The Archdukes in Brussels

Pauline Croft on an art exhibition in Belgium on Albert and Isabella of Austria.

Opening in Brussels on  September 17th, a major exhibition profiles the rule of the Archduke Albert of Austria and his wife the Infanta Isabella of Spain, daughter of Philip II. In 1598, before his death, the king ceded to the couple the ten provinces of the southern Habsburg Netherlands. In effect, Philip created a revived Burgundy which at least on paper was to be autonomous. This radical new strategy signalled Spain’s retreat from direct rule of the Low Countries, challenged since the 1560s by the revolt led initially by William of Orange, which successfully detached the seven northern provinces. 

The Archdukes ruled jointly until Albert’s death in 1621, whereupon Isabella remained as governess-general until her own death in 1633. After forty years of war, they not only consolidated  Habsburg authority in the south, but also gradually brought peace to the area and revived the ravaged economy.

To continue reading this article you will need to purchase access to the online archive.

Buy Online Access  Buy Print & Archive Subscription

If you have already purchased access, or are a print & archive subscriber, please ensure you are logged in.

Please email if you have any problems.