Orange, House of, the royal family of the Netherlands. It is known also as the House of Orange-Nassau, after the family name of the princes of Orange. The Dutch line of the House of Nassau acquired the principality of Orange in France by inheritance in 1530. From the founding of the Dutch republic in 1581, the Orange-Nassau line supplied the country with its stadholders (governors, although in the beginning the country was not officially governed by an individual). Orange was annexed by France in 1660, but the title of prince was retained in the Netherlands, passing from one branch of the Nassau family to another.
The House of Orange provided England with a monarch when Stadholder William III and his wife, Mary, were called jointly to the English throne in 1689 as William III and Mary II. During the Napoleonic era Stadholder William V died in exile. Called home, his son in 1815 became William I of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. All succeeding Dutch monarchs have been his heirs.