This is a list of monarchs of the Netherlands (Dutch: Koningen der Nederlanden). The list includes the stadtholders of the House of Orange Nassau since 1556, who were voted into office by the semi-independent provinces of the Dutch Republic. From William IV they were the direct male line ancestors of later monarchs when the monarchy was established in 1813. First as a Sovereign Principality, but in 1815 as a Kingdom.
The origin of the Dutch monarchy can be traced back to the appointment of William I, Prince of Orange as stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland and Utrecht in 1559 by Philip II of Spain. However, he was removed from office and became the leader of the Dutch Revolt. Consequently, the States-General appointed him as stadtholder of both rebelling provinces, Holland and Zeeland, in 1572. During the Dutch Revolt, most of the Dutch provinces declared their independence with the Act of Abjuration, signed on 26 July 1581 in The Hague conform the decision made by the States-General. The representative function of the stadtholder became obsolete in the rebellious northern Netherlands – the feudal Lord himself having been abolished – but the office nevertheless continued in these provinces who now united themselves into the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands. All stadtholders after William I were drawn from his descendants or the descendants of his brother, who were also the descendants of his granddaughter Albertina Agnes of Nassau-Orange.
The modern state began in 1813, when the Dutch drove out their French occupiers. They then called back William Frederick, the son of the last stadholder, to head the new government. He turned down the offer of a crown, instead proclaiming himself "sovereign prince." By the end of 1814, he had gained sovereignty over all of the Low Countries, fulfilling his family's three-century dream. In 1815, he raised the Netherlands to the status of a kingdom and proclaimed himself King William I.
Stadtholderate under the House of Orange-Nassau
^Stadtholder of Holland and Zeeland (1585–1625), Utrecht, Guelders and Overijssel (1590–1625), Groningen (1620–1625)
^Stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Guelders, and Overijssel (1620–1625), Groningen and Drenthe (1640–1647)
^Stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Guelders, Groningen, Drenthe and Overijssel
^Stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht and Overijssel (1672–1702), Guelders (1675–1702), Drenthe (1696–1702)
^Hereditary Stadtholder of Friesland (1711–1747), Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht and Overijssel (April/May 1747 – November 1747), Stadtholder of Groningen (1718–1747), Guelders and Drenthe (1722–1747), was formally voted the first Hereditary Stadtholder of the United Provinces (1747–1751)