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gemeente (municipality), southwestern Netherlands, at the confluence of the Mark (Merk) and Aa rivers. It was a direct fief of the duchy of Brabant; its earliest known lord was Godfrey I (1125-70), in whose family it continued until it was sold to Brabant in 1327. Chartered in 1252, it passed to the house of Nassau in 1404 and, ultimately, to William I of Orange (1533-84). Fortified (1531-36) by Count Henry III of Nassau, who restored the old castle built by John I of Polanen in 1350, it remained an important fortress on the Mark until the 19th century.