De eerste minister van de Republiek: De Hollandse raadpensionaris in de zeventiende eeuw

Translated title of the contribution: The First Minister of the Dutch Republic: The Grand Pensionary of Holland in the Seventeenth Century

Research output: ThesisDoctoral thesis 1 (Research UU / Graduation UU)


In the seventeenth century, the Dutch Republic was guided by well-known figures, such as Johan van Oldenbarnevelt (1547-1619) and Johan de Witt (1625-1672). At the time, both men represented the United Provinces, and while many thought that they served as Grand Pensionaries of the States-General, this was in fact not the case. Oldenbarnevelt and De Witt were servants of the States of Hol-land, and yet they were expected to take over the political leadership of their province. Because of this contradiction, there is still a lot of uncertainty about this office: was the Grand Pensionary a servant or a director? The nature of the office of Grand Pensionary has occupied Dutch historians for many years. It has long been thought that the Grand Pensionary was a unique post in early modern Europe. To check whether this assumption is correct, the Grand Pensionary is compared with another early modern administrator: the first minister in European monarchies.Three Grand Pensionaries, namely Oldenbarnevelt, De Witt and Gaspar Fagel (1634-1688), are com-pared with each other using a new method. Their performance has been analysed on the basis of four functions that arise from their office: the administrative, executive, political and representative function. All three Grand Pensionaries made use of these functions to be able to govern Holland (and the Republic).The functions of the Grand Pensionary are also recognizable among the early modern first ministers in Spain, England, France, Sweden and Brandenburg. In a similar way they ruled the kingdom on behalf of their monarch. In short, the Dutch Grand Pensionary shows many similarities with his administrative counterpart elsewhere in Europe and therefore he can be seen as the first minister of the Republic.
Translated title of the contributionThe First Minister of the Dutch Republic: The Grand Pensionary of Holland in the Seventeenth Century
Original languageDutch
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Utrecht University
  • Prak, Maarten, Primary supervisor
  • Onnekink, David, Co-supervisor
Award date9 Dec 2022
Place of PublicationUtrecht
Print ISBNs9789464585681
Electronic ISBNs9789464585681
Publication statusPublished - 9 Dec 2022


  • Dutch Republic
  • Grand Pensionary
  • Grand Pensionary of Holland
  • First Minister
  • early modern politics
  • state building proces
  • Oldenbarnevelt
  • De Witt
  • Fagel
  • Dutch Golden Age


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