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Hoogeveen
Hoogeveen
An aerial view of the centre of Hoogeveen.

Foundation

1546

Location

Duchy of Koenigscasteel

Population

272,975

Hoogeveen is a Free City (Dutch: Vrije Stadt) of the Kingdom of New Tarajan, being the easternmost Free City of the Kingdom. It is located inside the territory of the Duchy of Koenigscasteel (although outside of its jurisdiction).

History

The site of Hoogeveen has been inhabited since prehistoric times. However, the first clear evidences of human settlement come only from the I century JE onwards, when a fortress was built in the area in order to watch the eastern border of the newly-born Ajanic Empire. With the fall of the Empire, the fortress (of which we don't know even the name) became seat of a semi-independent bey, still formally answering to the Shahdom of Astana.

In 1543, the place was conquered by Jan Van Der Grudeln, nephew of Gustav Van Der Grudeln, who was trying to acquire a new fiefdom for himself in the east. On the ruins of the Ajanic citadel, the new lord built a castle, from where he moved to complete the conquest of what was to become the Duchy of Koenigscasteel. The lord populated the town with many of his Arveyran soldiers.

Three years later, the young Duke granted to the small borough the title of Free City, with all the annexed privileges and a charter. The city became soon a relevant center of commerce, trading the products coming from the east with those coming from the fertile lands of the newly-founded Kingdom of Tarajan. The most important authority in the city was, in this period, its archbishop, who exercised his ecclesiastical jurisdiction over almost the whole Duchy, and who indirectly ruled the city through a strict control of its institutions.

The situation changed in 1677, however: a plot to kill the new archbishop, Luther de Graffe, was supported by Duke Heinrich III Van Der Grudeln himself, who was trying to limit the ambitions of the prelate; the plot failed its objective, and the bishop went to hide into his palace-fortress. But the die was cast, nonetheless: unable to mount a proper defence, the archbishop didn't do anything to stop the troops of the Duke entering the city, allegedly called at rescue by the city institutions against the spreading anarchy in the city. With de Graffe stucked in his palace under a sort of siege by the ducal troops, Heinrich III had the city in his power: he apparently restored the full independence of the ancient institutions, but in realty granting for himself a part of the gains from the rich trade focused on the city. The archbishop was forced to capitulate one month later, and to accept the fait-accompli (february 1677), losing almost all his prerogatives.

De Graffe Palace

The Palace of the archbishops of Hoogeveen, also known as De Graffe Palace. It still shows a strong Arveyran influence in its architecture. It actually hosts the Bailiff.

But the overlordship of the Dukes of Koenigscasteel upon Hoogeveen was to be short-lived: thirty years later Duke Heinrich V swore allegiance as vassal to King Heinrich VI Van Vinkel of Tarajan. Although the dukes retain all their powers, Hoogeveen was to be restored to the old independence thanks to a decree of Heinrich VI, aimed at boosting trade and overall prosperity on the new borders of his Kingdom. The project failed (the development of the new oceanic routes decreased the importance of Hoogeveen), although trade still retained an important role in the prosperity of the city. From that moment on, the political organization of the Free City reached its final status.

Like Lelystad, Hoogeveen was not touched, at least initially, by the events of the Liberal Revolution, but soon found itself involved in the following Altigantan Wars, which saw the city being occupied many times by different contenders.

In 1914, when the Tarajani Revolution exploded in all its violence, the control of the city was immediately taken up by local communists, who executed almost every member of the previous government and many notable nobles residing in the city; the city was then formally annexed by the new People's Republic, together with whole Duchy of Koenigscasteel. Under the new regime, Hoogeveen saw a stronger, although forced, development of its industrial sector. Heavily fortified by the communists, it was assaulted many timed by the royalist forces since the beginning of the civil war in 1940. In 1943, its center was almost razed to the ground by air force squadrons still loyals to the communist regime, sharing the same tragic fate of Astana.

In 1944, with the restoration of the monarchy, Hoogeveen was restored as a Free City as well. It thus became a period of slow reconstruction, which has seen the city increasing its role as an industrial center, particularly in the auto manufacturing sector, and as a prominent tourist destination.

Political and administrative organization

The actual political organization of the city was defined definitely with the charter bestowed upon the city by King Heinrich VI in 1708.

The official ruler of the city is the Bailiff, elected every three years, who represented Hoogeveen inside the Landsraad; the main legislative body is the Assembly, composed by 80 members, elected every six years through a proportional method. Together, the Assembly and the Bailiff appoint an executive Council of 10 members (also called Council of the Ten), whose meetings are chaired by the Bailiff himself (who also enjoys some powers of intervention, although limited, in its debates).

Administratively, the city is divided in twenty-five Districts, each government by its own Council, elected every five years.

The justice inside Hoogeveen is administered by the City Court of Justice (first level), and by a Court of Appeal (second level). Three members of the latter, on a rotational basis, also have the role of constitutional court.

Police and military

As almost all other Free Cities, Hoogeveen also keeps its own police corps and its own military. The Hoogveen Metropolitan Police has full jurisdiction upon all the territory pertaining to the city (which includes also some land around it), although it often collaborates with the Ducal Gendermerie of Koenigscasteel (the two corps have instituted also a special liaison task force).

The military of Hoogeveen is composed by the city militia, in the number of 1.000 men and women; and by the Honor Guard, tasked with the protection of Hoogeveen institutions. The Honor Guard is also responsible for the safety of the King during his visits in the city and participates to the parades in Astana. However, only the militia is officially enlisted into the federal army, contributing with half of its complement, organized into the 1st Hoogeveen Fusiliers Regiment.

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