Despite that the bicentenary commemoration of the events of 1812–15 has shifted historical attention onto the Napoleonic era, the understanding of this period of Dutch history has evolved only little. The perception remains that the Dutch and the House of Orange did little to shake of the French yoke, or to take their destiny into their own hands. This article challenges that perception. Through drawing on its patronage network and its political and dynastic ties I contend that Orange established itself as rallying point for Dutchmen. This pivotal position in Dutch affairs allowed Orange to raise a military force, the Dutch Legion of Orange, with which it participated in the liberation of the Netherlands, and it got Orange accepted into the Sixth Coalition. And as a member of the coalition that defeated Napoleon, Orange, and by extension the Netherlands, could claim its position amongst the victors of the Napoleonic Wars, rather than being considered liberated, or, worse still, conquered territory.

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Dutch Crossing
Department of History

Hay, M.E. (2015). The Légion Hollandaise d’Orange. Dynastic Networks, Coalition Warfare and the Formation of the Modern Netherlands, 1813-14. Dutch Crossing, 39(1), 26–53. doi:10.1179/0309656414Z.00000000066