Johan Willem Friso fürst of Nassau-Dietz, prince of Orange


Background and early career

Just like William the silent is the 'vader des vaderlands' (father of the fatherland) for the Dutch, his nephew Willem Lodewijk of Nassau Dietz gained the name 'Us Heit' (our father in Frisian) in Friesland. Up till the death of William III there were therefore two lines of Nassau Stadholders in the United Provinces. One was formed by the rich princes of Orange who, when Stadholder, were also Captain General and Admiral General of the Union. The others were the Stadholders of Frisia (and sometimes Groningen and Drenthe), who fought for the United Provinces but never got the supreme command of the Union forces. One of these was Hendrik Casimir II, who married Amalia van Anhalt. From this marriage Johan Willem Friso's was born in 1687.

In 1696 Johan Willem Friso's father died and so he stood rather weakly in the succession crisis that erupted on the death of William III who had named him as his successor.

Johan Willem Friso was Stadholder of Friesland, Groningen and Drenthe. Friso was a military man showing outstanding courage on the battlefield when he commanded the Dutch army, he was thus well-posed to succeed William III as stadholder of Holland some day. As the universal heir to William III he came into conflict with the king of Prussia. On his way to the Haque for negotiations with Prussia he died in a tragic accident, leaving only a posthumous son.