Ernest Casimir I, Count of Nassau-Dietz

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Ernst Casimir I
Count of Nassau-Dietz
Portrait of Ernst Casimir van Nassau-Dietz (Wybrand de Geest, 1633).jpg
Portrait (1633) by Wybrand de Geest, oil on panel, 66.8 × 58 cm, Rijksmuseum, Muiderslot
Period 1620–1632
Successor Henry Casimir
Born 22 December 1573
Died 2 June 1632(1632-06-02) (aged 58)
Buried Grote of Jacobijnerkerk in Leeuwarden
Noble family House of Nassau
Spouse(s) Sophia Hedwig of Brunswick-Lüneburg
Father John VI, Count of Nassau-Dillenburg
Mother Countess Elisabeth of Leuchtenberg
Engraving of Ernest Casimir I

Ernst Casimir I of Nassau-Dietz (22 December 1573 in Dillenburg – 2 June 1632 in Roermond) was count of Nassau-Dietz and Stadtholder of Friesland, Groningen and Drenthe.


Sophia Hedwig and some children, by Paulus Moreelse.
Prince Frederick Henry and Count Ernst Casimir during the Siege of 's-Hertogenbosch

He was the eleventh child of John VI, Count of Nassau-Dillenburg and Countess Elisabeth of Leuchtenberg.

After the death of his father, his counties Nassau-Dillenburg, Nassau-Siegen, Nassau-Diez and Vianden were divided among his five living sons. Ernst Casimir followed him as Count of Nassau-Dietz in Diez, Germany. In 1631 he also inherited the small county of Spiegelberg (near Lauenstein).

Ernst Casimir was primarily known as an outstanding military leader during the Eighty Years War. He served under Maurice of Nassau, Prince of Orange in the siege of the cities of Steenwijk and Oldenzaal, and Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange during the Siege of Groenlo (1627) and the Siege of 's-Hertogenbosch. As Stadholder of Groningen he founded the Nieuweschans fortress in 1628. Although he owned little in Friesland, he was popular there, and people granted his heir the right to rule after his death.


He was killed by a bullet at the Siege of Roermond while he was inspecting the trenches in June 1632. His son, Hendrik Casimir I succeeded him as count of Nassau-Dietz and as stadholder of Friesland, Groningen and Drenthe.


In 1607 Ernst Casimir married Sophia Hedwig of Brunswick-Lüneburg, daughter of Henry Julius, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg. From this marriage nine children were born:

  • stillborn daughter (1608)
  • stillborn son (1609)
  • unnamed son (1610–1610)
  • Hendrik Casimir I of Nassau-Dietz (Arnhem, 1612–1640)
  • Willem Frederik of Nassau-Dietz (Arnhem, 1613–1664), married Albertine Agnes of Orange-Nassau.
  • Elisabeth (Leeuwarden, 25 July 1614 – Leeuwarden, 18 September 1614)
  • Johan Ernst (Arnhem, 29 March 1617 – May 1617)
  • Maurice (Groningen, 21 February 1619 – Groningen, 18 September 1628)
  • Elisabeth Friso (Leeuwarden, 25 November 1620 – Groningen, 20 September 1628)



Ernest Casimir I, Count of Nassau-Dietz
Born: 22 December 1573  Died: 2 June 1632
Political offices
Preceded by
Willem Lodewijk
Stadtholder of Friesland
Succeeded by
Henry Casimir
Preceded by
Maurice of Nassau
Stadtholder of Groningen and Drenthe
Regnal titles
New title Count of Nassau-Dietz
Succeeded by
Henry Casimir