Medieval castles in 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

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

Heemstede Castle Ruins

Heemstede castle was first built in 1280 by Dirk van Hoylede from the region of Vlaardingen. Built, burned and rebuilt over the centuries, it was last torn down in 1810, after years of neglect. The monumental gatekeeper"s house "Nederhuys", built in 1630 remains intact as well as the foundations from the Middle Ages. The most famous owner of the castle was Adriaan Pauw, who bought it in 1620. He played a ro ...
Founded: 1280 | Location: Heemstede, 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

Sabbinge Castle

Sabbinge Castle was built around 1250. It was destroyed and rebuilt in 1321. Today it is privately owned.
Founded: 14th century | Location: Oud-Sabbinge, Netherlands

Limbricht Castle

Limbricht Castle originates from the 10th century. It was first a motte castle with a wooden tower. The stone buildings were erected around 1250. During the 80 years war the army of Duke of Parma looted the castle (1579). During the Napoleon wars it was a military hospital (1813-1814) and during the World War I an internment camp for German prisoners-of-war. The current castle building dates from the early 1600s and is bu ...
Founded: 1250 | Location: Limbricht, Netherlands

Batenburg Castle Ruins

Batenburg Castle construction was probably started around the year 1300. The castle was rebuilt in 1600 on the foundations of an earlier structure; The present castle was destroyed by fire in 1795 and is now preserved as ruins: the ring wall with towers, the remains of three extended round towers with a basement underneath and the remains of the gatehouse. These are flanked by semicircular towers, all built with limestone ...
Founded: c. 1300 | Location: Batenburg, Netherlands

Mheer Castle

A stone house on the site of current Mheer Castle was first mentioned in 1314. It was probably built long before that, because the Lords of Mheer were already mentioned around 1100. In the 14th century the castle went to the Van Imstenraedt family through marriage. The castle stayed in this family until 1668, then it went to the De Loë family. They still own the castle. The castle is situated against the slope of a ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Mheer, 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

Heusden Castle Ruins

The settlement of Heusden, bordering on the river Meuse (Maas), as we know it today dates back to the 13th century, and started with the construction of a fortification to replace the castle that was destroyed by the Duke of Brabant in 1202. This fortification was quickly expanded with water works and a donjon (castle keep). The city of Heusden received city rights in 1318. The castle of Heusden was the property of succes ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Heusden, Netherlands

Nederhorst Castle

Philips van Wassenaar (died in 1225) is considered to have been the founder of Nederhorst Castle. In the 17th century the baron Godard van Reede had the Reevaart dug so that his visitors could disembark in front of the castle when arriving by boat. The castle was thoroughly rennovated in the 18th century, and reminders of this period can still be seen on the south side. After 1945 the castle fell into a serious state of ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Nederhorst den Berg, 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

Moersbergen Castle

Moersbergen Castle was built in the 14th century, but it was first mentionedi n 1435. Since the 16th century it has been rebuilt several times. In 1927 it was restored to the 18th century style. Today Moersbergen is a private residence.
Founded: 14th century | Location: Doorn, Netherlands

Sterkenburg Castle

Sterkenburg Castle was probably built in the mid-1200s as a moated round tower house by a Gijsbert van Wulven. The castle remained in the hands of the Van Wulven family until 1456 when it came into the possession of a Wouter van Ijzendoorn through marriage. It remained in their possession for the following hundred years. During their ownership the castle was rebuilt; a square tower was added and a curtain wall was built a ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Driebergen-Rijsenburg, Netherlands

Ammersoyen Castle

Ammersoyen castle was originally built in 1350 by Dirk van Herlaer along the river Maas. Ammersoyen was a unique castle as it was built using a fixed plan, which was unlike other castles built during this era. The design included four wings that were constructed around a center court. Each corner had its own heavy tower for extra protection. The castle included a gatehouse and was originally surrounded by a moat. At the t ...
Founded: 1350s | Location: Ammerzoden, Netherlands

Twickel Castle

Twickel Castle was between 1347-1953 in the possession of members of the same family: Van Twickelo, Van Raesfelt, Van Wassenaer Obdam and Van Heeckeren van Wassenaer.
Founded: 14th century | Location: Delden, Netherlands

Heukelum Castle

Heukelum Castle, also known for a long time as Merckenburg, is situated just outside the old fortified town of Heukelum on the border of Gelderland and South Holland. The illustrious Van Arkel family had the castle built in around 1286. It was once a sturdy castle with towers, a courtyard, a double moat and a fortified bailey. Nowadays, it has the appearance of an 18th-century country house. The reason why Jan van Arkel h ...
Founded: 1286 | Location: Heukelum, Netherlands

Radboud Castle

Kasteel Radboud is one of a number of castles in North Holland, the building was commissioned by Floris V. The exact date of building is not known but the castle was completed before the St. Lucia"s Flood of 13 December 1287. On 24 June 1517 the castle saved some of the Medemblik townsfolk from the raids of Grutte Pier and his Arumer Zwarte Hoop (band of marauding pirates). On 12 August 1588 the castle surrendered t ...
Founded: 1287 | Location: Medemblik, Netherlands

Menkemaborg

The Menkemaborg was originally brick-built castle house built in the 14th century. It was dramatically altered around 1700 but has since been barely changed. The Alberda family, the 18th-century occupants, commissioned artists to decorate the interior with impressive chimney-pieces carved with baroque ornaments, and paintings of mythological scenes. A four-poster bed, draped with yellow silk damask from China, has also be ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Uithuizen, Netherlands

Tongelaar Castle

The first mention of the Tongelaar Castle on this site dates from 1282 when it was dedicated to Count Floris V by Jan van Cuyk. The Van Cuyk family was probably owner of the castle until somewhere in the 15th century when it was owned by the Van Merwick family. In later centuries ownership of the castle passed through several noble Dutch and Belgian families until the 20th century. The only medieval part of Tongelaar Cas ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Mill, Netherlands

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Königstein Fortress

Königstein Fortress is located on the left bank of the River Elbe. It is one of the largest hilltop fortifications in Europe. The 9.5 hectare rock plateau rises 240 metres above the Elbe and has over 50 buildings, some over 400 years old, that bear witness to the military and civilian life in the fortress. The rampart run of the fortress is 1,800 metres long with walls up to 42 metres high and steep sandstone faces. In the centre of the site is a 152.5 metre deep well, which is the deepest in Saxony and second deepest well in Europe.

The fortress, which for centuries was used as a state prison, is still intact and is now one of Saxony's foremost tourist attractions, with 700,000 visitors per year.

By far the oldest written record of a castle on the Königstein is found in a deed by King Wenceslas I of Bohemia dating to the year 1233. It is probable that there had been a stone castle on the Königstein as early as the 12th century. The oldest surviving structure today is the castle chapel built at the turn of the 13th century. In the years 1563 to 1569 the 152.5 metre deep well was bored into the rock within the castle - until that point the garrison of the Königstein had to obtain water from cisterns and by collecting rainwater.

Between 1589 and 1591/97 Prince-Elector Christian I of Saxony and his successor had the castle developed into the strongest fortification in Saxony. The hill was now surrounded with high walls. Buildings were erected, including the Gatehouse (Torhaus), the Streichwehr, the Old Barracks (Alte Kaserne), the Christiansburg (Friedrichsburg) and the Old Armoury (Altes Zeughaus). The second construction period followed from 1619 to 1681, during which the John George Bastion was built. The third construction period is seen as the time from 1694 to 1756, which included the expansion of the Old Barracks. From 1722 to 1725, at the behest of August the Strong, coopers under Böttger built the enormous Königstein Wine Barrel, the greatest wine barrel in the world, in the cellar of the Magdalenenburg which had a capacity of 249,838 litres. It cost 8,230 thalers, 18 groschen and 9 pfennigs. The butt, which was once completely filled with country wine from the Meißen vineyards, had to be removed again in 1818 due to its poor condition. Because of Böttger, Königstein Fortress is also the site where European porcelain started.

Even after the expansion during those periods of time there continued to be modifications and additions on the extensive plateau. The Treasury (Schatzhaus) was built from 1854 to 1855. After the fortress had been incorporated in 1871 into the fortification system of the new German Empire, battery ramparts were constructed from 1870 to 1895 with eight firing points, that were to have provided all-round defence for the fortress in case of an attack that, in the event, never came. This was at this time that the last major building work was done on the fortress.

Because Königstein Fortress was regarded as unconquerable, the Saxon monarchs retreated to it from Wittenberg and later Dresden during times of crisis and also deposited the state treasure and many works of art from the famous Zwinger here; it was also used as a country retreat due to its lovely surroundings.

The fortress played an important role in the History of Saxony, albeit less as a result of military action. The Saxon Dukes and Prince-Electors used the fortress primarily as a secure refuge during times of war, as a hunting lodge and maison de plaisance, but also as a dreaded state prison. Its actual military significance was rather marginal.

Since 1955 the fortress has been an open-air, military history museum of high touristic value.