House of Arenberg

The House of Arenberg is an aristocratic lineage that is constituted by three successive families who took their name from Arenberg, a small principality of the Holy Roman Empire in the Eifel. The inheritance of the House of Croÿ-Aarschot made the Arenbergs the most influential and most wealthy noble family of the Habsburg Netherlands. The Arenbergs were mediatized in 1811. The present head of the house bears the title of Duke of Arenberg, while all other members are princes or princesses. They all enjoy the style of Serene Highness.


Lords of Arenberg

Date[citation needed] Name (birth–death) Notes
1032 Ulrich, Viscount of Cologne
1061–1074 Franco I.
1082–1135 Arnold
1106–1135 Franco II.
1136–1159 Heinrich I.
1166/67–1197 Heinrich II. de Arberg
Eberhard (1200-1218) ∞ Aleidis of Molsberg also Countess of Freusburg
Heinrich III. (1220-1252)
Gerhard ∞ Mechthild von Holte
Johann (1267-1280) married Johanna von Jülich, sold Viscounty of Cologne
Mechthild In 1299, married Count Engelbert II. von der Mark.

Counts of Arenberg

Date Name (birth–death) Notes
1299–1328 Count Engelbert II von der Mark
1328–1387 Count Eberhard von der Mark, Lord of Aremberg
1387–1454 Count Eberhard II von der Marck-Arenberg
1454–1480 Count Johann von der Marck-Arenberg
1480–1496 Count Eberhard III von der Marck-Arenberg
1496–???? Count Robert I von der Marck-Arenberg
????–1536 Count Robert II von der Marck-Arenberg
1536–1541 Count Robert III von der Marck-Arenberg After the extinction of the male line, his sister Margarethe (1541-1596) married in 1547 Count Jean de Ligne, Duke of Aremberg
1541–1547 Countess Margaretha von der Marck-Arenberg (1527-1599)
1568–1616 Charles 2nd Princely Count of Arenberg In 1576 elevated to Princely Count

Princely Counts and later Dukes of Arenberg

The marriage contract (1547) of Margaret de la Marck, Countess of Arenberg, and Jean de Ligne-Barbançon stipulated that their offspring would abandon the name of Ligne and adopt the name and arms of Arenberg. On 5 March 1576, Emperor Maximilian II raised Margaret and her son Charles to the rank of Princely Counts (in German: Gefürstete Graf). As such the Arenbergs sat and voted on the bench of secular princes in the Imperial Diet. On 9 June 1644, Emperor Ferdinand III bestowed the title of Duke of Arenberg to Charles' grandsons, Philip-Francis and Charles-Eugene, as well as to all legitimate descendants of Charles and his brother Robert of Arenberg, prince of Barbançon.

Meanwhile, the marriage of Princely Count Charles to Anne de Croÿ, the sister and heiress of the last Croÿ Duke of Aarschot, had brought the Arenbergs a series of titles as well as vast estates in the Habsburg Netherlands in 1612. The senior title was that of Duke of Aarschot. It had been created in 1534, was the first (and until 1627 only) ducal title in the Netherlands and it carried the dignity of a Spanish Grandee. The estates of the Arenbergs gave them a seat in second estate of the Provincial States of Brabant and of Hainaut. Since they were now indisputably the first among the nobility of the Habsburg Netherlands, it became customary for the Dukes to receive the Order of the Golden Fleece shortly after their succession to the title. Staunch supporters of the Habsburgs, they held high offices at the Court of Brussels, sat on the Counsel of State, were employed on embassies (notably the embassy to King James I that negotiated the Treaty of London of 1604) and acted as provincial governors in Hainaut and the Franche-Comté. Occupying high military commands could likewise be called something like their birthright.

In 1605 Charles of Arenberg and Anne de Croÿ bought the Land of Enghien of King Henry IV of France and made it their principal seat in the Netherlands. Initially inspired by the example set by Robert Cecil at Theobalds House, the Arenbergs created gardens at Enghien that came to enjoy an international reputation. In testimony of the patronage given to the Capuchins, the order's convent at Enghien became the necropolis of the Arenbergs. With the duchy of Aarschot came the secondary country seat of Heverlee and the vast forest of Meerdaal. In keeping with their status, the dukes likewise owned a hotel in Brussels. After its destruction in the bombardment of 1695, the dukes had to settle with rented accommodation until acquiring the stately Egmont Palace in 1754. It was to remain in the family's possession until 1918.

List of Heads of the House of Arenberg

Head of House Name major titles (birth–death) Notes
1576–1599 Margaret de la Marck, Princely Countess of Arenberg (1527–1599) married Jean de Ligne-Barbançon (1528–1568)
1599–1616 Charles 2nd Princely Count of Arenberg (1550–1616)
1616–1640 Philippe-Charles, 3rd Princely Count of Arenberg and 6th Duke of Aarschot (1587–1640)
1640–1674 Philippe-François, 1st Duke of Arenberg and 7th Duke of Aarschot(1625–1674)
1674–1681 Charles-Eugène, 2nd Duke of Arenberg and 8th Duke of Aarschot (1633–1681)
1681–1691 Philippe-François-Charles, 3rd Duke of Arenberg and 9th Duke of Aarschot (1663–1691)
1691–1754 Leopold-Philippe, 4th Duke of Arenberg and 10th Duke of Aarschot (1690–1754)
1754–1778 Charles-Marie-Raymond, 5th Duke of Arenberg and 11th Duke of Aarschot (1721–1778)
1778–1820 Louis Engelbert, 6th Duke of Arenberg, 12th Duke of Aarschot, 1st Duke of Meppen and 1st Prince of Recklinghausen (1750–1820)
1820–1861 Prosper-Louis, 7th Duke of Arenberg, 13th Duke of Aarschot, 2nd Duke of Meppen and 2nd Prince of Recklinghausen (1785–1861)
1861–1875 Engelbert-Auguste, 8th Duke of Arenberg, 14th Duke of Aarschot, 3rd Duke of Meppen and 3rd Prince of Recklinghausen (1824–1875)
1875–1949 Engelbert-Marie, 9th Duke of Arenberg, 15th Duke of Aarschot, 4th Duke of Meppen and 4th Prince of Recklinghausen (1872–1949)
1949–1974 Engelbert-Charles, 10th Duke of Arenberg, 16th Duke of Aarschot, 5th Duke of Meppen and 5th Prince of Recklinghausen married Valerie zu Schleswig-Holstein Sonderburg-Augustenburg (1900-1953) and in 1955 Mathild Callay (1913-1989), no issue.
1974–1992 Erik Engelbert, 11th Duke of Arenberg, 17th Duke of Aarschot, 6th Duke of Meppen and 6th Prince of Recklinghausen married Marie Therese de La Poeze d'Harambure (1911-2005), no issue.
1992-2011 Jean, 12th Duke of Arenberg, 18th Duke of Aarschot, 7th Duke of Meppen and 7th Prince of Recklinghausen married Princess Sophie of Bavaria, youngest daughter of Rupprecht, Crown Prince of Bavaria, 5 children.
2011- Leopold Engelbert Evrard, 13th Duke of Arenberg, 19th Duke of Aarschot, 8th Duke of Meppen and 8th Prince of Recklinghausen married Juliana, Gräfin zu Stolberg-Stolberg, 3 children.


  • Franz Josef Heyen, ed. Die Arenberger in der Eifel (Koblenz, 1987).
  • Franz Josef Heyen, ed. Die Arenberger in Westfalen und Emsland (Koblenz, 1990).
  • Marc Derez, a.o., eds Arenberg in de Lage Landen: Een hoogadellijk huis in Vlaanderen en Nederland (Louvain, 2002).

External links

Coordinates: 50°52′45″N 4°42′07″E / 50.87917°N 4.70194°E / 50.87917; 4.70194

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