In the 12th century it attained the rank of an imperial free town, but on being mortgaged in 1290 to Cleves it lost its privileges.
In 1375 the town was mortgaged to Bern, to which it was sold outright in 1384.
They cannot be sold or mortgaged entire; the law forbids the alienation for debt of a peasant's cottage, his garden or courtyard, his plough, his last six yutara 1 of land and the cattle necessary for working his farm.
Mortgaged this part of his colonial possessions, and it was the starting-point for many exploring and colonizing expeditions into the interior.
John of Brabant now mortgaged the two counties of Holland and Zeeland to Philip, who assumed their protectorate.