Castles and fortifications in Netherlands

Wittem Castle

Kasteel Wittem, now a national listed monument, was probably built in the 11th century. The oldest records in which the castle is mentioned date from 1125. The next century the castle was owned by the knights of Julémont. They started to call themselves Lords of Wittem. A title that was assumed by later owners. During their ownership in 1286, Reinoud, Count of Gelre, tried in vain to take the castle by surprise. In the e ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Wittem, Netherlands

Onsenoort Castle

The earliest known document of Onsenoort Castle dates from 1286. The first castle was badly damaged and restored before 1372 in the border wars between local landlords. After it was changed hands several times the castle was again destroyed by French army in 1787. Today on the keep remains of a medieval castle. Current buildings were mainly built or restored in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Nieuwkuijk, Netherlands

Nemerlaer Castle

Nemerlaer Castle is a 14th-century castle named after the river Nemer and after Laer which means clearing in the forest. It was first mentioned in 1303, as home of Knight Geerlinck van den Bossche. Currently the castle is still inhabited. In the basement is a café. In addition there are cultural and public activities, such as exhibitions and concerts. The castle is also used for weddings.
Founded: 14th century | Location: Haaren, Netherlands

Fort Beneden Lent

Fort Beneden Lent was built in 1862 to protect the city of Nijmegen and the railway bridge over river Waal.
Founded: 1862 | Location: Nijmegen, Netherlands

Doddendael Castle

Doddendael Castle is a medieval castle surrounded by a moat built in the 1430s. The castle had already been in the possession of various families when the Van Stepraedt family bought it in 1489 for 4,000 gold guilders. In 1526 they sold Doddendael to Duke Charles of Gelre, who used it as a base. In that same year, people of Nijmegen went on the rampage by boat, plundering the castle and setting it on fire. In 1528 the Van ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Ewijk, Netherlands

Well Castle

Well Castle was built in the 14th century and consists of two buildings: the main Castle and the bailey. There are also two courtyards and two moats: an inner and outer moat. These moats once provided protection to the castle and today provide a place to swim for many birds including multiple varieties of ducks, black swans, and geese. Kasteel Well"s gardens are available for the public to walk around and admire the ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Well, Netherlands

Genhoes Castle

Genhoes Castle was first mentioned in 1041. Then it was probably just a fortified tower house. In 1381 it was owned by a Johan van Alden-Valkenborch. Before 1444 it came into the hands of Jan "t Zievel. He left it to his son-in-law Hendrik van Ghoor. He, or his son Willem, probably built the present square tower and the west wing. The walls of the tower are around 1.6 meters thick. He also built a gate tower, which h ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Oud Valkenburg, Netherlands

Ewsum Castle

Ewsum castle (borg) was first time mentioned in 1371. Today the oldest part is a turret tower built in 1472.
Founded: 1472 | Location: Middelstum, Netherlands

Fort Lunet

The four crescent shaped forts of Lunetten have been build between 1822 and 1828 as part of the Dutch Water Line. Forts and fortified towns have been constructed to protect weaknesses in the waterline. Combined with natural bodies of water, it could be used to transform the economic heartland of the Dutch Republic almost into an island.
Founded: 1822-1828 | Location: Utrecht, Netherlands

Kasteel Stein

De Motte van dit kasteel komt naar alle waarschijnlijkheid uit de 10e eeuw, en is opgeworpen om de dreiging komende van de Maas tegen te gaan. De hoofdburcht of 'Bovenste Slot' omvat een Mottekasteel op een natuurlijke verhoging met een forse mergelstenen donjon uit ca. 1200, 'Witte Toren' genaamd. In de 13e eeuw werd een veelhoekige ringmuur om een binnenplein aangelegd. Van een tegen de ringmuur gebouwde grote zaal met ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Stein, Netherlands

Castle d'Erp

Castle d"Erp (also known as Castle de Borcht) dates back to the 13th century, when it withstood sieges by William the Silent and Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange. The brick-made main building was built to the current appearance in the 14th-18th centuries. The castle is currently privately owned and not open the public.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Baarlo, Netherlands

Loenersloot Castle

Loenersloot Castle is located on the left bank of the river Angstel, accesible via a wooden lifting bridge. Although the Van Loenersloot family is mentioned already in 1156, the existence of this castle is first mentioned in 1258. The Loenersloot family, who played a rather important part in the life of the village in the 12th century, built the oldest parts of the castle. In 1516 the castle was bought by Amelis van Amst ...
Founded: 1258 | Location: Loenersloot, Netherlands

Biljoen Castle

Biljoen estate was first mentioned in 1076. In 1530 Charles, Duke of Guelders, built the first castle and it was rebuilt by Alexander van Spaen (1619–1692) into the present day castle with four equal corner towers. The family Van Spaen rebuilt the castle again in the the 18th century. In 1795 French troops were quartered in the castle. After they left the castle was plundered and the interior largely destroyed. The ...
Founded: 1530 | Location: Velp, Netherlands

Fort Hemeltje

Fort het Hemeltje was built between 1877-1881 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.
Founded: 1877-1881 | Location: Houten, Netherlands

Hindersteyn Castle

Hindersteyn Castle was built originally around 1300. The original tower still exists, but the main building dates mainly from the 19th century.
Founded: 1300 | Location: Langbroek, Netherlands

Keppel Castle

Keppel Castle was founded around 1300, but destroyed in the Eighty Years War in 1582. The current castle was built to the grounds of medieval one in 1614-1620 and restored in 1740-1750.
Founded: 1614-1620 | Location: Laag-Keppel, Netherlands

Dever Castle

The Huys Dever is a small castle probably built shortly after 1375 by Reinier Dever or d'Ever, a member of an old noble family from Holland. The castle was a typical stronghold that was at one time situated on the edge of a lake called the Lisser Poel (since poldered in) that itself was in connection to the Haarlemmermeer (itself a polder since in 1853). In 1630 a stately home was built on to the tower and became a summer ...
Founded: c. 1375 | Location: Lisse, Netherlands

Rivieren Castle

Rivieren Castle was first mentioned in 1364 and it was originally a monastery. The current castle dates from the 19th century.
Founded: 19th century | Location: Klimmen, Netherlands

Hardenbroek Castle

Hardenbroek Castle was first time mentioned in 1331. The castle is a square form house built to the site of original keep maybe around 1260 by Gijsbert van Wulven. The present day appearance dates from the restorations made in 1694, 1762 and 1789. Today Hardenbroek is privately owned.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Driebergen-Rijsenburg, Netherlands

Fort Werk aan de Korte Uitweg

Fort Werk aan de Korte Uitweg was built as a part of New Dutch Waterline defence line between 1873-1879. It was able to host 160 soldiers. The fort was restored in 1999.
Founded: 1873-1879 | Location: Tull en ´t Waal, Netherlands

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Hochosterwitz Castle

Hochosterwitz Castle is considered to be one of Austria's most impressive medieval castles. The rock castle is one of the state's landmarks and a major tourist attraction.

The site was first mentioned in an 860 deed issued by King Louis the German of East Francia, donating several of his properties in the former Principality of Carantania to the Archdiocese of Salzburg. In the 11th century Archbishop Gebhard of Salzburg ceded the castle to the Dukes of Carinthia from the noble House of Sponheim in return for their support during the Investiture Controversy. The Sponheim dukes bestowed the fiefdom upon the family of Osterwitz, who held the hereditary office of the cup-bearer in 1209.

In the 15th century, the last Carinthian cup-bearer, Georg of Osterwitz was captured in a Turkish invasion and died in 1476 in prison without leaving descendants. So after four centuries, on 30 May 1478, the possession of the castle reverted to Emperor Frederick III of Habsburg.

Over the next 30 years, the castle was badly damaged by numerous Turkish campaigns. On 5 October 1509, Emperor Maximilian I handed the castle as a pledge to Matthäus Lang von Wellenburg, then Bishop of Gurk. Bishop Lang undertook a substantial renovation project for the damaged castle.

About 1541, German king Ferdinand I of Habsburg bestowed Hochosterwitz upon the Carinthian governor Christof Khevenhüller. In 1571, Baron George Khevenhüller acquired the citadel by purchase. He fortified to deal with the threat of Turkish invasions of the region, building an armory and 14 gates between 1570 and 1586. Such massive fortification is considered unique in citadel construction.

Since the 16th century, no major changes have been made to Hochosterwitz. It has also remained in the possession of the Khevenhüller family as requested by the original builder, George Khevenhüller. A marble plaque dating from 1576 in the castle yard documents this request.

A specific feature is the access way to the castle passing through a total of 14 gates, which are particularly prominent owing to the castle's situation in the landscape. Tourists are allowed to walk the 620-metre long pathway through the gates up to the castle; each gate has a diagram of the defense mechanism used to seal that particular gate. The castle rooms hold a collection of prehistoric artifacts, paintings, weapons, and armor, including one set of armor 2.4 metres tall, once worn by Burghauptmann Schenk.