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Justinus van Nassau
Justinus van Nassau 1559-1631.jpg
Justinus van Nassau
Born 1559
Died 1631 (aged 71–72)
Leiden, Holland, Dutch Republic
Place of burial Hooglandse Kerk, Leiden, Netherlands
Spouse(s) Anna van Mérode
Children Willem Maurits van Nassau
Louise Henriëtte van Nassau
Philips van Nassau
Parents William the Silent
Eva Elincx
Velazquez-The Surrender of Breda

The Surrender of Breda by Diego Velázquez. Justinus of Nassau hands over the keys of the city to Ambrogio Spinola

Justinus van Nassau (1559 – 1631) was the only extramarital child of William of Orange. He was a Dutch army commander known for unsuccessfully defending Breda against the Spanish, and the depiction of his surrender on the famous picture by Diego Velázquez, The Surrender of Breda.

His mother was Eva Elincx, William's mistress between his first and second marriage. William of Orange recognized Justinus and raised him with his other children.

Justinus studied in Leiden and became lieutenant-Colonel on May 17, 1583. On February 28, 1585 he became lieutenant-admiral of Zealand, and fought in 1588 against the Spanish Armada, capturing two galleons.

From 1601 until 1625 he was governor of Breda. In 1625 he had to surrender Breda to the Spanish general Ambrogio Spinola after a siege of 11 months. Justinus was allowed to leave for Leiden.


He married on December 4, 1597 with Anna baronesse van Mérode (January 9, 1567 - Leiden, October 8, 1634) and had three children.

I. Willem Maurits van Nassau (June 1603 - Leiden, 1638), married to Maria van Aerssen van Sommelsdijk and had issue:

  • Justinus, no issue.
  • Justina van Nassau (March 1635 - c. 1676), married to George van Cats ter Coulster (1632–1676) and had issue:

i. Willem Maurits van Cats [1], (c.1670 - Dec. 1743).

  • Anna van Nassau (c. 1638 - Haag 1721), married to Willem Adriaan Count van Horn Batenburg and had issue.

II. Louise Henriëtte van Nassau (1604 - somewhere between 1637 and 1645), no issue.

III. Philips van Nassau (1605 - somewhere between 1672 and 1676), married and had issue.

He and his wife were buried in the Hooglandse Kerk in Leiden.

The following arms are recorded for Justinus, based on those of his father William the Silent. They show the bend-dexter of a legitimate child in white, rather than the bend-sinster of an illegitimate child.:


  1. Rietstap, Johannes Baptist (1861). Armorial général, contenant la description des armoiries des familles nobles et patriciennes de l'Europe: précédé d'un dictionnaire des termes du blason. G.B. van Goor. p. 746. 

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