who, with her well-considered marriage policy, knew how to unite states in Europe almost 400 years ago. Amalie was born in 1602 at Braunfels Castle as the tenth of thirteen children of Count Johann Albrecht I of Solms-Braunfels and Countess Agnes zu Sayn-Wittgenstein.
Due to the turmoil of the Thirty Years’ War, Amalie lived in exile with her parents in the Netherlands. There she married Prince Frederick Henry of Nassau-Dillenburg in 1625, who later became governor of the Netherlands. His father was “William the Silent”, who is considered the liberator of the “United Dutch Provinces” and is still celebrated in the Dutch national anthem with “Het Wilhelmus”.
Since Amalie’s husband and her son Wilhelm II died early, she had to take over the affairs of state as Princess of Nassau-Orange and widow of the governor. Her political talent and determination quickly became apparent. She also knew how to lead the court in The Hague with royal dignity and to make it a center of the arts in Europe at that time.
Up to now her marriage policy can be considered as unique. She defied all the wishes of their children and used the marriages to increase her influence in Europe. Three of their eight children died in infancy, but the other five succeeded to write European history by marriage.
Son Wilhelm II. married Mary Stuart, daughter of the English King Karl I., in 1641. Their son William III., Amalie’s grandson, also married a Princess Royal Mary Stuart, his cousin. In 1689, during the Glorious Revolution, both equally became King and Queen of England, Scotland and Ireland (Photo © Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Thank you!).
Daughter Luise Henriette married the Elector Friedrich Wilhelm of Brandenburg, a very happy matrimony. Their son Frederick became Frederick I., the first King in Prussia.
Daughter Emilie Albertine Agnes married Count William Frederick of Nassau-Dietz, governor of Friesland, Groningen and Drenthe. From this alliance have come the regents of the House Orange, the later viceregents of the Netherlands and since 1815 the Kings and Queens of the Netherlands.
Daughter Henriette Catharina married Prince Johann Georg II. of Anhalt-Dessau. Her son Leopold is called “der Alte Dessauer”, as he is one of the most popular Prussian generals and is considered as founder of the Prussian military training.
Finally daughter Maria Henrietta married the Count palatine Ludwig Heinrich von Simmern.
Amalia commissioned some magnificent buildings e.g. the royal palace and park Huis ten Bosch in The Hague.
Yes, Amalia really is a great European – and a real Braunfelser Kind.