The first European Summit in The Hague

The Order of the Golden Fleece enabled Philip the Good to get his hooks in all the districts that he controlled. But, of course, the Golden Fleece knights also had to keep in touch with each other. So, Philip the Good organized gatherings, named Chapters, in various cities throughout his Burgundy empire.

The choice of city depended on the political circumstances at the time. The First Chapter was held one year after the Order had been established in Lille in 1431. The Ninth Chapter was organized by the Duke in The Hague, in the year 1456.

The meetings were the most important element of a Chapter. The nobles would discuss important political business and the conduct of the Golden Fleece knights. Misconduct was punished and heroic acts praised. Furthermore, knights who had passed away were remembered and new knights elected. For the religious ceremonies the knights gathered at a church.

Did you know:
that the National Library of the Netherlands in The Hague houses the fifteenth-century Statutes and Armorial of the Order of the Golden Fleece? The book opens with one of the oldest scenes of a meeting of the Order of the Golden Fleece.

The Golden Fleece knights came from all over Europe, from County Holland to the Kingdom of Aragon, and all the Burgundy territories in between. So, a Chapter was really a kind of political summit on European level.