Medieval castles in 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

Hernen Castle

The origins of Hernen lie to the west of the present castle, next to the river Elst. That is where the first motte castle of Hernen was sited, and remained in use until the 12th/13th century. This was possibly also the fortress of the Lords of Hernen, who first appear in the records in 1247. The lord received income through taxes and special privileges, such as the milling rights. This income enabled him to extend his cas ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Hernen, 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

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

Rhoon Castle

Rhoon Castle as we know today was built in 1430 by Pieter the Seventh of Duiveland. He was a descendant of Biggo van Duiveland, who built the original castle which dated back to 1199. The coats of arms of the many illustrious families who lived in the castle can be seen in the stained-glass windows in the Catharina Theresia Room. Thoroughly restored in 1975, the castle is now regarded as one of the most beautiful restaura ...
Founded: 1430 | Location: Rhoon, 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 ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Wittem, Netherlands

Binnenhof

The Binnenhof is a complex of buildings in the city centre of The Hague, next to the Hofvijver lake. It houses the meeting place of both houses of the States General of the Netherlands, as well as the Ministry of General Affairs and the office of the Prime Minister of the Netherlands. Little is known about the origin of the Binnenhof. Presumably, the grounds next to the Hofvijver lake, and the small homestead on it, were ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Hague, Netherlands

Duurstede Castle

Duurstede Castle dates from the 13th century. Around 1270, Zweder I van Zuylen van Abcoude built a freestanding keep on a raised and moated site near the lost city Dorestad. Until the beginning of the 15th century Duurstede Castle was in possession by the Van Zuylen van Abcoude family, until they were forced to sell it to the bishops of Utrecht in 1449. Bishop David of Burgundy, who reigned from 1459 to 1496, completely ...
Founded: 1270 | Location: Wijk bij Duurstede, Netherlands

Helmond Castle

Construction of the Helmond castle began somewhere around 1325. Helmond was the replacement of an older castle, known as ‘t Oude Huys, which stood hundreds of yards west of the castle. In 1981, excavations revealed the original structure’s dungeon and a few artifacts.In the 12th century, Helmond was in possession of the Hornes and the castle’s original owners were the Berlaer family, who were then succeeded by the C ...
Founded: 1325 | Location: Helmond, Netherlands

Deurne Small Castle

The predecessor of Deurne Castle, so-called 'small castle' is on the other side of the road. The small castle is originally medieval, but in the 19th century it was extended. Near the castle you will find a watermill.
Founded: 14th century | Location: Deurne, Netherlands

Rosendael Castle

Around 1300, Rosendael Castle came into the hands of the counts and later dukes of Gelre. Of the 20 castles in the dukedom, Rosendael was the favourite of many dukes, because of its beautiful location on the edge of the Veluwe moraine. The large medieval complex contained a forecourt, a main fortress and a substantial donjon. Only the round donjon has survived the ravages of time. It has walls of up to 4 metres thick and ...
Founded: c. 1300 | Location: Rozendaal, 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

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

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

Deurne Castle

Deurne Castle was built shortly before 1387 by Gevaert Everaertszoon van Doerne on a sandy elevation in the swampy valley of a small stream the Vlier. It was a square building with several turrets. Due to the thickness of the walls it probably didn"t have a real military purpose. In 1511 the castle was burned down by the Geldersen but was rebuilt. Only to be plundered by Spanish troops in 1599. In 1645 the bailiff O ...
Founded: c. 1387 | Location: Deurne, 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

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

Bergh Castle

Huis Bergh (Huis Bergh) is one of the largest castles in the Netherlands. It gives its name to the Land van den Bergh and was previously owned by the counts van Bergh. The castle history dates back to the 13th century. The main parts of the castle are from the 14th, 15th and 17th century. In the beginning of the Dutch Revolt the house got damaged by war. In 1735 the castle burned down. In 1912 Huis Bergh and all belongi ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: ´s-Heerenberg, Netherlands

Oude Loo Castle

The Oude Loo castle was built in the 15th century. In 1684, the castle and the surrounding land was bought by William III of Orange. On this land, he had Het Loo Palace built. The castle was used by the court, among other things as an apothecary. In the 19th century the castle came in the hands of Louis Napoleon who filled up the moat. Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands had the castle and the moat restored by architect P ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Apeldoorn, 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

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Monastery of São Vicente de Fora

Monastery of São Vicente de Fora (Monastery of St. Vincent Outside the Walls) is a 17th-century church and monastery in the city of Lisbon. It is one of the most important monasteries and mannerist buildings in the country. The monastery also contains the royal pantheon of the Braganza monarchs of Portugal.

The original Monastery of São Vicente de Fora was founded around 1147 by the first Portuguese King, Afonso Henriques, for the Augustinian Order. The Monastery, built in Romanesque style outside the city walls, was one of the most important monastic foundations in mediaeval Portugal. It is dedicated to Saint Vincent of Saragossa, patron saint of Lisbon, whose relics were brought from the Algarve to Lisbon in the 12th century.

The present buildings are the result of a reconstruction ordered by King Philip II of Spain, who had become King of Portugal (as Philip I) after a succession crisis in 1580. The church of the monastery was built between 1582 and 1629, while other monastery buildings were finished only in the 18th century. The author of the design of the church is thought to be the Italian Jesuit Filippo Terzi and/or the Spaniard Juan de Herrera. The plans were followed and modified by Leonardo Turriano, Baltazar Álvares, Pedro Nunes Tinoco and João Nunes Tinoco.

The church of the Monastery has a majestic, austere façade that follows the later Renaissance style known as Mannerism. The façade, attributed to Baltazar Álvares, has several niches with statues of saints and is flanked by two towers (a model that would become widespread in Portugal). The lower part of the façade has three arches that lead to the galilee (entrance hall). The floorplan of the church reveals a Latin cross building with a one-aisled nave with lateral chapels. The church is covered by barrel vaulting and has a huge dome over the crossing. The general design of the church interior follows that of the prototypic church of Il Gesù, in Rome.

The beautiful main altarpiece is a Baroque work of the 18th century by one of the best Portuguese sculptors, Joaquim Machado de Castro. The altarpiece has the shape of a baldachin and is decorated with a large number of statues. The church also boasts several fine altarpieces in the lateral chapels.

The Monastery buildings are reached through a magnificent baroque portal, located beside the church façade. Inside, the entrance is decorated with blue-white 18th century tiles that tell the history of the Monastery, including scenes of the Siege of Lisbon in 1147. The ceiling of the room has an illusionistic painting executed in 1710 by the Italian Vincenzo Baccarelli. The sacristy of the Monastery is exuberantly decorated with polychromed marble and painting. The cloisters are also notable for the 18th century tiles that recount fables of La Fontaine, among other themes.

In 1834, after the religious orders were dissolved in Portugal, the monastery was transformed into a palace for the archbishops of Lisbon. Some decades later, King Ferdinand II transformed the monks' old refectory into a pantheon for the kings of the House of Braganza. Their tombs were transferred from the main chapel to this room.