Central Institutions of the Low Countries,1700-1794. Part 1: Governmental Councils

The archives of  central institutions of the Low Countries lie in the repository of the State Archives in Belgium  (2, Rue de Ruysbroeck-Ruisbroeckstraat 2, Brussel).

These sources provide many informations for the study of environmental history during the 18th century. They will be described in the GARDEN guide.

Timeline :

1700-1715: Spanish Low Countries- Allied Interregnum (War of the Spanish Succession: 1702-1713)

1715-1744: Austrian Low Countries (1)

1744-1746: French Interregnum (War of the Austrian Succession, 1740-1748)

1746-1789: Austrian Low Countries (2)

1789-1790: United States Belgium (Etats Belgiques Unis) (Brabant Revolution: 1789)

1790-1792: Austrian Low Countries (3)

1792-1793: First French occupation (French Revolution)

1793-1794: Austrian Low Countries (4)

1794: Second French occupation

1795: Annexion of “Belgium” to the Republic of France


Part 1: Governmental Councils

1. Council of State (Conseil d’Etat- Raad van State): 1531-1794 (active until 1744; one of the three “Conseils collatéraux” with the Secret Council and the Council of Finance).

2. Royal Council of Philip V (Conseil Royal- Raad van de Koning): 1702-1711 (replaces the Council of State, the Secret Council and the Council of Finance during the reign of Philip V of Spain).

3. Council of State during the Allied Interregnum (Conseil d’Etat de Régence- Raad van State tijdens de Geallieerde Interregnum): 1706-1713 (governs duchy of Brabant, county of Flanders, seigniory of Mechelen and county of Hainaut (after 1709) during the War of the Spanish Succession; replaces the Council of State, the Secret Council and the Council of Finance).

4. Council of State of Maximilian-Emmanuel of Bavaria in Namur (Conseil d’Etat de Maximilien-Emmanuel de Bavière à Namur- Raad van State van Maximiliaan-Emanuel van Beieren in Namen): 1711-1713 (governs county of Namur, duchy of Luxemburg and county of Hainaut (until 1709) during the War of the Spanish Succession).

5. Secret Council (Conseil Privé- Geheime Raad): 1531-1794 (the second “Conseil collatéral”; general administration and judicial competencies: state properties; trade and industry; publics works; agriculture; etc.)

6. Council of Finance (Conseil des Finances- Raad van Financiën): 1531-1794 (the third “Conseil collarétal”; administration of state properties and rights (“domaines”); agriculture; the trade and industry in the Low Countries; public works, etc.).

7. Council of the General Government (Conseil du Gouvernement Général): 1787-1789 (replaces the Council of State, the Secret Council, the Secretary of State and War and the Council of Finance under the reign of Emperor Joseph II of Austria).


The next article will present the Central Specialized Institutions (Jointes and Commissions) and the Secretary of State and War.


Danielle Caluwé & Kevin Troch


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