Have you seen the stone monument in The Hague Bezuidenhout of a woman surrounded by five men and wondered who this was? Read on to find out her identity and her role in Dutch history…
Juliana van Stolberg, the woman featured in the stone monument at the end of the Koningin Marialaan in The Hague Bezuidenhout, lived from 1506-1580 primarily in Germany. But she played an important role in the history of the Netherlands having given birth to a son named Willem who would grow up to become the leader of the Dutch rebellion in the fight against Spain and eventually Willem I, Prince of Oranje.
Juliana was just fourteen when she married Count Philip of Hanau-Munzenberg with whom she had five children. Two years after his death in 1529, she remarried, this time to Willem de Rijke. With him Juliana would bear twelve more children, the last being born in 1550 shortly before her 45th birthday. Of her twelve children with Willem de Rijke, five of them were boys: Willem, Johan, Lodewijk, Adolf and Hendrik.
In 1580, Juliana died at Stolberg Castle in North Rhine-Westphalia. Her rightful place in Dutch history was not fully understood for nearly 300 years. In the late 19th century, from newly discovered records, it was learned that not only did she mother four of the most essential figures in the fight for Netherlands independence, three whom died in battle (Adolf – 1568, Lodewijk and Hendrik – 1574) and Willem who was assassinated in Delft in 1584, she had also privately counselled her sons and even provided financial support for their multi-year campaign against Alva and the Spanish army during the 80-Years War.
It was this new found understanding of Juliana’s role in the history of the House of Oranje that would be impressed upon a young Queen Wilhelmina (born 1880), who would end up naming her first daughter Juliana in 1909.
In 1927, on her 18th birthday, it was Princess Juliana who unveiled the stone monument of her namesake Juliana van Stolberg in The Hague. The monument now stands at the corner of Koningin Marialaan and Juliana van Stolberglaan in the Bezuidenhout area.