In the Tales of Radboud Castle Floris V can of course not be missed. Without him the 'Huis te Medemblick' would not have existed. Floris is a man of many faces, but one thing is certain: the murder of his father, William II, has been decisive for his life.

A single blog does not do justice to the reason for our existence, which is why Floris gets a triptych.


Part I: the young count

One and a half and Count of Holland

Born on June 24, 1254, Floris is one and a half when his father is murdered by the West Frisians in January 1256. There is slight panic in the tent, for William II was not only Count of Holland, but also the elected Roman King of Germany. Moreover, the Pope was about to crown him as Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. Floris did not become king or emperor, but he was the new count of Holland, as Floris the Fifth.

At first only in name, because even though you are a young adult in the Middle Ages, if you can't talk yet it is difficult to govern. He is given a guardian, who takes over the actual governing until Floris is an adult. Ten years later, three guardians and a solid education further, Floris will finally be in charge himself.

His uncle and first guardian, also a Floris, immediately entered into negotiations with Flanders in 1256. He arranged for all of Zeeland to fall under Holland from then on, but that Holland would recognize Flanders as the official feudal lord for the area of Zeeland bewester Schelde, the present Walcheren and the Bevelanden. To seal the peace, there are pencil agreements that both Florises marry Flemish daughters of the counts.

For Floris senior, it doesn't work out; he dies two years later at a tournament in Antwerp.

Mature, but not quite yet

Floris V really only cares about one thing: where is my father? The body of Willem II was hidden by the West Frisians at the time. They only knew after the murder that it was the Count of Holland and were shocked. Floris would have preferred to go looking for his father immediately, but he is still too young to lead an army. Besides, there are other matters that are more urgent.

Since the death of his first guardian, there has been occasional unrest in Zeeland. When Floris is officially an adult in 1266, it is the first thing he has to deal with. Together with the Zeeuwse viscount he treks through the provinces and does what a landlord should do: show his face, pronounce justice and keep troublesome nobles under his thumb with hostages. Floris is then 12 years old.

First a bride, then the powder

Because Floris is not allowed to lead an army until he is 18, his revenge on the West Frisians must wait a while. Time to seal another alliance.

In October 1268, Floris is in Bruges to finalize the pencil agreements of 12 years earlier. He negotiates with Guy of Dampierre, Count of Flanders. The stake: his youngest daughter Beatrijs.

The closing of the marriage contract was not settled at once. In June of the following year, talks continue in Leiden and in August 1269 Floris marries his Beatrijs. They are both just 15.

Three years later, the time has come: Floris is 18 and an army captain. His first campaign goes to, 3 guesses, West Friesland. The army is camped near Alkmaar and Floris constructs a dam and a dike so that the army can move decently from Kennemerland to West Friesland. Remnants of that dike are still used today: the Munnikenweg.

West Frisian guerillas

The West Frisians are no fools and have been expecting Floris for a long time. They have quite a bit of experience with invading nobles and wage a guerrilla war. They sabotage dams and dikes and tempt the Dutch into rushing to attack. The Dutch army goes from one ambush to another and even though the last battle is won, the losses are great. Floris has made no progress. Mission failed.

Rebellion is contagious

There is further misfortune. After the failed campaign into West Friesland, the Kennemers and Waterlanders see their chance and revolt. They are tired of all those noblemen constantly making war and trampling on their crops. Moreover, they want their ancient customary rights back. The nobles flee to Haarlem, which is promptly besieged. And here Floris shows his strategic insight for the first time.

Floris engages with the peasants and manages to lift the siege, helped along by the fact that behind the Kennemers' back another nobleman is burning their villages.

This does not mean that the rebellion is over. The unrest spreads to Gooi and Amstelland, and a few opportunistic nobles join in. Gijsbrecht van Aemstel and Herman van Woerden go to Utrecht at the head of the insurgents. There the future bishop Jan van Nassau finds himself in a difficult position. He lacks natural supremacy, has not yet been consecrated and has a mountain of debts. The craftsmen in the city demand change.

Part II: the man with power >>

Part III: so father, so son >>


Canon of the Netherlands / Historiek / Historisch Nieuwsblad / NPO Focus / IsGeschiedenis / De Groene Amsterdammer / Oneindig Noord-Holland / Dwangburchten / Wikipedia