Medieval castles 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

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

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

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

Valkenburg Castle Ruins

In the year 1115, fortifications were erected at the site by Gosewijn I, Lord of Valkenburg. This original wooden keep survived until 1122 when it was destroyed under siege by Henry V, Holy Roman Emperor. The castle was rebuilt in the following centuries but was again destroyed in a siege, this time by Jan III, Duke of Brabant. The current ruins are those of the castle rebuilt in the 14th century. The castle was blown up ...
Founded: 1115 | Location: Valkenburg, 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

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

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

Coevorden Castle

Coevorden Castle was built on an artificial hill - a so-called motte - near a ford (a “voorde”) in the river the Kleine Vecht. This koevoorde (lit. “cow ford”) gave the city its name. In 1046, German emperor Henry III gave the county of Drenthe to the bishop of Utrecht, who appointed a viscount, a hereditary title. In 1395, Bishop Frederik van Blankenheim brought this to an end, and decreed that ca ...
Founded: 1025/1522 | Location: Coevorden, Netherlands

Maurick Castle

The history of Maurick Castle dates to the 13th century. In 1629 the castle was occupied by Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange. Frederick Henry wanted to have the castle as his headquarters for his siege of 's-Hertogenbosch. The castle has been adapted to house a restaurant.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Vught, Netherlands

Doorwerth Castle

The original Doorwerth castle, probably wooden, is first mentioned in 1260 when it was besieged and burned to the ground, after which it was rebuilt in stone. In 1280 this second castle was again besieged and this time the bailey was burned down. This castle probably consisted of a simple hall-keep, two stories high with 1.20 meter thick walls, and featured a surrounding moat which was fed by the nearby river Rhine. Duri ...
Founded: 1402-1560 | Location: Doorwerth, 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

Duivenvoorde Castle

Duivenvoorde Castle was first mentioned in 1226, making it one of the oldest castles in South Holland. The castle is remarkable in that it has never been sold, which can be said of very few Dutch castles. It has passed by inheritance through several noble houses, sometimes through the matrilineal line. For the first five centuries of its history, the castle was owned by one family, the van Duivenvoordes, who gave their na ...
Founded: 1226 | Location: Voorschoten, Netherlands

Heeswijk Castle

Heeswijk Castle was originally built in the 11th century. The original motte was erected in 1080. During the subsequent centuries this motte was reduced and in its place a castle was built. Heeswijk Castle has played a crucial role in the history of the Netherlands. Around the year 1600 Prince Maurits twice failed to take the castle. Eventually, his half-brother Frederick Henry did, however, succeeded in capturing the ca ...
Founded: 1080 | Location: Heeswijk-Dinther, Netherlands

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Royal Palace of Naples

Royal Palace of Naples was one of the four residences near Naples used by the Bourbon Kings during their rule of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies (1734-1860): the others were the palaces of Caserta, Capodimonte overlooking Naples, and the third Portici, on the slopes of Vesuvius.

Construction on the present building was begun in the 17th century by the architect Domenico Fontana. Intended to house the King Philip III of Spain on a visit never fulfilled to this part of his kingdom, instead it initially housed the Viceroy Fernando Ruiz de Castro, count of Lemos. By 1616, the facade had been completed, and by 1620, the interior was frescoed by Battistello Caracciolo, Giovanni Balducci, and Belisario Corenzio. The decoration of the Royal Chapel of Assumption was not completed until 1644 by Antonio Picchiatti.

In 1734, with the arrival of Charles III of Spain to Naples, the palace became the royal residence of the Bourbons. On the occasion of his marriage to Maria Amalia of Saxony in 1738, Francesco De Mura and Domenico Antonio Vaccaro helped remodel the interior. Further modernization took place under Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies. In 1768, on the occasion of his marriage to Maria Carolina of Austria, under the direction of Ferdinando Fuga, the great hall was rebuilt and the court theater added. During the second half of the 18th century, a 'new wing' was added, which in 1927 became the Vittorio Emanuele III National Library. By the 18th century, the royal residence was moved to Reggia of Caserta, as that inland town was more defensible from naval assault, as well as more distant from the often-rebellious populace of Naples.

During the Napoleonic occupation the palace was enriched by Joachim Murat and his wife, Caroline Bonaparte, with Neoclassic decorations and furnishings. However, a fire in 1837 damaged many rooms, and required restoration from 1838 to 1858 under the direction of Gaetano Genovese. Further additions of a Party Wing and a Belvedere were made in this period. At the corner of the palace with San Carlo Theatre, a new facade was created that obscured the viceroyal palace of Pedro de Toledo.

In 1922, it was decided to transfer here the contents of the National Library. The transfer of library collections was made by 1925.

The library suffered from bombing during World War II and the subsequent military occupation of the building caused serious damage. Today, the palace and adjacent grounds house the famous Teatro San Carlo, the smaller Teatrino di Corte (recently restored), the Biblioteca Nazionale Vittorio Emanuele III, a museum, and offices, including those of the regional tourist board.