Portrait of Andries de Graeff (1611-1678), Regent and Mayor of Amsterdam (Dutch: burgemeester van Amsterdam) from 1657 to 1671, 1671
Andries de Graeff (19 February 1611 – 30 November 1678) was a very powerful member of the Amsterdam branch of the De Graeff - family during the Dutch Golden Age. He became a mayor of Amsterdam and a powerful Amsterdam regent after the death of his older brother Cornelis de Graeff. Like him and their father Jacob Dircksz de Graeff he opposed the house of Orange. In the mid-17th century he controlled the finances and politics. Andries de Graeff followed in his father's and brother's footsteps and, between 1657 and 1672, was appointed mayor some seven times. De Graeff was a member of a family of regents who belonged to the republican political movement also referred to as the ‘state oriented’, as opposed to the Royalists. Andries was called the last regent and mayor from the dynastie of the "Graven", who was powerful and able enough to ruled the city of Amsterdam. De Graeff was a Free Imperial Knight of the Holy Roman Empire, an Ambachtsheer (Lord of the manor) from Urk en Emmeloord, during the late 1650s chiefcouncillor of the Admiralty of Amsterdam, chieflandholder of the Watergraafsmeer and dijkgraaf van Nieuwer-Amstel. Together with his broether Cornelis De Graeff became an illustrious Patron and Art collector. Andries de Graeff was born in Amsterdam, the third son of Jacob Dircksz de Graeff and Aaltje Boelens Loen. Both his brother Cornelis and Andries were very critical of the Orange family’s influence. Together with the Republican political leader Grand Pensionary Johan de Witt, the De Graeff brothers strived for the abolition of stadtholdership. They desired the full sovereignty of the individual regions in a form in which the Republic of the United Seven Netherlands was not ruled by a single person. Instead of a sovereign (or stadtholder) the political and military power was lodged with the States General and with the regents of the cities in Holland. During the two decades the De Graeff family had a leading role in the Amsterdam administration, the city was at the peak of its political power. This period was also referred to by Republicans as the ‘Ware Vrijheid’ (True Freedom). It was the First Stadtholderless Period which lasted from 1650 to 1672. During these twenty years, the regents from Holland and in particular those of Amsterdam, controlled the republic. The city was flush with self-confidence and liked to compare itself to the famous Republic of Rome. Even without a stadtholder, things seemed to be going well for the Republic and its regents both politically and economically.
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