Leopold II Wanted To Invade The Netherlands
New reports have revealed that King Leopold II of the Belgians (1835-1909) had plans to invade The Netherlands. These plans were found in the royal archives in Brussels by the Flemish journalist and historian Kris Clerckx. The king sent an espionage missions to get information about the strength of the Dutch army, made plans for the invasion and sent a high diplomat to France to get the support of emperor Napoleon III for the invasion.
The plan was that the Belgian army would invade The Netherlands in surprise and take the city of Amsterdam after just a few days. This way the information of an invasion would alomost arrive at the same time as the news of the capitulation of the Dutch army.
The espionage reports were confident that the Dutch would be no match for the Belgian army. The Belgian army had 2127 officers, while the Dutch only had 1397 of them, many of them old men. The budget of the Belgian army was 34 million gold franks while the Dutch army only got 29 million a year, more than 10 million of that went to the Dutch navy, which would be completely useless when the Belgians invaded by land.
Colonel Chauchet, the highest militairy espionage officer, however noted that the fortresses of the Dutch ‘water line’ , a defensive line, were well maintained. And the Dutch population loved their country, and would not be invaded without a fight. King Leopold II however thought he could count on the support of the Dutch catholics, if he would invade The Netherlands.
In the end Leopold II gave up his plans after the prince de Chimay, his highest diplomat in France, was sent to talk to the emperor. Napoleon III wasn’t very enthausiastic about the plans, possibly because he was good friends with both king Willem III of The Netherlands, and with his consort Queen Sophie. The plans were postponed and forgotten, until Kris Clerckx found them in the archives.Filed under Belgium, France, Historical Royals, The Netherlands
Tagged House of Bonaparte, Leopold II of Belgium, Military, Napoleon III of the French, Sophie of Württemberg, Willem III of the Netherlands.