his fabric to Antwerpen. After his work in Noord-Brabant, he returned to Amsterdam and died in the year 1553. He had three sons: Pieter (?-1547), Lenaert (1525/30-1578), Diederik (describes here) (1529–1589) and Jacob.[14]



  • Graeff, P. De (P. de Graeff Gerritsz en Dirk de Graeff van Polsbroek) Genealogie van de familie De Graeff van Polsbroek (Amsterdam, 1882)
  • Bruijn, J. H. De Genealogie van het geslacht De Graeff van Polsbroek 1529/1827
  • Brugmans, Hajo Geschiedenis van Amsterdam (1973)

External links[edit]