Ada of Holland – Heiress of Holland

Castle of Leiden in a 1698 print

Ada of Holland was one of the three surviving daughters of Dirk VII of Holland and his wife Adelaide of Cleves, daughter of Dietrich II, Count of Cleves and Adelaide of Sulzbach. Her father paved the way for her succession by making Holland inheritable by women. At the time of Dirk’s death in 1203, Ada was his only living child.

To solidify Ada’s position as the new Countess of Holland, her mother, Adelaide married her to Louis II of Loon even before her father’s funeral. However, her uncle William refused to recognise Ada as the new Countess and instead proclaimed himself the new Count. He gained support from most of the nobles, and Ada and Louis were forced to flee to Utrecht.

On the way to her father’s funeral, Ada was cornered near Leiden. She tried to hide in the Castle of Leiden but the Count of Leiden quickly seized control and Ada was imprisoned.

Castle of Leiden in a 1698 print
Castle of Leiden in a 1698 print

Ada was initially imprisoned on the Island of Texel, but she was later shipped off to England, where King John ruled. William began ruling the county though his reign was quickly overshadowed by a war with Ada’s husband Louis, which would last until 1206. The Treaty of Brugge ended the war and divided the county, though William effectively ruled all of it.

Louis finally managed to free Ada in 1207, under the condition that she give up her claim to Holland. He probably went to collect her himself. They didn’t keep to this condition, however, and the battle continued until 1213 when they were finally forced to give up their claim.

"Kasteel van Overrepen" by Noël at nl.wikipedia. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kasteel_van_Overrepen.jpg#/media/File:Kasteel_van_Overrepen.jpg
“Kasteel van Overrepen” by Noël at nl.wikipedia. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons 

Ada’s life after this is quite vague. Louis would die in 1218 while he was still quite young. He was succeeded by his brother. Ada probably lived at the Castle of Kolmont, which was a part of her dowry or she spent her life at the Abbey of Herkenrode, where she would eventually be buried next to her husband. Both Herkenrode and the Castle of Kolmont are in present-day Belgium. Her date of death is also debated. It probably happened around 1234.

"Herkenrodeabdij1" by Paul Hermans from nl. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Herkenrodeabdij1.jpg#/media/File:Herkenrodeabdij1.jpg
“Herkenrodeabdij1” by Paul Hermans from nl. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons 

She was not initially counted as a Countess of Holland, though later historians began reinstating her to her true position.

I recently visited the Castle of Leiden, which still stands today.

Gate towards the Castle
Gate towards the Castle

leiden2

leiden3

Gate towards the Castle
Gate towards the Castle
Long way up to the Castle
Long way up to the Castle
The original front door
The original front door
Inside the Castle.
Inside the Castle.
Castle walls
Castle walls
A well used for fishing as well.
A well used for fishing as well.
Gorgeous big tree
Gorgeous big tree

leiden10

Detail of the new entrance
Detail of the new entrance

 



About Moniek 1085 Articles
My name is Moniek and I am from the Netherlands. I began this website in 2013 because I wanted to share these women's amazing stories.

2 Comments

  1. I have a question for this era and area. I am a Van Valkenburg. Where do they tie into things? I have the family traced quite far back, but for the life of me, I can’t find the “bigger picture” connection. Thanks for anything you have on this. By the way I try to read all your posts. Love them!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.