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Following the death of Queen Sophie in 1877 King Willem III intended to marry his mistress a French actress called Éleonore d’Ambre. Most people were against this and the king abandoned the idea. In 1878 the king went to Germany to look for a new wife. He found her in the small German kingdom of Waldeck-Pyrmont.

It was princess Emma, born in 1858 and 20 years old. At first the king wanted her 2 year older sister Pauline to become his bride but she refused. Emma made it known that she was willing to become the Queen of the Netherlands. The engagement was announced on the 30th of September 1878 and the couple married on the 7th of January 1879 in Arolsen Germany thus Emma became Queen of the Netherlands. To commemorate this event some souvenirs were made for example a porcelain pipe with portraits of the couple.

Most Dutch people were not so happy with the king’s choice of bride. The couple settled in Palace het Loo and on the 26th of march 1880 it was officially announced the Queen was pregnant.

On the 31st of august 1880 princess Wilhelmina was born. In 1884 after the death of her half brother crown prince Alexander Wilhelmina became the heir to the throne. In November 1890 king Willem III died and Wilhelmina became queen but because she was too young to reign her mother Emma became regentess until Wilhelmina reached the age of 18.

Emma recognized that the Royal family was not so popular anymore. She took the young Wilhelmina on a tour of the Netherlands to introduce her to the people. She also arranged that photos of the young queen were distributed so the people came to know her.

Emma played a big part in the increasing popularity of the young queen.

In 1898 many inauguration souvenirs were produced, many included an image of Emma on them.

In 1901 after Wilhelmina got married Emma moved to Palace het Lange Voorhout in the Hague, the summer months she spent on palace Soestdijk.

She led a quiet life and spent a lot of her time on her many charities. She became known as the loveliest old lady of Europe.

In 1928 for her 70th birthday some commemoratives were made (see also article nr 36) also 5 years later for her 75th birthday souvenirs were made, for example a Leerdam glass vase.

Soon after her health deteriorated and she became bedridden early march 1934, on the 20th of march the grand old lady died.

Several in memoriam souvenirs were made, here some examples from our collection.

Het kasteel in Arolsen Duitsland waar Emma geboren is.

The castle In Arolsen  Germany where Emma was born.

Foto van Emma gegoten in glas. De foto zelf stamt uit 1878 en is gemaakt op de dag van haar verloving.

Photo in glass of a young Emma. This photo was taken on the day of her engagement to king Willem III in 1878.

Two very rare terra cotta busts of King Willem III & Queen Emma made to commemorate their wedding in 1879

Twee zeer zeldzame terra cotta beeldjes van Willem III en Emma gemaakt t.g.v hun huwelijk in 1879

Two very rare terra cotta busts of King Willem III & Queen Emma made to commemorate their wedding in 1879


Porseleinen pijp gemaakt in Duitsland t.g.v het huwelijk in 1879 met koning Willem III.

Porcelain pipe made in Germany to commemorate her wedding in 1879.
Porselein pijp met koning Willem III en koningin Emma t.g.v hun huwelijk in 1879.
Porcelain pipe made in Germany to commemorate her wedding in 1879.
De koninklijke familie, Willem III, Emma en kleine Wilhelmina uitgevoerd in was ca 1882.
The royal family king Willem III, Emma and baby Wilhelmina in wax made ca 1882.
Onderdeel van een driedelig smaragd groene glazen kaststel gemaakt in 1890 na het overlijden van Koning Willem III. Koningin Emma werd Regentes. Hier afgebeeld in rouwkleding.

One vase of a three piece emerald green glass garniture made in 1890 following the death of King Willem III. The young 10 year old princess became Queen Wilhelmina and her mother Queen Emma, Regentess.
2 biscuit porseleinen beeldjes van Wilhelmina en Emma 1898.

Porcelain busts of queen Wilhelmina & her mother queen Emma 1898.


pennin 1

Bronzen penning t.g.v haar 70e verjaardag 1928.

Bronze medal made to commemorate her 70th birthday 1928.
Glazen vaas Leerdam t.g.v haar 75e verjaardag 1933.
Glass vase made in Leerdam for her 75th birthday 1933



Gouda plateel bord in memoriam 1934. Met haar lijfspeuk uit de bijbel : palma sub poneer crescit - tegen de verdrukking in groeien
In memoriam plate 1934 with her favorite bible text: palma sub pondere crescit =power under the weight increase
In memoriam Delft blauwe tegel 1858-1934
Large Delft blue tile made in memoriam 1858-1934.