Hendrik Van der Noot

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Hendrik Van der Noot
Henri van der Noot 1790.jpg
Prime Minister of the
United States of Belgium
In office
11 January 1790 – 2 December 1790
Personal details
Born (1731-01-07)7 January 1731
Brussels, Brabant
Died 12 January 1827(1827-01-12) (aged 96)
Strombeek, Netherlands
Political party Statist

Hendrik Karel Nicolaas van der Noot (7 January 1731 – 12 January 1827), was a jurist, lawyer and politician from Brabant. He was one of the main players of the Brabant Revolution (1789–1790) against the Austrian rule of Joseph II. This revolution led to the short-lived existence of the United States of Belgium with himself as Prime Minister[1] (11 January 1790 – 2 December 1790).


He was the son of Nicolas van der Noot, Lord of Vreschem, and is distantly related to the current Marquess of Assche.


Two lawyers, Jan Frans Vonck and Hendrik Van der Noot, were the leaders of the revolt but each represented a different faction. The Vonckists were inspired by the French Revolution (1789–1799) and sought a link-up with the people and the patriot army. The Statists led by Van der Noot strived for the restoration of old privileges of the nobility and the church such as the "Joyous Entry" and sought cooperation with the Dutch Republic.

In contrast to Vonck, who was of the opinion that the Belgian people themselves had to fight against the Austrian despot, Van der Noot had more confidence in obtaining foreign support.[2] In 1788 Van der Noot travelled to England, the Dutch Republic and Prussia to get attention for the cause of Brabant liberty. Only Prussia, which itself had beaten the Dutch patriots in 1787, was inclined to support the Belgian patriots as they were at that time anti-Austrian. Van der Noot had less success seeking support from the last Grand Pensionary of Holland, Laurens Pieter van de Spiegel.

In October 1789 Van der Noot and General Vander Meersch with a small patriot army from Breda captured the entire province of Brabant. In his first concurred (or freed) town, Hoogstraten, Van der Noot published his Manifesto of the Brabant People on 24 October 1789. The document explains why the people of Brabant have the right to disobedience against a ruler. The main argument is that the will of a nation is the highest law and if that is violated by a ruler the nation has the right to revolt against the ruler.

Gravestone of Hendrik van der Noot

Van der Noot captured Turnhout, defeating the Austrians in the Battle of Turnhout on 27 October and Ghent was taken on 13 November. On 17 November the imperial regents Albert of Saxony and Archduchess Maria Christina fled Brussels. The remains of the imperial forces withdrew behind the citadel walls of Luxembourg and Antwerp.

Van der Noot declared Brabant independent, and all other provinces of the Austrian Netherlands with the exception of Luxembourg soon followed suit. On 11 January 1790 they signed a pact, establishing a confederation, headed by Van der Noot, under the name Verenigde Nederlandse Staten/États-Belgiques-Unis (United States of Belgium).[2]

When Prussia abandoned the revolt after the signing the Convention of Reichenbach (27 July 1790) with Austria the fragile state soon came under attack by the Austrian troops of Leopold II, who had succeeded his brother Joseph II after the latter's death on 20 February 1790. In November 1790 Van der Noot had to flee to the Dutch Republic and thereafter to England. In 1792 he made an appeal for cooperation with the French occupiers (1794–1815). He returned to Brabant but was arrested 1796 and imprisoned in 's Hertogenbosch.

He died in 1826 in Strombeek and his tomb is located in the wall of the vicar's compound of the Sint-Amandsparochie in Strombeek-Bever.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Index Ng-Nz". rulers.org. 
  2. ^ a b Blom, J. C. H.; Lamberts, E., eds. (2006). History of the Low Countries (New ed.). New York [u.a.]: Berghahn Books. p. 293–294. ISBN 978-1845452728. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
New title Prime Minister of the United States of Belgium
11 January 1790 – 2 December 1790
Title next held by
Étienne de Gerlache