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 castles, the date when the castle was first built is unknown, yet Johan van Hemert is named as owner of this ‘stronghold at Hemert’ in 1310. The oldest parts of the castle date from the end of the 13th century: a two-storey keep and a cellar with notable Bohemian-style vaulting. Some 30 years later, the keep was expanded with the addition of two corner towers - one rectangular, one round - with a walled courtyard in between. A great hall and gateway were added around 1350, and a hexagonal tower was added in the 15th century. These additions transformed Nederhemert into an imposing castle.
The castle remained as it was for several centuries until it was renovated into a comfortable country house at the end of the 19th century. The castle was plastered and given crenellations, a veranda and a balcony in neo-Gothic style. Over its 650-year history, Nederhemert was home to many noble families. It even boasted a bed said to have belonged to Maarten van Rossum, the Duke of Guelders’ most notorious field marshal. At the end of WWII, the castle and its contents were completely destroyed by fire.
The last owners sold what was left of the castle and its surrounding parkland to the Dutch state, which transferred the estate, in turn, to the Geldersch Landschap and Geldersche Kasteelen national heritage foundations. There was a lack of funding for the restoration for some time and the castle fell into ruin. Restoration work finally took place between 2001 and 2005, returning Nederhemert, as much as possible, to its medieval glory. The castle now houses offices and is only open to the public in a limited capacity.References:
The Château du Haut-Koenigsbourg is situated in a strategic area on a rocky spur overlooking the Upper Rhine Plain, it was used by successive powers from the Middle Ages until the Thirty Years' War when it was abandoned. From 1900 to 1908 it was rebuilt at the behest of the German kaiser Wilhelm II. Today it is a major tourist site, attracting more than 500,000 visitors a year.
The first records of a castle built by the Hohenstaufens date back to 1147. The fortress changed its name to Koenigsburg (royal castle) around 1157. The castle was handed over to the Tiersteins by the Habsburgs following its destruction in 1462. They rebuilt and enlarged it, installing a defensive system designed to withstand artillery fire.
The fortification work accomplished over the 15th century did not suffice to keep the Swedish artillery at bay during the Thirty Years War, and the defences were overrun.