Dutch Regime

Dutch Regime
   Brussels served as joint capital with The Hague of the kingdom of the Netherlands, a union of Belgium and the Netherlands proposed in the Protocol of the Eight Articles (21 June 1814) and confirmed at the Congress of Vienna (9 June 1815). Prince William of Orange-Nassau entered Brussels on 30 March 1814 and was enthroned as King William I on 31 July. The States-General, the legislative body, met in September 1815 at the Hôtel de Ville, presided over by the king. The court, the States-General, and 600 to 700 functionaries shuttled back and forth as Brussels regained its role as a royal and governing center. Most of the diplomatic corps elected to reside in Brussels, which helped give the city a glittering social scene. The heir to the throne, the future William II, established his principal residence in a townhouse on rue Ducale.
   Municipal government was controlled by the property-owning elites. The Basic Law of 1817 stipulated that a college of 933 electors, exclusively tax-paying citizens, would elect a regency council. Council members in turn drew up a list of names from which the king chose the burgomaster and aldermen. In 1825, royal authority was extended when the king reserved to himself the right to appoint the burgomaster, who could be chosen at the sovereign's discretion from outside the council.
   Considerable economic development took place. The city was granted the right to levy tolls at its gates in 1814. A number of financial institutions, including the Société Générale, were established, and construction of the Brussels-Charleroi Canal (completed in 1832) brought increased trade. Textile mills were founded and luxury industries revived. Gas lighting was introduced in 1819.
   The Théâtre royal de la Monnaie and Palais Royal were built and the rue Royale extended to the porte de Schaerbeek. Nevertheless, policies of the regime engendered growing discontent among governing elites in the city, which culminated in the Belgian Revolution.

Historical Dictionary of Brussels. .

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