- Van der Noot, Henri
- (1731-1827)Henri Van der Noot was born in Brussels on 7 January 1731 into one of the city's aristocratic families. Licensed in law at Leuven in 1757 he served as a lawyer for the Council of Brabant and counted among his clients the nations of Brussels. On 23 April 1787, he presented a "Mémoire sur les droits du peuple brabançon" to the Estates, which constituted a lengthy treatise on violations of local liberties by Emperor Joseph II and authorities of the Austrian regime. He formed a committee (comité) of resisters, which advocated restoration of ancient local rights and maintenance of traditional governing structures. Van der Noot's name would henceforth be associated with those who supported preserving privileges guaranteed by the Joyeuse Entrée and enjoyed by the Estates, the nations, and the guilds.At the end of August 1788, the Austrians arrested Madame de Bellem, Van der Noot's mistress and an active writer and distributor of incendiary pamphlets. Van der Noot fled to Breda, the Netherlands, where he sought assistance from the Dutch, British, and Prussian governments to expel the Austrians. The effort proved fruitless but in the subsequent Brabant Revolution he was hailed as the "Belgian Washington." Fêted at a ceremony at the Théâtre royal de la Monnaie on 18 December 1789, he was named first minister of the newly proclaimed United States of Belgium. Van der Noot later clashed with democrats over the governmental organization of the new republic. Following the return of the Austrians, he fled, first, to the Netherlands and, two years later, to Great Britain. He opposed the democratic republican government established under French auspices in 1792. He returned to Brussels in 1796, uncomfortable with and unwelcomed by authorities of the French regime. In 1814, Van der Noot called for restoration of Austrian rule. He died in obscurity in Strombeek on 12 January 1827.
Historical Dictionary of Brussels. Paul F. State.