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Baron Gerrit Carel van Spaen de Voorstonden

Gerrit Karel van Spaen de Voorstonden was a Dutch diplomat who represented his country at the Congress of Vienna. Having started his career in the Dutch East Indies Company, Spaen de Voorstonden soon entered the realm of Dutch politics as mayor of Hattem and in 1791 as member of the Court of Audit. In the same year, he started his international diplomatic carreer by becoming envoy for the Dutch to Lissabon. Subsequently, he held positions at the court of Austria’s Kaiser and to the Bayerische Hofe in München. Because of these efforts, Spaen de Voorstonden was chosen as representative of the Dutch Kingdom at the Congress of Vienna, during which he participated in the Committee for the Navigation of the Rhine. He established a strong relationship with the German Johann Eichhoff, who attended the Congress of Vienna as German official because of his expert knowledge on the Rhine. Because Van Spaen lacked expert knowledge and diplomatic back-up, he had to look for outside help. Therefore, he turned to Eichhoff. After the Congress, he remained in Vienna as representative of the Dutch until his death in 1841.

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