She’s on a small platform of the Gouda city hall.  It’s almost as if she steps forward to offer us the chalice she holds in her hand. Her whole being radiates with gratitude and humility. Or is it a sign of resignation? Does she know she is going to lose her Holland heritage?

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Jacqueline of Bavaria, City Hall Gouda

Woman’s history is connection city and countryside Holland

Jacqueline of Bavaria’s story is one filled with legends. Some call her a tragic hero, others a cruel countess. To me she is simply a hard working woman trying to keep her Holland heritage in a time in which women had little to say. In my view she connects the countryside and cities in South Holland where I love to do my tours and celebrations. The Hague, Gouda, Leiden tulip region and Delft. Time to write my version.

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Hall of Knights, Houses of Parliament Binnenhof The Hague

Daughter of Holland

Daughter of Holland. That’s the title Jacqueline receives at the age of three. Little does she know she will be fighting her whole life to keep her Holland heritage. Holland is one of the main territories of her father. He does everything he can to make sure she will inherit his land. In the Middle Ages a woman doesn’t have many rights. When it comes to inheriting land, men refuse to acknowledge a woman as owner and leader. Something Jacqueline finds out later.  So, her father arranges a marriage with her best friend when she’s still a child. They get married in the Court chapel at Binnenhof in The Hague. A few years later her husband dies. He is said to be poisoned. Jacqueline is a 16 year old widow. 

Her father doesn’t get time to find her a new husband, he dies in 1417, two years later. The young countess inherites the land. And a dispute over that same land with her uncle and later her nephew. Keen to keep her Holland Heritage, she looks for a suitable husband. One who is not only after her land and fortune, but is willing to take on the battle against her family. She marries twice, without getting the result she’s looking for.

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Entrance Gouda Museum

Woman’s gift to Gouda

When the war with her family is reaching its peak, the Gouda military is on her side. After a spectacular escape out of a prison in 1425, she moves into the Gouda castle. There she continues her fight for three more years. Thankful for their services, she gives the Gouda military a chalice. The chalice she’s holding while standing on the platform of the Gouda city hall. Her gift is on display in Museum Gouda. 


Losing Holland heritage

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Market square Delft

In 1428 Jacqueline meets her nephew at the main square of Delft. This is where she signs the Kiss of Delft, a peace treaty. With it she loses most of her fortune, her titles. And her father’s Holland heritage. Imagine the pain she must have felt. After years of being at war, trying to keep the land you inherited from your father, to keep his spirit alive, you lose it all.

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Tulip fields in front of Teylingen castle

Legend of a noble woman in the tulip region

Strangely enough it isn’t this event that makes Jacqueline lose her mind. Her nephew puts her under surveillance by Frank van Borssele in castle Teylingen. Located in Voorhout, a small place near Leiden and the famous Dutch tulip park, it is now a ruin. In spring this historical place is surrounded by colorful flower fields. This is where she falls in love with Frank. They secretly get married. Then her nephew finds out. He imprisons Frank. Legend says Jacqueline is so devastated that she desperately starts throwing homemade jugs in the moat surrounding the castle. 

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Entrance Houses Of Parliament The Hague

The end of a woman’s fight for Holland heritage

In The Hague she signs her last peace treaty. And is reunited with Frank. Their love is short. Jacqueline dies of tuberculose three years later, in 1436. She is 35 years old. Against her wish she is buried in the family grave in the Court Chapel The Hague.

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