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Journal > Volumes > 42 (2011) / 1 (Spring)
Heraldry and Collective Memory: A Lawsuit of Emperor Charles V against Reinoud III of Brederode
Henk Dragstra
University of Groningen

This essay traces the genesis and progress of the widely believed myth that the Dutchnobleman Reinoud III of Brederode, foolishly claiming the county of Holland for himself, was condemned to death and later pardoned by the emperor Charles V. It also demonstrates that extant legal records tell a different story: Reinoud claimed the coat of arms of Holland on his familial arms as an advised and successful attempt to enhance his lineage, in order to improve his reputation and status among the nobility of the Netherlands. Charles allowed him to do so without ever officially making the Brederode family Counts of Holland. In the process, both Reinoud and the emperor displayed shrewd negotiation and awareness of their mutual dependence as patron and client, a relationship that had been developing over several generations of Burgundians and Brederodes.

Pages: 9 - 35