- This article deals with the historical county and duchy of Guelders, for other meanings see Gelderland.
Guelders or Gueldres (Dutch: Gelre, German: Geldern) is the name of a historical county, later duchy in the Low Countries.
The duchy was named after the town of Geldern, which is now in Germany. The present province of Gelderland (English also Guelders) in the Netherlands occupies most of the area of the former duchy.
The county and duchy of Guelders consisted not only of parts of the actual Dutch provinces of Gelderland and Limburg but also part of the present-day German state of North Rhine-Westphalia.
The duchy was divided into four quarters:
- the quarter of Arnhem, also called the Veluwe,
- the quarter of Nijmegen, also called the Betuwe,
- the quarter of Zutphen, also called the Achterhoek,
- the quarter of Roermond (now in the Dutch province of Limburg), also called the Upper Quarter of Guelders or Overkwartier. The actual centre was Montfort.
Guelders was often at war with the county of Holland and the Prince-Bishopric of Utrecht, until the dukes of Burgundy acquired the whole area.
When the northern Netherlands revolted against Philip II of Spain in the 16th century, the three northern quarters became part of the United Provinces, while the Upper Quarter remained a part of the Spanish Southern Netherlands.
At the Treaty of Utrecht, ending the War of the Spanish Succession in 1713, the Spanish Upper Quarter was divided between Prussian Guelders (a.o. Geldern, Viersen, Horst, Venray), the United Provinces (a.o. Venlo, Montfort, Echt), Austria (a.o. Roermond, Niederkrüchten, Weert) and the duchy of Jülich (Erkelenz).
Coat of arms of Guelders
The coat of arms of the region evolved during the ages.
Guelders in popular culture
William Thatcher, the lead character in the 2001 film A Knight's Tale
played by Heath Ledger
claimed to be Sir Ulrich von Liechtenstein
so as to appear to be of noble birth and thus qualify to participate in jousting.