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 expanded to a larger fortress surrounded by earthen fortifications with two (later three) stone bastions on the northern side, two moats, an arsenal, and housing for a commander and soldiers.

Loevestein changed hands twice between the Northern Dutch and the Spanish (December 9, 1570 it was taken by the Geuzen, ten days later Spanish again, and from June 25, 1572 Dutch till this day), the warring parties of the day. The castle became a prison for political prisoners in 1619. One famous inmate was the eminent lawyer, poet and politician Hugo de Groot (Hugo Grotius) often presented as the 'father of modern international law', who was serving a controversially imposed life sentence from 1619. In 1621 Hugo de Groot managed to pull off a daring escape in a book chest. The idea for this escape came from his wife Maria van Reigersberg (also living in the castle). He subsequently became the Swedish Ambassador to France for 10 years. Another high profile inmate was the English Vice-Admiral George Ayscue.

Until the Second World War Loevestein Castle was part of the Nieuwe Hollandse Waterlinie, the main Dutch defense line that was based on flooding an area of land south and east of the western provinces. Currently the castle is used as a medieval museum and function centre.

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Founded: 1357-1397
Category: Castles and fortifications in Netherlands

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4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Andrew Birkett (2 years ago)
Slot Loevestein was really well presented and interactive. The key to the gate for everyone is a great touch and the staff were very friendly. Only negative is that they only accept Dutch bank cards and cash, so make sure you have enough cash for entry, lunch (very reasonable prices) and souvenirs.
Lesya T (2 years ago)
Beautiful outside view of the castle, come in weekdays, less crowds. With museum cards you can get in for free and get to keep the key to all the doors
Aurora Signorazzi (2 years ago)
Very interesting spot. Loved the castle and the interiors with their history. It could be improved with guided tours in English and not only in Dutch
Rob Yuen (2 years ago)
Very fun and beautiful castle. Filled with history! This is a great place to bring kids as they are given a key in their language that they can use to activate interactive displays with stories and movies. There are also a lot of dress up and building games, stilts, wooden horses, etc. Families can spend a whole day here exploring.
Bianca Varas Roman-van Ewijk (2 years ago)
So much fun here, our son loved getting a key to get into the castle and activate some things there. Walking through the small circling stairs made the knights come alive.. Hearing interesting facts and going there by ferry we did was a big plus..
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