The history of the Cromhout family dynasty is full of ups and downs and unexpected turns. 

During the Golden Age, the family was part of Amsterdam’s most upper echelons. Various descendants held the position of mayor, assuring the family’s continued power and influence in the city. For example, they took a leading role in the extensions to the Canal Belt and the reclamation – or impoldering – of the Beemster. 

Monarchies ruled throughout much of 17th-century Europe, but in the Netherlands – and hence in Amsterdam – the citizens were their own masters. To be more specific, well-to-do citizens: an elite of Protestant families that kept the money and political power in closed circles by marrying between themselves. The Cromhouts were also part of this affluent world, until they converted to Catholicism. As Catholics, they were no longer allowed to participate in the city council, and potential marriage candidates were limited to the small number of wealthy Catholic families that remained in Amsterdam. However, the Cromhouts successfully married into the international Catholic nobility. The dynasty ended with the French princess Elisabeth de Vaudemont, who died childless in Paris in 1832.