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Willem the Silent is widely considered to be the father of the Netherlands, but I have found that he was born in Nassau, Germany, which was then part of the Holy Roman empire. His ancestors were born in the Netherlands, but would it still be considered sensible to consider him Dutch AND German?

Why am I asking this? Let's look at an example of an opposite case. Nobel prize winner Wilhelm Röntgen was born in Germany, but his parents were Dutch. He still is considered a German. He even lived in Netherlands for almost his entire youth. Yet still he's considered German. This is just an example, don't try to base your answer off of this reply.

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Welcome to the site. A good first question, clearly spelled out, and with a counterexample (Rontgen) to your main question. – Tom Au Apr 22 '13 at 19:19
Napoleon was "French". Except he was Sicilian. Stalin was (to most Westerners) Russian (despite being from Georgia). Ayn Rand was "American" writer (despite having been born in Russia). Ditto Sikorsky. How culture percieves the nationality of a famous person is not really governed by formal rules, more by circumstances and sometimes chance. – DVK Apr 22 '13 at 19:34
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William the Silent inherited his lands from his cousin, Rene of Nassau. Rene's mother came from the Dutch house of Orange. The Nassau side of the family is German. It is through the House of Orange that William the Silent is "Dutch. That is, he"adopted" the House of Orange and is "adopted" Dutch. FWIW, he's also "German. But that is not how he is "known."

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Thanks, interesting answer! – Willem Apr 26 '13 at 21:53

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