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 eight towns in south-eastern Sicily, including Ragusa, were all rebuilt after 1693 on or beside towns existing at the time of the earthquake which took place in that year. They represent a considerable collective undertaking, successfully carried out at a high level of architectural and artistic achievement. Keeping within the late Baroque style of the day, they also depict distinctive innovations in town planning and urban building. Together with seven other cities in the Val di Noto, it is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In 1693 Ragusa was devastated by a huge earthquake, which killed some 5,000 inhabitants. Following this catastrophe the city was largely rebuilt, and many Baroque buildings from this time remain in the city. Most of the population moved to a new settlement in the former district of Patro, calling this new municipality 'Ragusa Superiore' (Upper Ragusa) and the ancient city 'Ragusa Inferiore' (Lower Ragusa). The two cities remained separated until 1926, when they were fused together to become a provincial capital in 1927.