who knew already almost 400 years ago how to bring countries together by deliberate marriage policy. Amalia was born in 1602 at Schloss Braunfels as the tenth out of thirteen children of Count Johann Albrecht I. of Solms-Braunfels and Countess Agnes of Sayn-Wittgenstein.
Due to the troubles of the 30-year War she lived with her parents in exile in the Netherlands. There she married in 1625 Prince Frederick Henry of Nassau-Dillenburg, later governor of the Netherlands. His father was “William the Silent”, who is regarded as the liberator of the “United Dutch Provinces” and still is celebrated in the Dutch national anthem “Wilhelmus”.
Since Amalia’s husband died early, she had to take care of the affairs of the widow of the governor and the Princess of Orange-Nassau. Soon, she showed political talent and determination. She also knew how to manage the court in The Hague with regal dignity and to make it a center for arts in Europe at that time.
To this day 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 by marriage succeeded to write European history.
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.