Pragmatic Sanction of 1549

The Pragmatic Sanction of 1549 was an edict, promulgated by Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, reorganising the Seventeen Provinces of the present-day Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg into one indivisible territory,[1] while retaining existing customs, laws, and forms of government within the provinces.[2]

It was his plan to centralize the administrative units of the Holy Roman Empire. The Pragmatic Sanction transformed the agglomeration of lands into a unified entity, of which the Habsburgs would be the heirs. By streamlining the succession law in all Seventeen Provinces and declaring that all of them would be inherited by one heir, Charles effectively united the Netherlands as one entity. After Charles' abdication in 1555, the Seventeen Provinces passed to his son, Philip II of Spain.[3]

The Pragmatic Sanction is said to be one example of the Habsburg contest with particularism that contributed to the Dutch Revolt. Each of the provinces had its own laws, customs and political practices. The new policy, imposed from the outside, angered many inhabitants, who viewed their provinces as distinct entities. It and other monarchical acts, such as the creation of bishoprics and promulgation of laws against heresy, stoked resentments, which fired the eruption of the Dutch Revolt.[4]


The Low Countries in 1560.

The document was written in Middle French. The following territories, collectively called nos Pays de pardeçà ("our Lands around here", meaning the Netherlands, as opposed to nos Pays de par delà, "our Lands over there", meaning the Franche-Comté and originally also the Duchy of Burgundy) are mentioned in the Pragmatic Sanction of 1549:

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "History of Luxembourg: Primary Documents". EuroDocs. Retrieved 10 September 2017.
  2. ^ Limm, P. (12 May 2014). "The Dutch Revolt 1559 - 1648". Routledge. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
  3. ^ Ronald, Susan (7 August 2012). "Heretic Queen: Queen Elizabeth I and the Wars of Religion". St. Martin's Press. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
  4. ^ State, Paul F. (2008). A Brief History of the Netherlands. Infobase Publishing. p. 46. ISBN 9781438108322. Retrieved 20 October 2018.