The United Kingdoms of the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Luxembourgoise Empire, United Kingdoms, United Netherlands, UKN, is a large composite constitutional monarchy whose main body roughly occupies the area known as the Low Countries. It also incorporates a vast array of forts, colonial lands and islands around the world organised into several 'Kingdoms' of varying sizes.
In Europe it borders Fryslân, Munster-Westphalia, Berg, Cleves, Cologne, Julich, Aachen, Sayn-Wittgenstein, Hesse-Kassel, Wetzlar, Hesse-Darmstadt, Wurzburg, Mainz, Palatinate, Spires, Hordt, Wurttemberg, Esslingen, Swiss Confederation, Fleckenstein, Burgundy, France, and Wessex-Normandy. France has two enclaves within Luxembourg.
The population of the European portion of the UKN is almost 33 million. Its capital is Antwerp.
The current Head of State is Queen Charlotta.
The currency is the Luxembourg (or Netherlands) Guilder (LXG).
The official languages are Luxembourgoise, Dutch and French. 'High' German is a widely spoken minority language. Further languages such as Xhosa, Malay, Maori and Carib are spoken widely in the Kingdom's foreign holdings.
The history of the United Netherlands is largely intertwined with that of its ruling house, the Luxembourgs.
In the early medieval period Luxembourg had been a small county in the western Empire caught up in local disputes. The War of the Limburg Succession (1283-1289) saw the defeat and death of Count Henry VI. However, his son, the young Henry VII, was championed by the Archbishop of Cologne and his own brother Baldwin the Archbishop of Trier. Both were electors and, unaligned to the older fault-lines of the Empire Henry soon became a consensus candidate. He would be crowned in 1301 after years of war and negotiation. This act turned the small county into a European power.
Henry VII's son John was married off to Elizabeth of Bohemia, the last Premyslid heir, and was subsequently elected King of Bohemia in 1310, as a block on Hapsburg ambition. His son Charles I bought Brandenburg in 1373 from Otto II of Bavaria, and Charles's son Wenceslaus I married the heir to Hungary and regained the Imperial title in 1387. They were the pre-eminent family of rulers in Central Europe ruling over a vast empire.
For many years they concentrated their efforts on the rich Hungarian and Bohemian lands. Both were elected monarchies and the constant fear that they would pass to one of the Luxembourg's rivals guided their actions for centuries. The Hussite and Serbian Wars in the early 15th century drained a vast amount of wealth from the family and when Northern Germany largely converted to Lutheranism the Luxembourgs were largely powerless to stop them.
The War of Anglian Succession (1493-1523) saw them go head-to-head with their most powerful rivals, the Bavarian Wittelsbachs and the Danish Estridssons. The war ended with the Anglian provinces in Europe passing to the Luxembourgs, France on the ebb once more, and the Kalmar Union in internal conflict. The devastation caused to the Low Countries would take several decades to repair.
While it had definitively seized a portion of Western Europe, the 16th century would see the loss of its Eastern properties. A war with Poland-Lithuania over Nassau damaged relations between the Western lords and those of Bohemia and Hungary. And during Queen Joanna's long regency (1540-1562), first for her infant brother Henry, then after his death for her own son Henry VIII, the Low Countries and Brandenburg effectively converted to Lutheranism. From their castles in Prague and Buda Joanna and her retinue attempted to limit the course of the reformation throughout their lands but largely failed. The death of Prince Henry caused Bohemia to elect the Austrian duke Maximilian to the throne. Henry VIII would eventually convert to Lutheranism, causing a massive noble revolt in Hungary that he was largely helpless to restrain. The Hungarian Diet elected its own native king for the first time in two hundred years and any lasting hopes of bringing Hungary permanently into the Holy Roman sphere would be lost.
It sat out the Schmalkaldic War, partially to spite Austria as it had secured both the Bohemian and Imperial crowns but also because it was struggling to rebuild its treasury after centuries of draining wars. Enticements to join the Schmalkaldic League, even being offered their rival Imperial Crown were rejected. Whilst many of the Luxembourg territories, and the Luxembourgs themselves, had chosen to follow the Lutheran creed, deep rivalry with both the Kalmar Union and France and the ongoing desire to hold the real Imperial crown, meant it normally aligned itself with the Catholic states of the Holy Roman Empire. However this alliance did little to prevent it secularising the church lands under its control such as Utrecht and Trier, which provided much needed funds for the crown.
A slowly growing overseas empire helped it replenish the treasury and pay for the vastly expensive armies it maintained during the Fifty Years War. The mercenary general Emilie Heldenstein was crucial in keeping the Luxembourg army on the offensive and causing the Schmalkaldic Empire to collapse, though eventually Luxembourg agents murdered him as they were afraid he was about to switch sides. Despite several victories the war dragged on and plunged Europe into an extended period of disruption. It also provoked revolt in the merchant cities, incensed at why they were not supporting their coreligionists.
At the Treaty of Copenhagen Luxembourg was stripped of Brandenburg, which had been under occupation for almost the entire war anyway, handing it to the Welf dynasty, but returned Bohemia to Luxembourg in compensation. The royal retinue re-entered a partially devastated Prague with huge pomp and ceremony in 1670. This was a brief triumph however. In 1680 while Flanders was in revolt and King John IV on his apparent death-bed (he recovered), Catholic rebels seized Prague and proclaimed the kingdom a vassal of Austria. This resulted in the War of Bohemian Succession, a war that none of its participants were really able to pursue properly due to crippling debts and the looming presence of Kalmar troops ready (and willing) to seize Bohemia.With the loss of its central European possessions and apparent inability to regain the Imperial throne, the Luxembourg kings looked overseas for wealth and glory. The ports of Holland and Flanders had already grown to be some of the wealthiest cities in Europe and their ships carried much of the cross-Atlantic trade. The spread of Luxembourg naval power led to the growth of trading forts in India and South-east Asia as well as the development of several Carib islands and the Guyanan lands to the south. Repeated wars with Wessex, Anglia and Kalmar would shake Luxembourg's dominance at sea and within the Empire it would lose out diplomatically to the ever more confident Austria and Bavaria, but this was offset somewhat by a slow-paced land-grab along the Rhine, often opposed by France.
Uninvolved in any general European war since the 2nd Imperial-Kalmar War of 1895-96 Luxembourg represents the most vocal anti-Kalmar voice at the Imperial Diet. The general consensus is that its generals are itching to take Kalmar on.
The Composition of the UKNAlthough coming late to the colonial struggle, and often suffering setbacks to European wars, the UKN currently holds the largest grouping of foreign territory out of any of the European powers, and is spread over all the continents.
At first the territories were governed in a haphazard (indeed the European kingdoms were often allowed to almost run themselves as the kings concentrated their attentions on Hungary and Bohemia), however their governing practices have been slowly reformed until all follow more or less the same constitution, election practices and legal codes, and are technically equal under law. Each kingdom is legally separate from one another having secured various rights by treaty over the centuries. Each kingdom elects its own government and Chief Minister who legislates alongside a Governor who represents the monarch. A superior 'royal' chamber in Antwerp ratifies and enacts the laws of each kingdom.
Queen Charlotta is the current ruler of the United Kingdoms of the Netherlands. She was crowned in January 2012 having succeeded her grandfather William VIII. The royal family, although usually found to reside in Flanders is studiously neutral and can usually be relied to dispassionately defuse issues between the kingdoms.
|Kingdom of Flanders||
|Kingdom of Guyana||
|Kingdom of Holland-Utrecht||
|Kingdom of Luxembourg-Nassau||
|Kingdom of New Brabant||
|Kingdom of New Netherlands||
|Kingdom of New Zeeland||
|Kingdom of Singapore||
Each Kingdom has a separate parliamentary chamber which an appointed governor and elected Chief Minister jointly run. Each chamber and Prime Minister are elected very four years. A superior 'Royal' chamber in Antwerp ratifies and enacts the laws of each kingdom. The Prime minister of the Royal Chamber is Jerome Steichen.
Relations with the HRE
As Kings of Luxembourg, Kings of Flanders and Princes of Utrecht, the rulers of Luxembourg have 3 electoral votes for Holy Roman Emperor. Although the title is largely symbolic now, and relationships between the electors are much friendlier, it has been traditional since the mid-1700's to block vote against the Luxembourgoise candidate. The arrival of the anti-Luxembourg delegation to the electoral diet is always treated with great pomp and ceremony and is a hugely popular part of the coronation proceedings. A popular topic for discussion in the coffee houses and salons of Europe is whether Queen Charlotta should be allowed to candidate to be the first Holy Roman Empress. She is widely liked across the Empire and as the title is not hereditary the election would not contravene Salian law (which is still used in various member states). Many of the City Leagues however would not constitutionally recognise her rule.
The three official languages of the UKN are Luxembourgoise, Dutch and French. Luxembourgoise is a Franconian dialect of German with a high degree of French loan words. Most subjects of the entire empire learn Luxembourgoise at some point in their schooling and most are bilingual in some way, although the different kingdoms have different balances on which languages have priority in government and schooling.
Luxembourgoise and French are the official languages of the Kingdom of Luxembourg. In Champagne and Bar both languages are taught equally from the beginning of school, whereas elsewhere French is taught more as a second language.
French and Dutch are the official languages of the Kingdom of Flanders and New Brabant are generally taught equally in schools with Luxembourgoise taught as a 'second' language.
Dutch is the sole official language of the Kingdoms of Holland and New Zeeland. Luxembourgoise is taught as a second language.
In the other more 'mixed' kingdoms, Luxembourgoise is generally used as the language of government and the settler populations while various local languages are spoken by the native population.
Luxembourg has long had a policy of encircling Kalmar. In this respect it has military alliances with Wessex and Poland. As a leading member of the HRE it can in theory expect the support, or at least promise of neutrality, from the other Imperial states.
Luxembourg is locked into a vastly expensive arms race with the Kalmar Union, especially over Tyr-style battleships. Kalmar ships tend to better armed however Luxembourg's ships have the advantage of being oil powered and therefore have a greater operational range. Though the arms race is primarily with Kalmar, one eye has to be kept on Mexica and Tawantinland who are increasing their armies at a huge rate.