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Battle of Heiligerlee
Conflict: Dutch Revolt
Date: 23 May 1568
Place: Heiligerlee, Groningen, Netherlands
Outcome: Dutch victory

Flag of Netherlands Dutch rebels

Flag of New Spain Spain


Flag of Netherlands Louis of Nassau
Flag of Netherlands Adolf of Nassau

Flag of New Spain Jean de Ligne


3,900 infantry
200 cavalry

3,200 infantry
20 cavalry


50 dead or wounded

2,000 dead, wounded, or captured

The Battle of Heiligerlee (23 May 1568) was fought between Dutch rebels and the Spanish army in Friesland during the Dutch Revolt. In the first Dutch victory of the war, 4,100 Dutch troops under the brothers Louis of Nassau and Adolf of Nassau invaded Friesland as a part of William the Silent's three-pronged invasion of the Spanish Netherlands. The Spanish stadtholder, Jean de Ligne, raised an army of 3,220 troops to confront the Dutch, and he intended to wait for reinforcements from Charles de Brimeu. However, his forces were lured into an ambush at the monastery of Heiligerlee, and the rebels inflicted devastating losses on the Spanish. Unfortunately, Adolf of Nassau was one of the 50 Dutchmen to be lost in the battle, and the Spanish suffered 2,000 losses. The battle was the first Dutch victory, but the loss of Adolf, the failure of the Dutch to capture any cities in its aftermath, and the consequent defeat at the Battle of Jemmingen quickly negated the victory.