House of Nassau

House of Nassau
This article is about the European aristocratic dynasty. For the former state ruled by this family, the Countship and later Duchy of Nassau, see Nassau (state). For other uses, see Nassau (disambiguation)
Coat of arms of the House of Nassau (since the 13th century)

The House of Nassau is a diversified aristocratic dynasty in Europe. It is named after the lordship associated with Nassau Castle, located in present-day Nassau, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. The lords of Nassau were originally titled Count of Nassau, then elevated to the princely class as princely counts. At the end of the Holy Roman Empire, they proclaimed themselves Dukes of Nassau.

All Dutch queens since 1890 and the Grand Dukes of Luxembourg since 1912 have been descended in the female line from the House of Nassau. According to German tradition, the family name is passed only in the male line of succession. The house is therefore, from this perspective, extinct since 1985[1]. However Dutch aristocratic customs (and Luxembourg's, which are based on the aforementioned) differ, and do not consider the House extinct.



Count Dudo-Henry of Laurenburg (ca. 1060 - ca. 1123) is considered the founder of the House of Nassau. He is first mentioned in the purported founding-charter of Maria Laach Abbey in 1093 (although many historians consider the document to be fabricated). The Castle Laurenburg, located a few miles upriver from Nassau on the Lahn, was the seat of his lordship. His family probably descended from the Lords of Lipporn. In 1159, Nassau Castle became the ruling seat, and the house is now named after this castle.

The Counts of Laurenburg and Nassau expanded their authority under the brothers Robert (Ruprecht) I (1123–1154) and Arnold I of Laurenburg (1123–1148). Robert was the first person to call himself Count of Nassau, but the title was not confirmed until 1159, five years after Robert's death. Robert's son Walram I (1154–1198) was the first person to be legally titled Count of Nassau.

The chronology of the Counts of Laurenburg is not certain and the link between Robert I and Walram I is especially controversial. Also, some sources consider Gerhard, listed as co-Count of Laurenburg in 1148, to be the son of Robert I's brother, Arnold I.[2] However, Erich Brandenburg in his Die Nachkommen Karls des Großen states that it is most likely that Gerhard was Robert I's son, because Gerard was the name of Beatrix of Limburg's maternal grandfather.[3]

Counts of Laurenburg (ca. 1093-1159)

  • ca. 1060 - ca. 1123: Dudo-Henry
  • 1123-1154: Robert (Ruprecht) I - son of Dudo-Henry
  • 1123-1148: Arnold I - son of Dudo-Henry
  • 1148: Gerhard - son (probably) of Robert I
  • 1151-1154: Arnold II - son of Robert I
  • 1154-1159: Robert II - son of Robert I

Counts of Nassau (1159-1255)

  • 1154-1198: Walram I - son of Robert I
  • 1158-1167: Henry (Heinrich) I - son of Arnold I, died in Rome during the August 1167 epidemic (after the Battle of Monte Porzio)
  • 1160-1191: Robert III, the Bellicose - son of Arnold I
  • 1198-1247: Henry II, the Rich - son of Walram I
  • 1198-1230: Robert IV - son of Walram I; from 1230-1240: Knight of the Teutonic Order
  • 1247-1255: Otto I; from 1255-1289: Count of Nassau in Dillenburg, Hadamar, Siegen, Herborn and Beilstein
  • 1249-1255: Walram II; from 1255-1276: Count of Nassau in Wiesbaden, Idstein, and Weilburg

In 1255, Henry II's sons, Walram II and Otto I, split the Nassau possessions. The descendants of Walram became known as the Walram Line, which became important in the Countship of Nassau and Luxembourg. The descendants of Otto became known as the Ottonian Line, which would inherit parts of Nassau, France and the Netherlands. Both lines would often themselves be divided over the next few centuries. In 1783, the heads of various branches of the House of Nassau sealed the Nassau Family Pact (Erbverein) to regulate future succession in their states.

The Walram Line (1255-1344)

Counts of Nassau in Wiesbaden, Idstein, and Weilburg (1255-1344)

  • 1255-1276: Walram II
  • 1276-1298: Adolf of Nassau, crowned King of Germany in 1292
  • 1298–1304: Robert VI of Nassau
  • 1298-1324: Walram III, Count of Nassau in Wiesbaden, Idstein, and Weilnau
  • 1298-1344: Gerlach I, Count of Nassau in Wiesbaden, Idstein, Weilburg, and Weilnau

Nassau-Weilburg (1344-1816)

Flag of Nassau-Weilburg

Count Walram II began the Countship of Nassau-Weilburg, which existed to 1816. The sovereigns of this house afterwards governed the Duchy of Nassau until 1866 and from 1890 the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. The branch of Nassau-Weilburg ultimately became rulers of Luxembourg. The Walram line received the lordship of Merenberg in 1328 and Saarbrücken (by marriage) in 1353.

Counts of Nassau-Weilburg (1344-1688)

  • 1344-1371: John I
    Map of Nassau-Weilburg as of 1789
  • 1371-1429: Philipp I of Nassau-Weilburg, and (from 1381) Count of Saarbrücken
  • 1429-1492: Philipp II
  • 1429-1442: John III
  • 1492-1523: Louis I
  • 1523-1559: Philipp III
  • 1559-1593: Albert
  • 1559-1602: Philip IV
  • 1593-1625: Louis II, Count of Nassau-Weilburg and in Ottweiler, Saarbrücken, Wiesbaden, and Idstein
  • 1625-1629: William Louis, John IV and Ernest Casimir
  • 1629-1655: Ernest Casimir
  • 1655-1675: Frederick
  • 1675-1688: John Ernst

Princely counts of Nassau-Weilburg (1688-1816)

  • 1688-1719: John Ernst
  • 1719-1753: Charles August
  • 1753-1788: Charles Christian
  • 1788-1816: Frederick William
  • 1816: Wilhelm, Prince of Nassau-Weilburg and Duke of Nassau - Nassau-Weilburg merged into Duchy of Nassau

Dukes of Nassau (1816-1866)

  • 1816-1839: Wilhelm
  • 1839-1866: Adolf

In 1866, Prussia annexed the Duchy of Nassau as the duke had been an ally of Austria in the Second Austro-Prussian War. In 1890, Duke Adolf would become Grand Duke Adolphe of Luxembourg.

Grand Dukes of Luxembourg (from the House of Nassau-Weilburg) - 1890-1912 and succession through a female onwards

From a morganatic marriage, contracted in 1868, descends a family, see Count of Merenberg, which in 1907 was declared non-dynastic. Had they not been excluded from the succession, they would have inherited the headship of the house in 1912.

Counts of Nassau-Wiesbaden-Idstein (1344-1775)

  • 1344-1370: Adolf I of Nassau-Wiesbaden-Idstein
  • 1370-after 1386: Gerlach
  • 1370-1393: Walram II
  • 1393-1426: Adolf II
  • 1426-1480: John II
  • 1480-1511: Adolf III
  • 1511-1558: Philipp I
  • 1558-1566: Philipp II, Count of Nassau-Idstein
  • 1566-1568: Balthasar, Count of Nassau-Idstein
  • 1568-1596: Johann Ludwig I
  • 1596-1599: John Philip, jointly with his brother John Louis II
  • 1596-1605: John Louis II
  • 1605-1627: Louis II
  • 1627-1629: William Louis
  • 1629-1677: John, Count of Nassau-Idstein, and (from 1651) in Wiesbaden, Sonnenberg, Wehen, Burg-Schwalbach and Lahr
  • 1677-1721: George August Samuel (1688–1721)
  • 1721-1723: Charles Louis
  • 1723-1728: Frederick Louis, Count of Nassau-Ottweiler (1680–1728), and in Rixingen (1703–28), and Idstein (1721-1728), and in Wiesbaden, etc. (1723–28)
  • 1728-1775: Charles

Counts of Nassau-Saarbrücken (1429-1799)

  • 1429-1472: John II
  • 1472-1545: John Louis I
  • 1545-1554: Philip II
  • 1559-1602: Philip IV, as Philip III of Nassau-Saarbrücken
  • 1602-1625: Louis II, Count of Nassau-Saarbrücken and Ottweiler
  • 1629-1640: William Louis, Count of Nassau-Saarbrücken and Ottweiler
  • 1640-1642: Kraft
  • 1640-1690: John Louis, Count of Nassau-Saarbrücken and (1659–80) in Ottweiler, Jungenheim, and Wöllstein
  • 1659-1677: Gustav Adolph
  • 1677-1713: Louis Crato
  • 1713-1723: Charles Louis
  • 1723-1728: Frederick Louis
  • 1728-1735: Charles
  • 1735-1768: Wilhelm Heinrich, Prince
  • 1768-1794: Ludwig
  • 1794-1799: Heinrich Ludwig

Princes of Nassau-Usingen (1659-1816)

  • 1659-1702: Walrad, elevated to Prince
  • 1702-1718: William Henry
  • 1718-1775: Charles
  • 1797-1803: Charles William
  • 1803-1816: Frederick Augustus

The Ottonian Line

  • 1255-1290: Otto I, Count of Nassau in Siegen, Dillenburg, Beilstein, and Ginsberg
  • 1303-1343: Henry, Count of Nassau in Siegen, Ginsberg, Haiger, and the Westerwald, and (1328–1343) in Dillenburg, Herborn, and Beilstein
  • Emicho I of Nassau (-7 Jun 1334). Count of Nassau in Driedrof, Estenau und Hadamar.
  • 1303-1328: Johann

Counts of Nassau-Dillenburg

  • 1303-1328: Johann, Count of Nassau-Dillenburg in Beilstein and Herborn, and (from 1320) in Katzenelnbogen
  • 1328-1343: Henry, Count of Nassau in Siegen, Ginsberg, Haiger, and the Westerwald, and (1328–1343) in Dillenburg, Herborn, and Beilstein
  • 1343-1350: Otto II of Nassau
  • 1350-1416: Johan I of Nassau
  • 1416-1420: Adolf of Nassau
  • 1420-1448: Johan II "The Elder" of Nassau
  • 1420-1442: Engelbert I of Nassau
  • 1442-1451: Hendrik II
  • 1448-1475: Jan IV of Nassau
  • 1475-1504: Engelbert II
  • 1504-1516: Johann V
  • 1516-1538: Hendrik III
  • 1538-1559: William I, Count of Nassau-Dillenburg
  • 1559-1606: John VI, Count of Nassau-Dillenburg
  • 1606-1620: William Louis, Count of Nassau-Dillenburg
  • 1620-1623: George, Count of Nassau-Dillenburg
  • 1623-1662: Louis Henry, Count of Nassau-Dillenburg, Prince from 1652
  • 1662-1701: Heinrich
  • 1701-1724: Wilhelm
  • 1724-1739: Christian of Nassau-Dillenbrug

Counts of Nassau-Hadamar

  • 1303-1334: Emicho I, Count of Nassau-Hadamar in Driedrof, Estenau, and Hadamar. Married Anna of Nürnberg
  • 1334-1364: John, Count of Nassau-Hadamar married Elisabeth of Waldeck
  • 1334-1359: Emicho II, Count of Nassau-Hadamar, son of Emicho I. Married Anna of Diez
  • 1364-1369: Henry, Count of Nassau-Hadamar, son of John, Count of Nassau-Hadamar
  • 1620-1653: Johann Ludwig, Prince 1650
  • 1653-1679: Moritz Heinrich
  • 1679-1711: Franz Alexander


The branch of Nassau-Siegen was a collateral line of the House of Nassau, and ruled in Siegen. The first Count of Nassau in Siegen was Count Henry, Count of Nassau in Siegen (d. 1343), the elder son of Count Otto I of Nassau. His son Count Otto II of Nassau ruled also in Dillenburg.

In 1606 the House was separated from the House of Nassau-Dillenburg. After the main line of the House became extinct in 1734, Emperor Charles VI transferred the county to the House of Orange-Nassau.

Counts and Princes of Nassau-Siegen

Gozdzki - de Nassau Palace in Warsaw that belonged to wealthy Karolina Gozdzka (1747-1807) and her husband Charles Henry de Nassau-Siegen (1745-1808).[4]
  • 1606-1611 John I
  • 1611-1623 Henry
  • 1623-1638 John II
  • 1638-1674 George Frederick
  • 1674-1679 John Maurice
  • 1679-1691 William Maurice
  • 1691-1699 John Francis Desideratus
  • 1699-1707 William Hyacinth
  • 1707-1722 Frederick William Adolf
  • 1722-1734 Frederick William

Counts and Princes of Nassau-Dietz


The House of Orange-Nassau stems from the Ottonian Line. The second person was Engelbert I, who offered his services to the Duke of Burgundy, married a Dutch noblewoman and inherited lands in the Netherlands, with the barony of Breda as the core of the Dutch possessions.

The importance of the Nassaus grew throughout the 15th and 16th century. Hendrik III of Nassau-Breda was appointed stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland and Utrecht by Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor in the beginning of the 16th century. Henry was succeeded by his son, René of Châlon-Orange in 1538, who was, as his full name stated, Prince of Orange. When René died prematurely on the battlefield in 1544 his possessions and the princely title passed to his cousin, William the Silent, a Count of Nassau-Dillenburg. By dropping the suffix name "Dillenburg" (of the Orange-Nassau-Dillenburg), from then on the family members called themselves "Orange-Nassau."

With the death of William III, the legitimate direct male line of William the Silent became extinct and thereby the first House of Orange-Nassau. John William Friso, the senior agnatic descendant of William the Silent's brother and a cognatic descendant of Frederick Henry, grandfather of William III, inherited the princely title and all the possessions in the low countries and Germany, except the Principality of Orange itself. The Principality was ceded to France under the Treaty of Utrecht that ended the wars with King Louis XIV. John William Friso, who also was the Prince of Nassau-Dietz, founded thereby the second House of Orange-Nassau (the suffix name "Dietz" was dropped of the combined name Orange-Nassau-Dietz).

After the post-Napoleonic reorganization of Europe, the head of House of Orange-Nassau gained the title "King/Queen of the Netherlands".

Princes of Orange

House of Orange-Nassau(-Dillenburg), first creation

  • 1544-1584: William I, also Count of Katzenelnbogen, Vianden, Dietz, Buren and Leerdam and Lord of IJsselstein
  • 1584-1618: Philip William, also Count of Nassau-Dillenburg, Count of Vianden, Buren and Leerdam and Lord of IJsselstein
  • 1618-1625: Maurice, also Count of Nassau-Dillenburg, Count of Vianden, Buren and Leerdam and Lord of IJsselstein
  • 1625-1647: Frederick Henry, also Count of Nassau-Dillenburg, Count of Vianden, Buren and Leerdam and Lord of IJsselstein
  • 1647–1650: William II, also Count of Nassau-Dillenburg, Count of Vianden, Buren and Leerdam and Lord of IJsselstein
  • 1650–1702: William III, also Count of Nassau-Dillenburg, Count of Vianden, Buren and Leerdam, Lord of IJsselstein and (from 1689) King of England, Scotland, and Ireland

House of Orange-Nassau(-Dietz), second creation

  • 1702-1711: John William Friso, also Prince of Nassau-Dietz, Count of Vianden, Buren and Leerdam and Lord of IJsselstein
  • 1711–1751: William IV, also Prince of Nassau-Dietz, Count of Vianden, Buren and Leerdam and Lord of IJsselstein
  • 1751–1806: William V, also Prince of Nassau-Dietz, Count of Vianden, Buren and Leerdam and Lord of IJsselstein
  • 1806-1815: William VI, also Prince of Fulda and Count of Corvey, Weingarten and Dortmund; in 1815 became King William I of the Netherlands

Kings and Queens of the Netherlands (from the House of Orange-Nassau-Dietz)

  • 1815-1840: William I, also Duke and Grand Duke of Luxemburg and Duke of Limburg
  • 1840-1849: William II, also Grand Duke of Luxemburg and Duke of Limburg
  • 1849-1890: William III, also Grand Duke of Luxemburg and Duke of Limburg
  • 1890-1948: Wilhelmina

Following German laws, the House of Orange-Nassau(-Dietz) is extinct since the death of Wilhelmina (1962), contradictory to Dutch laws.

See also

  • Kings of Germany family tree. The Nassaus were the 9th dynasty to rule Germany and were related by marriage to all the others.
  • Archives of the House of Nassau


  1. ^ Grand Duchess Charlotte abdicated in 1964, but she died in 1985
  2. ^ Family tree of the early House of Nassau, retrieved on 2009-01-22.
  3. ^ Table 11, Page 23 and note on page 151, quoted at Genealogy of the Middle Ages, retrieved on 2009-01-23
  4. ^ (Polish) "Pałac Gozdzkich - de Nassau". Retrieved 2009-03-23. 


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