Castles and fortifications in Netherlands

Waag

The Waag ('weigh house') was originally a city gate and part of the walls of Amsterdam. It is the oldest remaining non-religious building in Amsterdam. The gate, called as Sint Antoniespoort (Saint Anthony"s Gate), was part of the medieval city walls along the moat formed by the current Singel canal and the canals of the Kloveniersburgwal and the Geldersekade. These walls were constructed during the period ...
Founded: 1481–1494 | Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Munttoren

The Munttoren ('Coin Tower') was originally part of the Regulierspoort, one of the main gates in Amsterdam"s medieval city wall. The gate, built in the years 1480, consisted of two towers and a guard house. The name of the tower refers to the fact that it was used to mint coins in the 17th century. After the gate went up in flames in a 1618 fire, only the guard house and part of the western tower remained ...
Founded: 1620 | Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Schreierstoren

The Schreierstoren, originally part of the medieval city wall of Amsterdam, was built in the 15th century. It was the location from which Henry Hudson set sail on his journey to Northern America. This expedition would lead to the discovery of the island of Manhattan among others. It was built as a defense tower in 1481. It is currently a café.
Founded: 1481 | Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Arcen Castle

Arcen Castle was built in 1653 to the site of older castle destroyed in 1646. The origins date back to the 14th century. Castle gardens are today open to the public.
Founded: 1653 | Location: Arcen, Netherlands

Castle de Haar

Castle de Haar is the largest and most fairytale-like castle in the Netherlands. The current buildings, all built upon the original castle, date from 1892 and are the work of Dutch architect P.J.H. Cuypers, in a Neo-Gothic restoration project funded by the Rothschild family. The oldest historical record of a building at the location of the current castle dates to 1391. In that year, the family De Haar received the castle ...
Founded: 1391/1892 | Location: Vleuten-De Meern, Netherlands

Burcht van Leiden

The Burcht van Leiden is an old shell keep in Leiden constructed in the 11th century. It is located at the spot where two tributaries of the Rhine come together, the Leidse Rijn, and another river, now a canal. The structure is on top of a motte, and is today a public park. From humble beginnings, the hill was raised during various periods of history up to 9 meters above the surrounding landscape in the 11th century. Ada ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Leiden, Netherlands

Landsfort Herle

Landsfort Herle was a fortification with moat. It was probably built by the counts van Ahr-Hochstaden (also referd to as Here van Are). The name Landsfort (‘fort of the land’) comes from the fact that the fortification come under the responsibility of the land. In the 13th century Heerlen, and thus also Landsfort Herle, come in to the possession of the Dukes of Brabant, the Landsfort was (re)built by the Dukes ...
Founded: 1244 | Location: Heerlen, Netherlands

Montelbaanstoren

The Montelbaanstoren is a tower on bank of the canal Oudeschans. The original tower was built in 1516 for the purpose of defending the city. The top half, designed by Hendrick de Keyser, was extended to its current, decorative form in 1606.
Founded: 1516 | Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Muiderslot

The Muiderslot is one of the better known castles in the Netherlands and has been featured in many television shows set in the Middle Ages. The history of castle begins with Count Floris V who built a stone castle at the mouth of the river back in 1280, when he gained command over an area that used to be part of the See of Utrecht. The River Vecht was the trade route to Utrecht, one of the most important trade towns of th ...
Founded: 1370 | Location: Muiden, Netherlands

Bourtange Fortress

Near the German border, in Westerwolde (Southeast Groningen), is the fortress Bourtange. In 1580 William of Orange gave the order to build a fort on the sand ridge in the Bourtanger moor, on the border of modern Germany. On the order of William Louis of Nassau the fortress was raised in 1593. Between 1593 and 1851 Bourtange was an important fortress. An agrarian village came into being when the fortress was dismantled ...
Founded: c. 1593 | Location: Bourtange, Netherlands

Fort Hoofddijk

Fort Hoofddijk was built in 1879 as one of the fortifications around Utrecht that formed part of the Nieuwe Hollandse Waterlinie, or "New Dutch waterline". This defense line made use of inundating parts of Holland to stop the advance of the enemy, but because Utrecht was on relatively high ground, it needed an additional ring of fortifications. Today the Botanical Gardens of Utrecht University are located at th ...
Founded: 1879 | Location: Utrecht, Netherlands

Koppelpoort

The Koppelpoort is a medieval gate in Amersfoort. The gate was built between 1380 and 1425 as part of the second city wall. The whole wall was completed around 1450. The gate was attacked in 1427 during the siege of the city, but this attack was repelled. The gate was opened and closed every day by the appointed 'wheel-turners'. A minimum of twelve wheel-turners were collected morning and evening by several gua ...
Founded: 1380-1425 | Location: Amersfoort, Netherlands

Breda Castle

In the 12th century, a fortress was located at Breda. The city of Breda came into existence near the fortress. In 1350, the Duke of Brabant sold Breda to Jan II of Polanen (Baron of Breda). He reinforced the castle with four towers and a channel. His daughter Johanna of Polanen married in 1403 the German Duke Engelbert I of Nassau. Their son Jan IV of Nassau enlarged the castle. Henry III of Nassau-Breda changed the cast ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Breda, Netherlands

Fort Vechten

Fort Vechten was constructed between 1867 and 1870 as part of the so-called Nieuwe Hollandse Waterlinie (The "New Dutch Water Line") to defend the cities of the western Netherlands from overland attack. The history of Vechten dates however back to the Roman times. The Romans, who apparently chose the spot because it controlled a side-arm of the Lower Rhine, built their castellum by the year 4 AD, and possibly n ...
Founded: 1867-1870 | Location: Utrecht, Netherlands

Woerden Castle

There was originally a Roman castellum (Castellum Laurum) in Woerden, as part of the limes of the Roman Empire and thus part of the defense lines of the northern border of the Roman Empire. The first castellum was built in the 40s AD, and was destroyed in 69 AD during the Batavian rebellion. In 70 AD the castellum was rebuilt, and the Romans remained until 402 AD, with an interruption lasting from about 275-300 AD. The Ca ...
Founded: c. 1160 | Location: Woerden, Netherlands

Hoensbroek Castle

Castle Hoensbroek or Gebrookhoes is one of the largest castles in the Netherlands. This imposing watercastle is known as "the most lordly stronghold between Rhine and Meuse". The oldest part of the castle, notably the tall round tower, dates from around 1360, when it was built by Herman Hoen, though a predecessor to the castle had already existed in the swamp (or Gebrook) the castle was located in. This so-calle ...
Founded: 1360 | Location: Hoensbroek, Netherlands

Naarden Fortress

They took Naarden easily. Its defence works were old and poorly maintained. In the 17th century Naarden was a small fortified town overlooking a stretch of dry ground between the sea and the marshes of the river Vecht (the fortifications dated from the 1570s). After Louis XIV of France invaded the Netherlands in 1672 the fortifications were updated to modern standards. Most of the fortifications that exist today date from ...
Founded: 17th century | Location: Naarden, Netherlands

Sassenpoort

The Sassenpoort is a gatehouse in the citywall of Zwolle, Netherlands. It was build in 1409 after Zwolle city became a member of the Hanseatic League in 1407. The city gates represent the wealth of this period. In the period between 1893 and 1898 restoration work took place. The dormers were made, and a neogothic spire clock tower was installed, replacing an earlier 18th century spire. In between the corner towers is a ma ...
Founded: 1409 | Location: Zwolle, Netherlands

Loevestein Castle

Loevestein Castle (Slot Loevestein in Dutch) is a medieval castle built by the knight Dirc Loef van Horne (hence 'Loef's stein') between 1357 and 1397. It was built in a strategic location where the Maas and Waal rivers come together. At first it was a simple square brick building, used to charge toll from trading vessels using the rivers. In the 16th century (around 1575, orders given by William the Silent) it was expand ...
Founded: 1357-1397 | Location: Poederoijen, Netherlands

Nyenrode Castle

Around 1260 knight Gerard Splinter van Ruwiel laid the first foundations for the Nyenrode castle. The location of the castle was well-chosen: a strategic spot on the narrowest part of the bank of the river Vecht. The river Vecht was part of the trade route from the town of Utrecht to the Zuiderzee (Dutch South Sea) and was situated in an area which was heavily disputed by the Bishops of Utrecht and the Counts of Holland. ...
Founded: 1260 | Location: Straatweg, Netherlands

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Czocha Castle

Czocha Castle is located on the Lake Leśnia, what is now the Polish part of Upper Lusatia. Czocha castle was built on gneiss rock, and its oldest part is the keep, to which housing structures were later added.

Czocha Castle began as a stronghold, on the Czech-Lusatian border. Its construction was ordered by Wenceslaus I of Bohemia, in the middle of the 13th century (1241–1247). In 1253 castle was handed over to Konrad von Wallhausen, Bishop of Meissen. In 1319 the complex became part of the dukedom of Henry I of Jawor, and after his death, it was taken over by another Silesian prince, Bolko II the Small, and his wife Agnieszka. Origin of the stone castle dates back to 1329.

In the mid-14th century, Czocha Castle was annexed by Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Bohemia. Then, between 1389 and 1453, it belonged to the noble families of von Dohn and von Kluks. Reinforced, the complex was besieged by the Hussites in the early 15th century, who captured it in 1427, and remained in the castle for unknown time (see Hussite Wars). In 1453, the castle was purchased by the family of von Nostitz, who owned it for 250 years, making several changes through remodelling projects in 1525 and 1611. Czocha's walls were strengthened and reinforced, which thwarted a Swedish siege of the complex during the Thirty Years War. In 1703, the castle was purchased by Jan Hartwig von Uechtritz, influential courtier of Augustus II the Strong. On August 17, 1793, the whole complex burned in a fire.

In 1909, Czocha was bought by a cigar manufacturer from Dresden, Ernst Gutschow, who ordered major remodelling, carried out by Berlin architect Bodo Ebhardt, based on a 1703 painting of the castle. Gutschow, who was close to the Russian Imperial Court and hosted several White emigres in Czocha, lived in the castle until March 1945. Upon leaving, he packed up the most valuable possessions and moved them out.

After World War II, the castle was ransacked several times, both by soldiers of the Red Army, and Polish thieves, who came to the so-called Recovered Territories from central and eastern part of the country. Pieces of furniture and other goods were stolen, and in the late 1940s and early 1950s, the castle was home to refugees from Greece. In 1952, Czocha was taken over by the Polish Army. Used as a military vacation resort, it was erased from official maps. The castle has been open to the public since September 1996 as a hotel and conference centre. The complex was featured in several movies and television series. Recently, the castle has been used as the setting of the College of Wizardry, a live action role-playing game (LARP) that takes place in their own universe and can be compared to Harry Potter.