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Speculative Freemasonry was first introduced in the Netherlands by the opening at the Hague, in 1731, of an Occasional Lodge under a Deputation granted by Lord Lovel, Grand Master of England, of which Doctor Desaguliers was Master, for the purpose of conferring the First and Second Degrees on the Dul;e of Lorraine, afterward the Emperor Francis I. He received the Third Degree subsequently in England. But it was not until September 30, 1734, that a regular Lodge was opened by Brother Vincent de la Chapelle, as Grand Master of the United Provinces, who may therefore be regarded as the originator of Freemasonry in the Netherlands. In 1735, this Lodge received a Patent or Deputation from the Grand Lodge of England, John Cornelius Rademaker being appointed Provincial Grand Master, and several Daughter Lodges were established by it. In the same year the States General prohibited all Masonic meetings by an Edict issued November 30, 1735.

The Roman clergy actively persecuted the Freemasons, which seems to have produced a reaction, for in 1737, the magistrates repealed the Edict of Suppression, and forbade the clergy from any interference with the Order, after which Freemasonry flourished in the United Provinces. The Masonic innovations and controversies that had affected the rest of the Continent never successfully obtruded on the Dutch Freemasons, who practiced with great fidelity the simple Rite of the Grand Lodge of England, although an attempt had been made in 1757 to introduce them. In 1798, the Grand Lodge adopted a Book of Statutes, by which it accepted the three Symbolic Degrees, and referred the four advanced Degrees of the French Rite to a Grand Chapter. In 1816, Prince Frederick attempted a reform in the Degrees, which was, however, only partially successful. The Grand Lodge of the Netherlands, whose Orient is at the Hague, tolerates the advanced Degrees without actually recognizing them. Most of the Lodges confine themselves to the Symbolic Degrees of Saint John's Freemasonry, while a few practice the reformed system of Prince Frederick.

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