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 rebuilt the castle. The old donjon was enclosed by new buildings. The still intact burgundian tower was also built around this time. His successorsFrederick IV of Baden and Philip of Burgundy also used the castle as their residence, and Philip of Burgundy embellished the castle with renaissance features. Philip of Burgundy settled at Duurstede Castle when he became bishop of Utrecht in 1517. He was accompanied by his court painter Mabuse (Jan Gossaert), who helped to decorate the new palace of his master. At Philip's death, in 1524, Mabuse designed and erected his tomb in the church of Wijk bij Duurstede. After Philip's death, Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor confiscated all territorial possessions of the bishopric of Utrecht, including Duurstede Castle.

In 1580, as a result of the Dutch Revolt, the castle fell into the hands of the States of Utrecht. The states, however, invested their money into building modern fortification around Wijk bij Duurstede, and as a result the castle fell into neglect. Further damage was done when French troops devastated Wijk by Duurstede in 1672, after which the townspeople used stone from the castle to rebuild their homes.

In 1852 the town council became owner of the castle and turned the surrounding fortifications into a park. Until 1925 the castle could only be reached by a little ferry.

The old donjon built by Zweder van Abcoude in the 13th century has withstood the passage of time reasonably well, and is an excellent example of medieval towers. The walls are 2.5 metres thick; the original entrance was at the second level and could only be reached with a wooden ladder that could be removed or destroyed in times of need.

One of the corner towers of the old castle was expanded in the 15th century into its current form. While the rest of the castle had a more residential purpose, this so-called Burgundian tower obviously had a military purpose. It is more than 40 metres high, and has very thick walls.

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User Reviews

Wietse Bakker (4 years ago)
Authentic and beautiful castle, sadly hampered due to the fact that it's only accessible when using the venture that has the sole usage granted by the city. Default the castle square is open on fridays, saturdays and sundays. However it is a popular marriage and event venture.Thus you will often find the castle closed, bridge raised. The park is beautiful and has two rings around the castle, a large one with sand paths, and a small one with partial asphalt and hardened paths.
jensh1994 (4 years ago)
Great castel in the neighborhood of Utrecht-city. Great for a Sunday's walk and coffee
Roel Esselink (4 years ago)
Was here for a wedding. the location in the garden in the back was very beautiful and picturesque. There were toilets right behind the alcove which was very handy for the older guests.
snek (4 years ago)
Went here for a wedding. It's a beautiful location and had good facilities. There was a nice tower room for the party which wasn't too big making it great for not too huge parties (30 people or so).
Mark Owen (4 years ago)
A wonderful castle set in the middle of a small lake in the beautiful old Wijk bij Duurstede. Really love this place. While, generally, it's not open to the public, {but can be hired for events), you can walk in the surrounding park with beautiful views of the castle and, sometimes, the gates of the castle are open allowing you to explore the inner courtyard of the castle. We actually hired this castle for our wedding. It was such a wonderful experience. Also highly recommend exploring the wonderful village, and walking along streets made hundreds of years ago.
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