Pope Adrian VI

 Pope from 1522 to 1523

Adriaan Florenszoon Boeyens was born in Utrecht on March 2, 1459. He studied in Zwolle and later theology in Leuven (1478-1491). From 1489 he was pastor of the Groot Begijnhof in Leuven and in 1491 he became a doctor of theology.

In 1507 Adrian VI became an educator and then counselor to Charles V. In this capacity he was sent to Spain in 1515 and managed to have Ferdinand II assign the entire Spanish inheritance to Charles V. A year later he became bishop of Tortosa.

He was well known at the court of the regent Margaret of Austria in Mechelen, where he regularly stayed from 1507 as tutor to the young Charles V. At the behest of this young monarch, he traveled to Spain in 1515 with the important task of arranging the succession of Charles to the throne. to arrange. It was also in Spain where seven years later, on January 22, 1522, Adrian was informed that he had been elected pope.

It took five months for Adrian VI to arrive in Rome and be made pope. He found an empty treasury and many debts and the frugal Dutchman wanted to put an end to the great decoration that was traditionally kept there, the corruption, favoritism and power conflicts between the large Italian families.

It did not endear him to the wealthy families and not to the common people who regarded Adrian VI as an outsider and a "barbarian from the north". He wanted to tackle the abuses in the church that had prompted Martin Luther to reform, but Luther himself could not count on understanding from the former inquisitor Adrian. Adrianus may have squandered an opportunity here to clear the schism between Catholicism and Protestantism.

The reforms that Adrian VI wanted to implement had largely failed. This was partly due to the short duration of his pontificate. He died on September 14, 1523 in Rome after being sick for a month and a half. There are rumors that he did not die of natural causes, his body showed signs of poisoning. However, these rumors have never been confirmed. He was succeeded by Clement VII.

He was the only Dutchman who ever made it pope.