Some illustrious van der Dussen

Among the earliest ancestors of the Dutch branch, we can claim Jan I van der Dussen, knight, wounded in 1288 at the Battle of Woeringen (on the Rhine, near Cologne) where he fought alongside the Duke of Brabant.

His grandson, Jan III, built a tower near the river Dussen (1340). This dungeon later became the present castle Dussen. (near Breda, in the North Brabant, NL)

A little later, we discover Nicolas, Teutonic Knight Commander of the Order in Gemert (1437) and Utrecht, advisor to Charles the Bold.

Arendt, born about 1418 in Brussels, is the central figure in the introduction and dissemination of Flemish tapestries in Italy. Nicknamed Rinaldo Boterham, he was both tapestry maker and tapestry merchant, traveller ; beeing well connected with the ruling families of Italy (Gonzaga, Este, Sforza ...) he sold them major works.

Adriaan, a native of Delft as most of the van der Dussen from the "Dutch" branches, carved out a career with the East India Company, where he had a "tough guy" reputation. For example, he put down indigenous revolts and went out hunting for slaves to replace the decimated natives... He was also Lieutenant Governor for the Batjan Islands, advisor to the Sultan of Djohor, then (in 1620) in charge of the trading post at Jambi (Sumatra).

Around the same time (in 1623), another Adriaan van der Dussen, cousin of the preceding one, was accused of plotting against the life of the Prince of Orange (Maurice of Nassau, son of William the Silent). He owes his survival to being hidden in a boat under a load of cheese (!). Some of his accomplices were arrested and executed.

Paulus was cons-Admiral and participated in major naval battles of the time: the shipping in1688 bringing the Prince of Orange to England where he took power ; also the battle of The Hague (1692), and the taking of Gibraltar by the English (1704). During his long career, he won no less than 64 naval battles !

One of the most famous van der Dussen was probably Bruno, who represented the United Provinces at the conclusion of the Treaty of Utrecht with France in 1713. His seal and convoluted signature at the bottom of the Treaty can be seen and admired. (Pirenne, "Histoire de Belgique" in four volumes).

Jan Lucas, grandson of Bruno, was a wealthy lord, possessing a beautiful castle and a famous collection of paintings. He died in 1772, during the burning of the theater in Amsterdam. His daughter Mietje is the heroine of a lovely book of family memories (Mietje van der Dusssen door LE, Ed RUYS, Utrecht 1918) For an account of her youth and life spent deep in the countryside of Gelderland, see extracts of this book in the section reserved for Mietje.

In the "Belgian" lineage (the term "Belgian" made no sense at the time) we can claim Libert, alderman of the city of Brussels in 1577, Lord of La Tour and Witterzée in Bornival. He began a valuable family book called "Memorial boucksken", that his descendants held and then passed down for 150 years.  The full text will be presented on this site. His grand-son, Louis-François, was murdered in Brussels in 1642 at the age of 29 years. We do not know details of the incident.

Jean-Adolphe was a captain in the Spanish cavalry. He married Teresa Renelde Spruyt in 1673, great-granddaughter of Jeanne van der Gheynst, the mother of Margaret of Parma (the father beeing young Charles of Habsburg, the future Charles V). Jean-Adolphe built the manor of Kestergat in 1685, in which the "Belgian" van der Dussen settled.

Eugene Francois, Bornival lord, head of garrison at Ath in 1715, Baron of the Holy Roman Empire, married a second wife Constance Teresa Rubens, the great granddaughter of the painter. Unfortunately their offspring has become extinct, so no van der Dussen today can claim to be a descendant of Rubens !

François Simon Charles was mayor of St John Molenbeek under Dutch regime (1819). He lived in the castle "Les Etangs Noirs" which has since disappeared. A van der Dussen street remains today in Molenbeek, as well as a Rue des Etangs Noirs...

Jean-Marie, said, "Jean Kestergat" has been a journalist with "La Libre Belgique" for nearly 40 years (until 1987). He was considered a leading expert on Africa. In addition to regularly published reports, he has written books and novels on Africa. Note his bibliography and excerpts from his works in the chapter devoted to him.

We owe to him the restoration of Kestergat, the mansion of his ancestors, as well as an essay "The van der Dussen" with a complete genealogy, this work being the basis of this website.

There are many more van der Dussen ! The official genealogy* lists, between 1250 and 1900, nearly 500 descendants of Jan I. To find out more about these and other characters, as well as the genealogy* of the "Dutch" and "Belgian" van der Dussen, continue exploring this site and you will discover fascinating documents - some unpublished- as well as links to other sources of information. Many of them are in French, some in Dutch.

* This official genealogy has been disputed in recent years, and the beautiful family tree of van der Dussen, ongoing since 1250 to the present day could contain some fractures. See section "genealogy" to follow.