Medieval castles in Netherlands

Slangenburg Castle

Slangenburg Castle was constructed in the Late Medieval period. In the 17th century the castle became the property of General Frederik Johan van Baer, also known as General Slangenburg, who rebuilt it for residential purposes. The last private owners were a German family called Passmann, who are buried in a private cemetery next to the moat. After the World War II all German properties were confiscated by the Dutch gover ...
Founded: 1354 | Location: Doetinchem, Netherlands

Dussen Castle

Although the official date of the Dussen castle’s establishment was during the 13th century, there was likely a fortified house on the property long before the present-day castle. The castle’s dungeon was built in 1330 by John VI of Heusden and in 1387, permission was granted to extend the modest keep into a real castle. In 1418, the castle was passed down to Arent’s son. Just three years later, the castle would be ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Dussen, Netherlands

St. Salvius Church

The oldest mural paintings in the Netherlands are hidden in a beautiful church on the outskirts of Sittard-Geleen. It might be somewhat confusing that there are two churches with the same name in the same village, but you can probably skip the new church in the centre that was built in 1922. The church replaced the ancient one at the castle, which you definitely shouldn"t miss if you"re in the region. The histo ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Limbricht, Netherlands

Ter Worm Castle

Ter Worm or Terworm Castle has existed since the 14th century and has been inhabited by several noble families. Originally it was a square building, fronted by a round tower and a rectangular tower and built around a walled courtyard. The first known owner was the Lord of Strijthagen in 1476, when the castle was a moated building fortified by external walls outside the moat. In 1498 the castle came into possession of the ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Heerlen, Netherlands

Teylingen Castle Ruins

Slot Teylingen was presumably the family keep of the noble family Van Teylingen, from which the Van Brederode family directly descended. The castle was originally built to protect the north-south route in Hollandic territory. Later it became a forester"s castle for the forestry of the counts of Holland, starting with William IV, count of Holland. One of the best known inhabitants of the castle was Jacoba of Bavaria, ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Sassenheim, Netherlands

Haamstede Castle

Haamstede Castle (Slot Haamstede) was built originally in the 12th century and it probably consisted of a wooden keep on a motte, circled by a moat. There is also archeological evidence of Roman habitation on this site. Around 1200 this castle came into the possession of Floris IV, Count of Holland. In 1229 the castle went to the Lords of Zierikzee through an exchange with Floris IV. The new inhabitants of the castle call ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Burgh-Haamstede, 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

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

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

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

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

Beesde Castle

The Beesde Castle was first mentioned in 1395. Today it consists of two parts: a 14th century tower and 17th century manor called Cammingha house.
Founded: 1395 | Location: Bunnik, Netherlands

Wijenburg Castle

Wijenburg was an important castle in the Duchy of Guelders and the Lords of Echteld who lived in the castle enjoyed great prestige until there was a disagreement between the Duke of Guelders and Lord Otto van Wijhe in 1492. At the beginning of the 20th century, the castle was saved from demolition by Baron Van Verschuer and restored by Stichting Geldersche Kasteelen national heritage foundation. The history of Wijenburg ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Echteld, Netherlands

Stapelen Castle

The castle in Stapelen was first time mentioned in 1293 when it was donated to Willem I van Boxtel. Hendrik Mahie restored the castle in the 19th century to the current Neo-Gothic appearance. The oldest parts of the castle, like the octagonal tower, date from the Middle Ages and the walls from the 16th century. The chapel has a altar from the 17th century. Today Stapelen castle is a monastery.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Boxtel, Netherlands

Kinkelenburg Castle

The earliest mention of Kinkelenburg castle dates from 1403, when Johan van Ambe was lent "a house and a homestead with waterways and moat at Bemmel". The castle probably consisted then of a square stone tower-house (built around 1300), the foundations of which lie beneath the present building. Soon afterwards, the status of village castle was changed to the present "Huis te Bemmel". Kinkelenburg was c ...
Founded: c. 1300 | Location: Bemmel, 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

Nederhemert Castle

Nederhemert Castle has been built, rebuilt and expanded numerous times throughout its turbulent history. It started life as a keep in the 13th century and was expanded into a polygonal castle with four towers over several centuries. In 1945, the castle was destroyed by fire and fell into ruin. It was restored to its former glory in 2005. Nederhemert castle is situated on an ancient bend in the river Maas. As with many ca ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Nederhemert, Netherlands

Waardenburg Castle

Waardenburg Castle dates from the 13th century. Only half of the original building remains: the south wing was destroyed in the Eighty Years’ War and was never rebuilt. Legend has it that the infamous Doctor Faust lived in the castle. At the end of his pact with the devil he was said to have been thrown from the castle tower. The precise construction date of medieval castles is seldom known yet in this case, Waardenbur ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Waardenburg, Netherlands

Brakel Castle

The earliest mention of Brakel Castle dates from the mid-13th century. At that time, it was a square, moated castle, situated close to the village of Brakel behind the newly-built Waaldijk dike. In 1321, the castle was struck by lightning and destroyed by fire. This led the knight Sir Eustachius van Brakel to lend his castle to the Count of Guelders in exchange for the count’s protection. Unfortunately, this was not ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Brakel, 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

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Porta Nigra

The Porta Nigra (Latin for black gate) is the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps. It is designated as part of the Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name Porta Nigra originated in the Middle Ages due to the darkened colour of its stone; the original Roman name has not been preserved. Locals commonly refer to the Porta Nigra simply as Porta.

The Porta Nigra was built in grey sandstone between 186 and 200 AD. The original gate consisted of two four-storied towers, projecting as near semicircles on the outer side. A narrow courtyard separated the two gate openings on either side. For unknown reasons, however, the construction of the gate remained unfinished. For example, the stones at the northern (outer) side of the gate were never abraded, and the protruding stones would have made it impossible to install movable gates. Nonetheless, the gate was used for several centuries until the end of the Roman era in Trier.

In Roman times, the Porta Nigra was part of a system of four city gates, one of which stood at each side of the roughly rectangular Roman city. The Porta Nigra guarded the northern entry to the Roman city, while the Porta Alba (White Gate) was built in the east, the Porta Media (Middle Gate) in the south, and the Porta Inclyta (Famous Gate) in the west, next to the Roman bridge across the Moselle. The gates stood at the ends of the two main streets of the Roman Trier, one of which led north-south and the other east-west. Of these gates, only the Porta Nigra still exists today.

In the early Middle Ages the Roman city gates were no longer used for their original function and their stones were taken and reused for other buildings. Also iron and lead braces were broken out of the walls of the Porta Nigra for reuse. Traces of this destruction are still clearly visible on the north side of the gate.

After 1028, the Greek monk Simeon lived as a hermit in the ruins of the Porta Nigra. After his death (1035) and sanctification, the Simeonstift monastery was built next to the Porta Nigra to honor him. Saving it from further destruction, the Porta Nigra was transformed into a church: The inner court of the gate was roofed and intermediate ceilings were inserted. The two middle storeys of the former gate were converted into church naves: the upper storey being for the monks and the lower storey for the general public. The ground floor with the large gates was sealed, and a large outside staircase was constructed alongside the south side (the town side) of the gate, up to the lower storey of the church. A small staircase led further up to the upper storey. The church rooms were accessible through former windows of the western tower of the Porta Nigra that were enlarged to become entrance doors (still visible today). The top floor of the western tower was used as church tower, the eastern tower was leveled, and an apse added at its east side. An additional gate - the much smaller Simeon Gate - was built adjacent to the East side of the Porta Nigra and served as a city gate in medieval times.

In 1802 Napoleon Bonaparte dissolved the church in the Porta Nigra and the monastery beside it, along with the vast majority of Trier"s numerous churches and monasteries. On his visit to Trier in 1804, Napoleon ordered that the Porta Nigra be converted back to its Roman form. Only the apse was kept; but the eastern tower was not rebuilt to its original height. Local legend has it that Napoleon originally wanted to completely tear down the church, but locals convinced him that the church had actually been a Gaulish festival hall before being turned into a church. Another version of the story is that they told him about its Roman origins, persuading him to convert the gate back to its original form.

In 1986 the Porta Nigra was designated a World Heritage Site, along with other Roman monuments in Trier and its surroundings. The modern appearance of the Porta Nigra goes back almost unchanged to the reconstruction ordered by Napoleon. At the south side of the Porta Nigra, remains of Roman columns line the last 100 m of the street leading to the gate. Positioned where they had stood in Roman times, they give a slight impression of the aspect of the original Roman street that was lined with colonnades. The Porta Nigra, including the upper floors, is open to visitors.