- −10% Stability cost modifier
- −10% Naval maintenance modifier
- +1 Diplomat
- +10% Trade efficiency
- +1 Yearly legitimacy
- −10% Development cost
- +10% Morale of armies
- +25% Looting speed
- −15% Diplomatic annexation cost
- +2 Tolerance of heretics
Gelre is a Dutch minor starting in the Low Countries, a region that at gamestart is dominated mostly by Burgundy; its cores are the provinces of Gelre and Upper Guelders. Establishing a powerbase in the region is fairly straightforward, as the other Dutch minors and neighbouring Germanic states generally fail at finding powerful allies.
If the King of Burgundy Dies! event fires, all provinces owned by Burgundy and its subjects are claimed by either a catholic monarchy that is an ally of Burgundy, the Emperor of the HRE or France. Gelre as the only independent Dutch monarchy is in the unique position to make use of this feature by becoming their ally and thus having a shot at inheriting most of the Netherlands as well as some additional territories for free.
Form Dutch Nation
If the country is AI-controlled then:
AI Burgundy will not take this decision.
- Main article: Dutch missions
The Holy Roman Empire
As Gelre starts the game inside the HRE, they will not have to fight the emperor when fighting inside the empire. Forming the Netherlands will result in all owned provinces and the nation itself being removed from the HRE except if Gelre was appointed as an elector before doing so, which is relatively easy to achieve considering its starting position. Once the Netherlands has left the HRE expanding inside of it will then become considerably harder as the emperor will be called into each war, and the Netherlands won't be under the protection of the emperor anymore. Outside of the HRE expansion will be just as tough, as the Low Countries are surrounded by strong nations competing for land and trade income. The Forming the Netherlands should be taken as soon as possible, as the Netherlands have access to a strong government form and country specific events, but the player has to decide between forming the Netherlands and possible expansion within the HRE unless they choose to try and become an elector.
As Gelre starts as a relatively small nation consisting of just a few provinces, they are eligible to be appointed as an elector by the AI should a slot become vacant. If the player is to ally Austria, which can be relatively easily achieved by royal marrying them at gamestart, they will be among the best candidates to get this offer. Additional to this, Gelre starts bordering the Elelector of Cologne, meaning that they have the option to take out one of the electors relatively quickly. A recommended way to do this is to ally a nation bordering Cologne that is interested in the province of Westfalen. The player can then in the war force release the nation of Paderborn, grant Westfalen to its ally and take Cologne for themselves, by quickly releasing Cologne as a vassal after the war the player ensures they stay small enough to be likely to be appointed as elector assuming they were also improving relations and maintaining an alliance with the current emperor, generally Austria. After achieving electorship the player can expand to their hearts content, try to achieve emperorship and form the Netherlands without being forced to leave the HRE.
Gelre starts with the option to royal marry and then ally the nation of Burgundy. In doing so they grant themselves the option of being the candidate to receive the Burgundian Inheritance as long as they make sure they are Burgundy's strongest monarchial ally. Since Burgundy generally only takes 1 or 2 alliances at most this is relatively easy to achieve. This strategy can effectively get the player most of the Low Countries at no cost.
The early expansion opportunities will most likely be eastwards inside the HRE, as England, Burgundy and France will be too strong to take on early. Look for opportunities to unite the provinces in the Low Countries (e.g. when Burgundy is weak) as they are needed for forming the Netherlands and the added trade income is very useful. Key for maintaining a steady rate of expansion is good management of aggressive expansion, especially inside the HRE where aggressive expansion penalties are higher. A coalition war will almost always result in major setbacks or even game over. Having good relations with neighbors and not taking too much land in a single war will keep the aggressive expansion penalty manageable. Taking administrative ideas as a first group will be a nice addition because of the high coring cost in the Low Countries and HRE, and the cheaper mercenaries are always useful for small countries with low manpower pools.
Because of their trade oriented national ideas, Gelre is an optimal candidate for a colonial strategy. Their position in Europe will mean that they will reach the New World later (around diplomatic technology level 9) than Portugal and Castile, so taking an idea group other than exploration will prove more useful early on. Focusing on taking provinces with special modifiers (e.g. estuaries, centers of trade) first will secure funds for further colonization. Because of the English Channel being an end node, all trade flowing into it can be collected by the Netherlands. Combining this with the Dutch trade bonuses, the English Channel will quickly become the richest trade node and make Gelre very wealthy.
Later in the game the player can try establishing colonies in Asia. The spice islands in Indonesia are a good choice as they have great development and produce valuable goods. Make sure that the trade will actually reach the English Channel, as any countries along the trade path may steal valuable profit.
Forming the Netherlands
As stated before, the Forming the Netherlands should be taken as soon as possible, as forming the Netherlands will come with major benefits but hamper expansion inside the HRE. When the country is strong enough to take a stand against larger neighbors (or having strong enough allies), the decision should be taken. Alternatively, becoming an elector and taking the decision will prevent leaving the HRE.
The Netherlands are in a favorable position to dominate trade. A good strategy is to build as many light ships as possible and protecting trade in nearby nodes such as the English Channel and in Lübeck, and generally any nodes that may feed into the home node. Trade ideas can be taken to amplify the already massive trade profits. Challenging Castile/Spain, Portugal and England, who will be the biggest competitors in both the colonial and trade area, should be the primary focuses. Maintaining a large fleet with heavy ships is key to being able to maintain trade profits.
Keep friends close, and enemies even closer
France makes an excellent ally both early and later in the game, but it is important to watch as the game progresses and as the great powers struggle for supremacy. France is also a competitor in the English Channel trade node and is very likely to go colonial, making them an even greater target. If France finds itself overwhelmed with enemies it may be best to find another power as an ally at this point. Take good notice of France's situation, and be prepared to take advantage when the situation arrives to do so.
Generally speaking, the player should seek alliances with strong nations not competing in the same trade nodes or the same land but willing to go to war with nations that are.