Teutonic Order

The Order of Brothers of the German House of Saint Mary in Jerusalem (official names: Latin: Ordo domus Sanctæ Mariæ Theutonicorum Hierosolymitanorum, German: Orden der Brüder vom Deutschen Haus der Heiligen Maria in Jerusalem), commonly the Teutonic Order (Deutscher Orden, Deutschherrenorden or Deutschritterorden), is a Catholic religious order founded as a military order c. 1190 in Acre, Kingdom of Jerusalem.

The Teutonic Order was formed to aid Christians on their pilgrimages to the Holy Land and to establish hospitals. Its members have commonly been known as the Teutonic Knights, having a small voluntary and mercenary military membership, serving as a crusading military order for protection of Christians in the Holy Land and the Baltics during the Middle Ages.

Purely religious since 1929, the Teutonic Order still confers limited honorary knighthoods. The Bailiwick of Utrecht of the Teutonic Order, a Protestant chivalric order, is descended from the same medieval military order and also continues to award knighthoods and perform charitable work.


Formed in the year 1190 in Acre, in the Levant, the medieval Order played an important role in Outremer (the general name for the Crusader states), controlling the port tolls of Acre. After Christian forces were defeated in the Middle East, the Order moved to Transylvania in 1211 to help defend the South-Eastern borders of the Kingdom of Hungary against the Cumans. The Knights were expelled by force of arms by King Andrew II of Hungary in 1225, after attempting to place themselves under papal instead of the original Hungarian sovereignty and thus to become independent.

In 1230, following the Golden Bull of Rimini, Grand Master Hermann von Salza and Duke Konrad I of Masovia launched the Prussian Crusade, a joint invasion of Prussia intended to Christianize the Baltic Old Prussians. The Knights had quickly taken steps against their Polish hosts and with the Holy Roman Emperor's support, had changed the status of Chełmno Land (also Ziemia Chelminska or Kulmerland), where they were invited by the Polish prince, into their own property. Starting from there, the Order created the independent Monastic State of the Teutonic Knights, adding continuously the conquered Prussians' territory, and subsequently conquered Livonia. Over time, the kings of Poland denounced the Order for expropriating their lands, specifically Chełmno Land and later the Polish lands of Pomerelia (also Pomorze Gdańskie or Pomerania), Kujawy, and Dobrzyń Land.

The Order theoretically lost its main purpose in Europe with the Christianization of Lithuania. However, it initiated numerous campaigns against its Christian neighbours, the Kingdom of Poland, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and the Novgorod Republic (after assimilating the Livonian Order). The Teutonic Knights had a strong economic base which enabled them to hire mercenaries from throughout Europe to augment their feudal levies, and they also became a naval power in the Baltic Sea. In 1410, a Polish-Lithuanian army decisively defeated the Order and broke its military power at the Battle of Grunwald (Tannenberg). However, the capital of the Teutonic Knights was successfully defended in the following Siege of Marienburg and the Order was saved from collapse.

In 1515, Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I made a marriage alliance with Sigismund I of Poland-Lithuania. Thereafter, the empire did not support the Order against Poland. In 1525, Grand Master Albert of Brandenburg resigned and converted to Lutheranism, becoming Duke of Prussia as a vassal of Poland. Soon after, the Order lost Livonia and its holdings in the Protestant areas of Germany. The Order did keep its considerable holdings in Catholic areas of Germany until 1809, when Napoleon Bonaparte ordered its dissolution and the Order lost its last secular holdings.

However, the Order continued to exist as a charitable and ceremonial body. It was outlawed by Adolf Hitler in 1938, but re-established in 1945. Today it operates primarily with charitable aims in Central Europe.

The Knights wore white surcoats with a black cross. A cross pattée was sometimes used as their coat of arms; this image was later used for military decoration and insignia by the Kingdom of Prussia and Germany as the Iron Cross and Pour le Mérite. The motto of the Order was: "Helfen, Wehren, Heilen" ("Help, Defend, Heal").


In 1143 Pope Celestine II ordered the Knights Hospitaller to take over management of a German hospital in Jerusalem, which, according to the chronicler Jean d’Ypres, accommodated the countless German pilgrims and crusaders who could neither speak the local language nor Latin (patriæ linguam ignorantibus atque Latinam). Although formally an institution of the Hospitallers, the pope commanded that the prior and the brothers of the domus Theutonicorum (house of the Germans) should always be Germans themselves, so a tradition of a German-led religious institution could develop during the 12th century in the Kingdom of Jerusalem.

After the loss of Jerusalem in 1187, some merchants from Lübeck and Bremen took up the idea and founded a field hospital for the duration of the Siege of Acre in 1190, which became the nucleus of the order; Celestine III recognized it in 1192 by granting the monks Augustinian Rule. However, based on the model of the Knights Templar, it was transformed into a military order in 1198 and the head of the order became known as the Grand Master (magister hospitalis). It received papal orders for crusades to take and hold Jerusalem for Christianity and defend the Holy Land against the Muslim Saracens. During the rule of Grand Master Hermann von Salza (1209–1239) the Order changed from being a hospice brotherhood for pilgrims to primarily a military order.

The Order was founded in Acre, and the Knights purchased Montfort (Starkenberg), northeast of Acre, in 1220. This castle, which defended the route between Jerusalem and the Mediterranean Sea, was made the seat of the Grand Masters in 1229, although they returned to Acre after losing Montfort to Muslim control in 1271. The Order also had a castle at Amouda in Armenia Minor. The Order received donations of land in the Holy Roman Empire (especially in present-day Germany and Italy), Frankish Greece, and the Kingdom of Jerusalem.

Emperor Frederick II elevated his close friend Hermann von Salza to the status of Reichsfürst, or "Prince of the Empire", enabling the Grand Master to negotiate with other senior princes as an equal. During Frederick's coronation as King of Jerusalem in 1225, Teutonic Knights served as his escort in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre; von Salza read the emperor's proclamation in both French and German. However, the Teutonic Knights were never as influential in Outremer as the older Templars and Hospitallers.

Transylvania, Kingdom of Hungary

In 1211, Andrew II of Hungary accepted the services of the Teutonic Knights and granted them the district of Burzenland in Transylvania, where they would be immune to fees and duties and could enforce their own justice. Andrew had been involved in negotiations for the marriage of his daughter with the son of Hermann, Landgrave of Thuringia, whose vassals included the family of Hermann von Salza. Led by a brother called Theoderich, the Order defended the South-Eastern borders of the Kingdom of Hungary against the neighbouring Cumans. Many forts of wood and mud were built for defence. They settled new German peasants among the existing inhabitants, who were known as the Transylvanian Saxons. The Cumans had no fixed settlements for resistance, and soon the Teutons were expanding into their territory. By 1220, The Teutonics Knights had built five castles, some of them made of stone. Their rapid expansion made the Hungarian nobility and clergy, who were previously uninterested in those regions, jealous and suspicious. Some nobles claimed these lands, but the Order refused to share them, ignoring the demands of the local bishop. After the Fifth Crusade, King Andrew returned to Hungary and found his Kingdom full of grudge because of the expenses and losses of the failed military campaign. When the nobles demanded that he cancel the concessions made to the Knights, he concluded that they had exceeded their task and that the agreement should be revised, but did not revert the concessions. However, Prince Béla, heir to the throne, was allied with the nobility. In 1224, the Teutonic Knights, seeing that they would have problems when the Prince inherited the Kingdom, petitioned Pope Honorius III to be placed directly under the authority of the Papal See, rather than that of the King of Hungary. This was a grave mistake, as King Andrew, angered and alarmed at their growing power, responded by expelling the Teutonic Knights in 1225, although he allowed the commoners and peasants (the Transylvanian Saxons) to remain. Lacking the military organization and experience of the Teutonic Knights, the Hungarians did not replace them with adequate defenses and stopped the attacks against the Cumans. Soon, the steppe warriors would be a threat again.


In 1226, Konrad I, Duke of Masovia in north-eastern Poland, appealed to the Knights to defend his borders and subdue the pagan Baltic Prussians, allowing the Teutonic Knights use of Chełmno Land (Culmerland) as a base for their campaign. This being a time of widespread crusading fervor throughout Western Europe, Hermann von Salza considered Prussia a good training ground for his knights for the wars against the Muslims in Outremer. With the Golden Bull of Rimini, Emperor Frederick II bestowed on the Order a special imperial privilege for the conquest and possession of Prussia, including Chełmno Land, with nominal papal sovereignty. In 1235 the Teutonic Knights assimilated the smaller Order of Dobrzyń, which had been established earlier by Christian, the first Bishop of Prussia.

The conquest of Prussia was accomplished with much bloodshed over more than fifty years, during which native Prussians who remained unbaptized were subjugated, killed, or exiled. Fighting between the Knights and the Prussians was ferocious; chronicles of the Order state the Prussians would "roast captured brethren alive in their armor, like chestnuts, before the shrine of a local god."

The native nobility who submitted to the crusaders had many of their privileges affirmed in the Treaty of Christburg. After the Prussian uprisings of 1260–83, however, much of the Prussian nobility emigrated or were resettled, and many free Prussians lost their rights. The Prussian nobles who remained were more closely allied with the German landowners and gradually assimilated. Peasants in frontier regions, such as Samland, had more privileges than those in more populated lands, such as Pomesania. The crusading knights often accepted baptism as a form of submission by the natives. Christianity along western lines slowly spread through Prussian culture. Bishops were reluctant to have Prussian religious practices integrated into the new faith, while the ruling knights found it easier to govern the natives when they were semi-pagan and lawless. After fifty years of warfare and brutal conquest, the end result meant that most of the Prussian natives were either killed or deported.

The Order ruled Prussia under charters issued by the Pope and the Holy Roman Emperor as a sovereign monastic state, comparable to the arrangement of the Knights Hospitallers in Rhodes and later in Malta.

To make up for losses from the plague and to replace the partially exterminated native population, the Order encouraged immigration from the Holy Roman Empire (mostly Germans, Flemish, and Dutch) and from Masovia (Poles), the later Masurians. These included nobles, burghers, and peasants, and the surviving Old Prussians were gradually assimilated through Germanization. The settlers founded numerous towns and cities on former Prussian settlements. The Order itself built a number of castles (Ordensburgen) from which it could defeat uprisings of Old Prussians, as well as continue its attacks on the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Kingdom of Poland, with which the Order was often at war during the 14th and 15th centuries. Major towns founded by the Order included Allenstein (Olsztyn), Elbing (Elbląg), Klaipėda (Memel), and Königsberg, founded in 1255 in honor of King Otakar II of Bohemia on the site of a destroyed Prussian settlement.

In 1236 the Knights of Saint Thomas, an English order, adopted the rules of the Teutonic Order. A contingent of Teutonic Knights of indeterminate number is traditionally believed to have participated at the Battle of Legnica in 1241 against the Mongols. However, recent analysis of the 15th-century Annals of Jan Długosz by Labuda suggests that the German crusaders may have been added to the text (listing the Allied Army) after the chronicler Długosz had completed the work. Legnica is the furthest west the Mongol expansion would reach in Poland.


The Livonian Brothers of the Sword were absorbed by the Teutonic Knights in 1237, after the former had suffered a devastating defeat in the Battle of Saule. The Livonian branch subsequently became known as the Livonian Order.[24] Attempts to expand into Rus failed when the knights suffered a major defeat in 1242 in the Battle of the Ice at the hands of Prince Alexander Nevsky of Novgorod. Over the next decades the Order focused on the subjugation of the Curonians and Semigallians. In 1260 it suffered a disastrous defeat in the Battle of Durbe against Samogitians, which inspired rebellions throughout Prussia and Livonia. After the Teutonic Knights won a crucial victory in the Siege of Königsberg from 1262 to 1265, the war had reached a turning point. The Curonians were finally subjugated in 1267 and the Semigallians in 1290. The Order suppressed a major Estonian rebellion in 1343-1345, and in 1346 purchased the Duchy of Estonia from Denmark.

Against Lithuania

The Teutonic Knights began to direct their campaigns against pagan Lithuania (see Lithuanian mythology), due to the long existing conflicts in the region (including constant incursions into the Holy Roman Empire's territory by pagan raiding parties) and the lack of a proper area of operation for the Knights, after the fall of the Kingdom of Jerusalem at Acre in 1291 and their later expulsion from Hungary. At first the knights moved their headquarters to Venice, from which they planned the recovery of Outremer, this plan was, however, shortly abandoned, and the Order later moved its headquarters to Marienburg, so it could better focus its efforts on the region of Prussia. Because "Lithuania Propria" remained non-Christian until the end of the 14th century, much later than the rest of eastern Europe, the conflicts stretched out for a longer time, and many Knights from western European countries, such as England and France, journeyed to Prussia to participate in the seasonal campaigns (reyse) against the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. In 1348, the Order won a great victory over the Lithuanians in the Battle of Strėva, severely weakening them. The Teutonic Knights won a decisive victory over Lithuania in the Battle of Rudau in 1370.

Warfare between the Order and the Lithuanians was especially brutal. It was common practice for Lithuanians to torture captured enemies and civilians, it is recorded by a Teutonic chronicler that they had the habit of tying captured Knights to their horses and having both of them burned alive, while sometimes a stake would be driven into their bodies, or the Knight would be flayed. Lithuanian pagan customs included ritualistic human sacrifice, the hanging of widows, and the burying of a warrior's horses and servants with him after his death. The Knights would also, on occasion, take captives from defeated Lithuanians, whose condition (as that of other war captives in the Middle Ages) was extensively researched by Jacques Heers. The conflict had much influence in the political situation of the region, and was the source of many rivalries between Lithuanians or Poles and Germans, the degree to which it impacted the mentalities of the time can be seen in the lyrical works of men such as the contemporary Austrian poet Peter Suchenwirt.

The conflict in its entirety lasted over 200 years (although with varying degrees of aggression during that time), with its front line along both banks of the Neman River, with as many as twenty forts and castles between Seredžius and Jurbarkas alone.

Against Poland

A dispute over the succession to the Duchy of Pomerelia embroiled the Order in further conflict at the beginning of the 14th century. The Margraves of Brandenburg had claims to the duchy that they acted upon after the death of King Wenceslaus of Poland in 1306. Duke Władysław I the Elbow-high of Poland also claimed the duchy, based on inheritance from Przemysław II, but he was opposed by some Pomeranians nobles. They requested help from Brandenburg, which subsequently occupied all of Pomerelia except for the citadel of Danzig (Gdańsk) in 1308. Because Władysław was unable to come to the defense of Danzig, the Teutonic Knights, then led by Hochmeister Siegfried von Feuchtwangen, were called to expel the Brandenburgers.

The Order, under a Prussian Landmeister Heinrich von Plötzke, evicted the Brandenburgers from Danzig in September 1308 but then refused to yield the town to the Poles, and according to some sources massacred the town's inhabitants; although the exact extent of the violence is unknown, and widely recognized by historians to be an unsolvable mystery. The estimates range from 60 rebellious leaders, reported by dignitaries of the region and Knight chroniclers, to 10,000 civilians, a number cited in a papal bull (of dubious precedence) that was used in a legal process installed to punish the Order for the event; the legal dispute went on for a time, but the Order was eventually absolved of the charges. In the Treaty of Soldin, the Teutonic Order purchased Brandenburg's supposed claim to the castles of Danzig, Schwetz (Świecie), and Dirschau (Tczew) and their hinterlands from the margraves for 10,000 marks on 13 September 1309.

Control of Pomerelia allowed the Order to connect their monastic state with the borders of the Holy Roman Empire. Crusading reinforcements and supplies could travel from the Imperial territory of Hither Pomerania through Pomerelia to Prussia, while Poland's access to the Baltic Sea was blocked. While Poland had mostly been an ally of the knights against the pagan Prussians and Lithuanians, the capture of Pomerelia turned the kingdom into a determined enemy of the Order.

The capture of Danzig marked a new phase in the history of the Teutonic Knights. The persecution and abolition of the powerful Knights Templar, which began in 1307, worried the Teutonic Knights, but control of Pomerelia allowed them to move their headquarters in 1309 from Venice to Marienburg (Malbork) on the Nogat River, outside the reach of secular powers. The position of Prussian Landmeister was merged with that of the Grand Master. The Pope began investigating misconduct by the knights, but no charges were found to have substance. Along with the campaigns against the Lithuanians, the knights faced a vengeful Poland and legal threats from the Papacy.

The Treaty of Kalisz of 1343 ended open war between the Teutonic Knights and Poland. The Knights relinquished Kuyavia and Dobrzyń Land to Poland, but retained Culmerland and Pomerelia with Danzig.

Height of Power

In 1337, Emperor Louis IV allegedly granted the Order the imperial privilege to conquer all Lithuania and Russia. During the reign of Grand Master Winrich von Kniprode (1351–1382), the Order reached the peak of its international prestige and hosted numerous European crusaders and nobility.

King Albert of Sweden ceded Gotland to the Order as a pledge (similar to a fiefdom), with the understanding that they would eliminate the pirating Victual Brothers from this strategic island base in the Baltic Sea. An invasion force under Grand Master Konrad von Jungingen conquered the island in 1398 and drove the Victual Brothers out of Gotland and the Baltic Sea.

In 1386, Grand Duke Jogaila of Lithuania was baptised into Christianity and married Queen Jadwiga of Poland, taking the name Władysław II Jagiełło and becoming King of Poland. This created a personal union between the two countries and a potentially formidable opponent for the Teutonic Knights. The Order initially managed to play Jogaila and his cousin Vytautas against each other, but this strategy failed when Vytautas began to suspect that the Order was planning to annex parts of his territory.

The baptism of Jogaila began the official conversion of Lithuania to Christianity. Although the crusading rationale for the Order's state ended when Prussia and Lithuania had become officially Christian, the Order's feuds and wars with Lithuania and Poland continued. The Lizard Union was created in 1397 by Prussian nobles in Culmerland to oppose the Order's policy.

In 1407, the Teutonic Order reached its greatest territorial extent and included the lands of Prussia, Pomerelia, Samogitia, Courland, Livonia, Estonia, Gotland, Dagö, Ösel, and the Neumark, pawned by Brandenburg in 1402.

Bailiwick of Utrecht

The Bailiwick of Utrecht of the Teutonic Order (Dutch: Ridderlijke Duitse Orde Balije van Utrecht) is a charity based in Utrecht, Netherlands. It originated in 1231 as a division of the order of Teutonic Knights. During the Protestant Reformation most of the members became Protestant, mainly Reformed or Lutheran. The Bailiwick cut its ties with the order based in the Holy Roman Empire and placed itself under the protection of the United Provinces of the Netherlands. The order was briefly suppressed during the Napoleonic era, but revived in 1815 after the restoration of the House of Orange. In 1995 it returned to the Duitse Huis (Teutonic House) as its headquarters, a building that dates from 1348.


The Teutonic Order originated in 1190 during the siege of Acre in the Holy Land during the Third Crusade. At first the mission was to nurse the sick and wounded crusaders. In 1198 a military element was added. The mission was to fight the enemies of Christendom, particularly in the Holy Land, and to protect pilgrims to the holy land. The statutes of the order were confirmed by Pope Innocent III in a bull of 19 February 1199.

The Teutonic Order was particularly active in the Baltic region. However, it had many branches in the west to provide sources of funds and of recruits. As with other religious institutions, the order depended on donations of land and buildings from princes and private individuals. The income could then support the troops. The order soon established an organization throughout the German Empire of bailiwicks headed by a land commander reporting to the German master. Below the land commander were commanders, who administered the order's property.

The Teutonic Order was given property in the Netherlands in 1218–19 by Count Adolf van den Berg and Sweder van Dingede. The master of the order held the property at first. The Bailiwick of Utrecht was established in 1231 when a donation was made of a house with land at the Tolsteegsingel, outside Utrecht in the location of the present University Hospital. In 1232 a commander's house had been built and Antonius van Printhagen, known as "Lederzak" (leatherbag) was named commander of Utrecht. This became the headquarters of all the property of the Teutonic order in the diocese of Utrecht, Holland, Zeeland, Friesland and Gelderland.

Early Years

The Teutonic Order's Bailiwick of Utrecht (Balije van Utrecht) initially focused mainly on the spiritual development of its own members. The knights and priests took the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. The Bailiwick of Utrecht soon owned several estates and churches. These included the church of Hofdijk, later Maasland (1241), St. Nicholas Church in Utrecht (1250), Leiden (1268), Schoneveld in Rhenen (1270), the Church of Valkenburg in Katwijk (1388) and so on. Commanderies were founded to manage these properties, and over time these came to include the commanderies of Dieren, Schelluinen, Maasland, Schoten, Middelburg, Tiel, Leiden, Doesburg, Nes (Friesland), Valkenburg, Bunne (Drenthe), Schoonhoven, Rhenen and Katwijk. There were convents of priest brethren at Nes, Rhenen and Tiel. The smaller houses also owned large areas of land, and were run by commanders. The head of a commandery was usually a knight but was sometimes a priest brother.

The knight brethren were nobles. The land commander was always a knight, and most of the commanders were also knights. A knight brother had to have no physical defects, and be of legitimate birth with four noble grandparents. He gave a vow of chastity and obedience. Once admitted after an elaborate ceremony he could not leave the order. The order was not a religious one, since its goals were mainly nursing the sick and fighting the enemies of Christendom, but religious worship played a large role in the community's life. A convent or main house of a Bailiwick should consist of a commander and twelve brothers, recalling Jesus and his disciples. Thus in the 15th century the Duitse Huis had five knight brothers and eight priest brothers.

In 1345 Count William IV of Holland, who was engaged in a struggle with the bishop of Utrecht, laid siege to Utrecht. After the siege the land commander decided to move his headquarters into the city for safety reasons. He bought some land with four houses on the Springweg for this purpose. Construction began in May 1347, and by 1358 the headquarters house and a large church were complete. The Duitse Huis lay between the city wall and Springweg. In the main Duitse Huis in addition to the knights and priests there were staff who assisted in church services and helped run the house and manage the bailiwick. These included the treasurer, clerks, storekeeper and other administrative staff, as well as builders and craftsmen, and servants such as the baker, brewer, dishwasher and barber. The Duitse Huis had a large household for which a well-coordinated organization was essential.

The Bailiwick's expenses were covered by the return from assets, mostly farmland, which could not be alienated or encumbered without the assent of the general chapter of the order. As long as regular donations were received, the system was workable. With political strife, it began to fall apart. In 1520 there was a financial crisis when the general chapter demanded more money, and the land commanders of Utrecht, Alden Biezen, Westphalia and Lorraine jointly protested. They organized another protest in 1529 when the general chapter in Frankfurt asked for a further financial sacrifice. The Guelderian Wars caused much damage by both sides to the bailiwick's possessions, and the bailiwick had to supply 20 land knights to Vienna to help in the fight against the Turks, at considerable expense. In 1525 Albert of Brandenberg, grand master of the Teutonic Order, adopted Lutheranism and was made hereditary duke of Prussia by Sigismund I, king of Poland. After the loss of Prussia the Grand Magistery of the Order was transferred to Mergentheim.

Sometimes the Duitse Huis was the place of pomp and ceremony. In 1545 the Emperor Charles V and his sister Mary of Hungary made the house their residence on the occasion of a meeting of the Order of the Golden Fleece. In 1570 the administrator of the order's high master was housed there when he accompanied the Anne of Austria to Spain as bride of Philip II. Although technically bound to celibacy, the knights did not take this vow very seriously. Albert van Egmond van Meresteyn, land commander in 1536–60, kept a mistress in a cottage in the Teutonic House grounds and apparently legitimized her daughter in 1549. His successor Frans van Loo, land commander in 1560–79, also paid no attention to this vow. Frans van Loo and his coadjutor Jasper van Egmond were both assumed to have Protestant sympathies.

Transitional period

The Union of Utrecht was signed on 23 January 1579 in Utrecht by Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Gelderland and Groningen. In the months that followed the other Protestant territories and cities of the Netherlands joined the union. In 1580 the States of Utrecht began to demand that Catholic institutions such as the Bailiwick be dissolved and their goods used for charity. The Catholic land commander in 1579–1612, Jacob Taets van Amerongen, resisted on the basis that the goods "belonged to our Lord the German Master", and that the Bailiwick was a knightly institution that served "where necessary to fight with weapons for the defense of the Empire against our common arch enemy, the Turk..."

A struggle ensued with the States of Utrecht, which finally allowed the order to continue to exist on condition that they completely break with the Teutonic Order in Germany. The States of Utrecht would appoint the land commander, coadjutor and commanders. Assets could not be sold without the consent of the States and the order had to contribute to the costs of maintenance and preservation of the reformed worship. Although forced to accept these terms, Taets van Amerongen was an ardent supporter of the Catholic faith and throughout his life considered that he was subordinate to the German master and the Archduke of Austria.

Taets van Amerongen died on 4 December 1612. On 18 December 1612 the commanders were ordered to provide a detailed account of their goods, rents and mortgages. The investigation showed that the Bailiwick had serious problems and had to adopt drastic measures. Dieren and Tiel were heavily indebted, and some property had to be sold. On 8 June 1615, when the chapter asked for permission to appoint a coadjutor, the States determined that offices, prebends and so on could only be given to followers of the reformed religion.

The decisive moment in the transition may have occurred when Jasper van Lynden took office in 1619, since he was the first Protestant land commander. At almost the same time, Hendrik Casimir van Nassau-Dietz was appointed coadjutor of the order, at the age of seven. A new regulation was adopted in 1619 allowing the land commander, coadjutor and commanders to marry, but they had to leave the order and had no claim to their property. By a resolution of 13 November 1637 the ban on marriage was withdrawn, and this was approved by the States on 5 May 1640, so married members could remain with the Bailiwick.

Protestant Order

In 1637 the knights formally accepted the protection of the United Provinces of the Netherlands. They remained an order of Teutonic Knights, but were no longer Catholic. The land commander and commanders decided on admission to the order. Candidates had to provide their certificate of baptism and had to belong to the reformed church. After paying their fees, they became knights expectant, and had to wait for a vacancy among the commanders.

The Bailiwick gradually lost property. The house in Dieren was destroyed by soldiers in 1629 and had to be rebuilt. The new house and its estate were sold to the Prince of Orange. In 1657 the town of Doesburg took over the commander's house for use as an orphanage. The order lost the church of Katwijk in 1674. Buildings that were too expensive to maintain were demolished in Tiel (1682), Maasland (1721), Leiden (1730), Middelburg (1740) and Schoonhoven (1740). By now the commanders generally did not live in their commanderies, and did not exercise effective financial control. At a meeting on 23 September 1760 a general steward was appointed to take over all financial administration. The commanders now became purely title holders, receiving a salary determined by the rank and importance of the commandery. The general steward received a salary of 6% of total revenues, plus fixed fees for managing the finances and maintaining the house in Utrecht. Use of this house for banquets, balls and concerts was forbidden.

The land commander and the priestly brothers, knights and staff remained at the Duitse Huis until 1807, when the property was sold to King Louis for 50,000 guilders. They then moved to a house in the Hague, taking their records with them. On 27 February 1811 the Teutonic Order was abolished by the French in the Kingdom of Holland and its estates were confiscated. The land commander Baron Bentinck asked the French for time to arrange for the settlement, and managed to greatly delay the process. A book published in 1812, slightly out of date, said the bailiwick of Utrecht still had ten commanderies: Dieren, Veluve, Tiel, Maasland, Rheenen, Leyden, Schoten,.Doesburg, Schelluinen, Middelburg and Schoonhoven.

After the fall of Napoleon and the restoration of the House of Orange, on 8 August 1815 the Bailiwick was revived by royal decree of William I of the Netherlands. The membership was restricted to Lutheran noblemen with sixteen noble quarterings. In recent years this restriction has been relaxed, but members must still have four noble grandparents, and the families of the paternal and maternal lines must both date to before 1795. In December 1836 the seat of the order was moved back to Utrecht. In 1995 the Teutonic Order moved back into the 15th century Commander's house on the corner of Springweg and Walsteeg. Today the order is engaged in charitable work, an echo of its original mission which also combined ministering to the sick with combating the infidel. The order assists people with disabilities, the homeless and drug addicts. It is the oldest charitable organization in the Netherlands.