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Guillame Groen van Prinsterer (1801-1876)

Dutch politician and historian, was born at Voorburg, near The Hague, on the 21st of August 1801. He studied at Leiden University, and graduated in 1823 both as doctor of literature and LL.D. From 1829 to 1833 he acted as secretary to King William I of Holland, afterwards took a prominent part in Dutch home politics, and gradually became the leader of the so-called Anti-Revolutionary Party, both in the Second Chamber, of which he was for many years a member, and outside. In Groen the doctrines of Guizot and Stahl found an eloquent exponent. They permeate his controversial and political writings and historical studies, of which his Handbook of Dutch History (in Dutch) and Maurice et Barnevelt (in French, 1875, a criticism of Motley's Life of Van Olden-Barnevelt) are the principal. Groen was violently opposed to Thorbecke, whose principles he denounced as ungodly and revolutionary. Although he lived to see these principles triumph, he never ceased to oppose them until his death, which occurred at the Hague on the 19th of May 1876. He is best known as the editor of the Archives et Correspondance de la Maison d'Orange (12 vols., 1835-1845), a great work of patient erudition, which procured for him the title of the Dutch Gachard. J. L. Motley acknowledges his indebtedness to Groens Archives in the preface to his Rise of the Dutch Republic, at a time when the American historian had not yet made the acquaintance of King Williams archivist, and also bore emphatic testimony to Groen's worth as a writer of history in the correspondence published after his death. At the first reception, in 1858, of Motley at the royal palace at the Hague, the king presented him with a copy of Groen's Archives as a token of appreciation and admiration of the work done by the worthy vindicator of William I, prince of Orange. This copy, bearing the kings autograph inscription, afterwards came into the possession of Sir William Vernon Harcourt, Motley's son-in-law.

(From the Encyclopaedia Brittanica 1911)


De Vries, T Mr G. Groen van Prinsterer: Een bibliographie Utrecht: Wentzel, 1908.

Zwaan, Jan Groen van Prinsterer en de klassieke oudheif Amsterdam: Hakkert, 1973.

By Groen van Prinsterer (in English)

Unbelief and revolution: A series of Lectures in History. Abridged and translated by Harry Van Dyke © 1989, 2000 (Jordan Station, ON: Wedge)

English-language publications about Groen van Prinsterer

Essen, J. L. van. “Guillaume Groen van Prinsterer and His Conception of History.” Westminster Theological Journal 44 (1982): 205–49.

Essen, J. L. van, and Morton, H. Donald. Guillaume Groen van Prinsterer: Selected Studies. Jordan Station, ON: Wedge, 1990. This collection contains the title mentioned immediately above, plus three other essays

Freeke, Jan 'The life and work of Groen van Prinsterer' Banner of Truth 430 (July 1999) pp 17-24
on Groen’s struggle for Christian education as well as a special essay on Groen’s prose style.

Hall,. David W.   Guillame Groen van Prinsterer: political paradigm form the West.

Hospers, G. H. “Groen van Prinsterer and His Book.” Evangelical Quarterly 7 (1935): 267–86.

Klapwijk, Jacob. “Calvin and Neo-Calvinism on Non-Christian Philosophy.” Philosophia Reformata 38 (1973): 43–61, at 49–51.

Langley, McKendree R. “Pioneers of Christian Politics I.” Vanguard (April 1971): 7–9.

———. What Does It Mean to Be a Christian in the World?” The Presbyterian Guardian (Jan. 1976): 8–13.

———. “The Witness of a World View.” Pro Rege 8.2 (1979): 2–11.

———. “The Legacy of Groen van Prinsterer.” Reformed Perspective (Jan.1985): 25–28.

Lloyd-Jones, D. Martyn. “The French Revolution and After.” In The Christian and the State in Revolutionary Times. London: Westminster
Conference, 1975. Pp. 94–99.

Pall Mall Gazette, 27 April 1867, pp. 4ff. discusses the implications of the first of Groen’s pamphlets of 1867, La Prusse et les Pays-Bas.

Runner, H. Evan. Scriptural Religion and Political Task. Toronto: Wedge, 1974. Pp. 89–99.

Sap, John W. Paving the Way for Revolution: Calvinism and the Struggle for a Democratic Constitutional State. Amsterdam: VU Uitgeverij, 2001.
Pp. 289–302.

Taylor, E. L. Hebden. The Christian Philosophy of Law, Politics and the State. N.d. Pp. 18–42, 238.

Van Dyke, Harry. Groen van Prinsterer’s Lectures on Unbelief and Revolution. Jordan Station, ON: Wedge, 1989. Contains a translation
(abridged) of Unbelief and Revolution at pp. 293–539 as well as a sketch of Groen’s life and time at pp. 1–83.

Zylstra, Bernard. “Voegelin on Unbelief and Revolution.” Anti-Revolutionaire Staatkunde 46 (1976): 155–65. Reprinted in C. Bremmer and M. G. Kool, eds., Een Staatsman ter navolging: Groen van Prinsterer herdacht (1876–1976). The Hague, 1976. Pp. 191–200.

Publications by Groen in French

Archives de la Maison d'Orange-Nassau, 1835-1861.

“Prolégomènes.” In Archives ou correspondance inédite de la maison d’Orange-Nassau. Series I: 9 vols.; Leyden, 1835–47; Series II: 5 vols.; Utrecht, 1857–61. These are lengthy introductions to the published correspondence in which Groen gives his  own interpretation of the historical significance of the letters and the times they were written.

Le parti anti-révolutionnaire et confesionnel dans l’Eglise Reformée des Pays-Bas. Etude d’histoire contemporaine. Amsterdam, 1860. La Hollande et l’influence de Calvin. Amsterdam, 1864.

La Hollande et l'influence de Calvin. Amsterdam, 1864.

La nationalité religieuse en rapport avec la Hollande et l’Alliance Evangélique. Amsterdam, 1867. Reprinted in M. Cohen Stuart (see below), 47–51.

La Prusse et les Pays-Bas; à mes amis de Berlin. Amsterdam, 1867.

L’Empire prussien et l’Apocalypse; à mes amis de Berlin. Amsterdam, 1867.
Maurice et Barnevelt. Etude historique. Utrecht, 1875.

Publications about Groen in French

Albert Reville. “Monsieur G. Groen van Prinsterer.” Revue des Deux Mondes 46 (1876): 478–80.

M. Cohen Stuart. In memoriam Guillaume Groen van Prinsterer: Notice biographique. Utrecht, 1876.

J. C. Versluys. “Lamennais et Groen van Prinsterer.” Neophilologus 17 (1932): 8–17.

Harry Van Dyke. “Conférences de Groen van Prinsterer sur l’Incrédulité et la Révolution (Résumé).” In Groen van Prinsterer’s Lectures (see above),

Other resources

Images of his home 3 Korte Vikverberg

Brief comments from George Edmundson's History of Holland.

Statement of the principles and general political program of the Anti-Revolutionary Party in the Netherlands 1961



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