Sophia Hedwig of Brunswick-Lüneburg

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Sophia Hedwig of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel
Sophia Hedwig van Brunswijk-Wolfenbüttel, gravin van Nassau-Dietz.jpg
Sophie Hedwig of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, in 1620–25
Born (1592-06-13)13 June 1592
Died 13 January 1642(1642-01-13) (aged 49)
Noble family House of Guelph
Spouse(s) Ernest Casimir I, Count of Nassau-Dietz
Father Henry Julius, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel
Mother Princess Elisabeth of Denmark

Sophie Hedwig of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel (13 June 1592 in Wolfenbüttel – 13 January 1642 in Arnhem), was a Duchess of Brunswick and Lüneburg by birth and by marriage a Countess of Nassau-Dietz.


Sophia was the daughter of Duke Henry Julius of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel (1564–1613) and his second wife Princess Elisabeth of Denmark (1573–1625), the eldest daughter of King Frederick II of Denmark.

Sophia took up residence at widow seat, the Countly Castle at Dietz, and managed to minimize damage caused during the Thirty Years' War. She prevented looting and quartering in the city and county of Dietz during the Thirty Years' War by skillfully negotiating with army commanders. Sophia made a name for herself outside the county when she turned to Axel Oxenstierna in 1633 and demanded compensation for the damage his troops had done to her territory. Domestically, she cared for the rural population and made sure there was a sufficient supply of food and water. When Dietz was affected by a plague epidemic in 1635, she was ready to help the suffering population.

Sophia was a Calvinist, but this did not prevent her from benefitting from a cooperation with her brother-in-law John Louis of Nassau-Hadamar, who had reverted to Catholicism.

Sophia Hedwig and some of her children, by Paulus Moreelse.

Marriage and issue[edit]

On 8 June 1607, Sophie Hedwig married Count Ernest Casimir I of Nassau-Dietz (1573–1632). Only two of her children reached adulthood:


In the mid-1990s, the gymnasium in Dietz was named after her: Sophie-Hedwig-Gymnasium, to honor the noble family that ruled Dietz for more than 400 years. Her courage is still seen by historians as a great virtue, providing a timeless rôle model for the youth.

A street in Dietz was also named after her.


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