Local Lordship and Joyous Entries in the Burgundian and Habsburg Netherlands


  • Klaas Van Gelder Vrije Universiteit Brussel en Rijksarchief




Ever since the cultural turn and the understanding of ritual and ceremony as forms of communication and symbolic negotiation, medieval and early modern princely coronations, inaugurations, and joyous entries have received incessant scholarly attention. That was much less the case for seigneurial joyous entries that took place in villages and small towns. The Burgundian and Habsburg Netherlands, and the Duchy of Brabant in particular, had a remarkably strong tradition in this respect. Local lords and ladies held entries in their seigneuries, issued liberty charters, and swore to uphold local rights and privileges. These entries gave occasion to high masses and Te Deums, banquets with local dignitaries, and festivities for the other inhabitants. This article analyses a set of 88 seigneurial entries, ranging from the early fifteenth until the late eighteenth century. It argues that these solemnities were structural components of the seigneurial landscape, carrying legal, social, and political meaning. They are also gauges for the power relations between the lord or lady, local office holders, and villagers or townspeople at a given moment, and can therefore help us to better understand who stood to gain most from the seigneurial system.


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Author Biography

  • Klaas Van Gelder, Vrije Universiteit Brussel en Rijksarchief

    Klaas Van Gelder is assistant professor and member of the HOST research group at Vrije Universiteit Brussel, and archivist at the State Archives in Brussels. In 2012 he completed his PhD at Ghent University, later published as Regime Change at a Distance: Austria and the Southern Netherlands Following the War of the Spanish Succession, 1716-1725 (Peeters/KVAB Press 2016). His research interests include early modern political participation, ritual and ceremony, revolts and revolutions, legislation and the regulation of everyday life, and access to and uses of early modern justice. He edited More Than Mere Spectacle: Coronations and Inaugurations in the Habsburg Monarchy during the Eighteenth & Nineteenth Centuries (Berghahn 2021, DOI: https://doi.org/10.3167/9781789208771) and was guest editor, with Nina Lamal, of Addressing audiences abroad: Strategies of early modern public and cultural diplomacy (special issue of The Seventeenth Century, 36:3, 2021). E-mail: klaas.van.gelder@vub.be. Professional address: Vrije Universiteit Brussel, HOST research group, Pleinlaan 2, 1050 Brussels, Belgium.







How to Cite

Local Lordship and Joyous Entries in the Burgundian and Habsburg Netherlands. (2023). BMGN - Low Countries Historical Review, 138(1), 31-70. https://doi.org/10.51769/bmgn-lchr.9921