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Lenaert Jansz de Graeff
Capture of Brielle, April 1, 1572 (Engraving by Frans Hogenberg)
Captain of the Sea Beggars during the Capture of Brielle

In office
Personal details
Born 1530/35
Died before 1578
London (?)
Nationality Dutch
Political party States Faction
Spouse(s) 1) Griet Jansdr Duivens
2) Griet Hendriksdr Rooclaas
Residence House De Keyser at the Damrak, Amsterdam
Occupation vice-general-captain of Amsterdam, captain of the Sea Beggars
Profession merchant
Religion Remonstrants

Lenaert Jansz de Graeff (Amsterdam 1530/35 – before 1578), was a member of the family De Graeff and the son of Jan Pietersz Graeff, a rich cloth merchant from Amsterdam. Lenaert Jansz de Graeff was one of the leaders of the Protestant Reformation at Amsterdam,[1] friend of Henry, Count of Bréderode, the "Grote Geus",[2] and perhaps ident with "Monseigneur de Graeff", a captain of the Sea Beggars during the Capture of Brielle.[3][4]


Lenaert Jansz de Graeff was married to Griet Jansdr Duivens. His profession was a merchant, he bought and sold steel at his house De Keyser in a street, now called Damrak. Like his brothers Jan, Diederik and Jacob, Lenaert was one of the richest persons of Amsterdam. In 1564 Lenaert was a member of a delegation who spoke with the Spanish Regent about the political situation in Amsterdam and the province Holland.[3]

In 1567 he was against Charles de Brimeus entry in Amsterdam.[3] In March of that year, backed by a large part of the bourgeoisie Henry, Count of Bréderode became the Generalcaptain of the city. A contract, who backed up that election was signed at De Graeffs house De Keyser.[1] Lenaert Jansz de Graeff became his friend and advisor, and vice-general-captain of Amsterdam, at the head of a newly formed squad of 400 citizens. In the next month Brederode departed, and the Spanish General Philippe de Noircarmes became the military leader of Amsterdam, and De Graeff lost his position. In August — at the arrival of Fernando Álvarez de Toledo, 3rd Duke of Alba — he left the city with his second wife Griet Hendriksdr Rooclaas, because he was suspected of Calvinist leanings. De Graeff have moved to Bruges, and from there to England, where he stayed with other exiles from Holland.[3]

De Graeff equipped a few ships, after which he joined the fleet of Lord Lumey, and took part as one of the captains in the Capture of Brielle on 1 April 1572.[3][4]

Lenaert Jansz de Graeff died in exile before 1578.

Family De Graeff

Lenaert was a member of the family De Graeff, who were during the Dutch Golden Age very critical of the Orange family’s influence in the Netherlands. Together with the Republican-minded family Bicker, the De Graeffs strived for the abolition of stadtholdership. They desired the full sovereignty of the individual regions in a form in which the Republic of the United Seven Netherlands was not ruled by a single person. Instead of a sovereign (or stadtholder) the political and military power was lodged with the States General and with the regents of the cities in Holland.[5]


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