Around 1300, Rosendael Castle came into the hands of the counts and later dukes of Gelre. Of the 20 castles in the dukedom, Rosendael was the favourite of many dukes, because of its beautiful location on the edge of the Veluwe moraine.
The large medieval complex contained a forecourt, a main fortress and a substantial donjon. Only the round donjon has survived the ravages of time. It has walls of up to 4 metres thick and was the last refuge in the event of siege for the duke and his family. Although it is the highest tower of its kind in the Netherlands, it was originally twice as high.
The ducal family resided regularly at the castle until the 16th century. But then the tide turned. In 1502, Philip the Handsome captured the city of Arnhem. Duke Charles of Gelre was humiliated in his own castle of Rosendael by Philip. Charles was forced to make peace and was exiled from Gelre. The incident became known as 'the prostration of Rosendael'.
When Philip died in 1506, Charles managed to regain the dukedom of Gelre at great financial expense. As a result, in 1516 he was forced to mortgage his beloved castle and even to sell it 20 years later. He died a few years afterwards and the dukedom soon lost its independence. Rosendael Castle came into the hands of various noble families, who occupied it for almost 400 years.
In 1722 a square house was built abutting the big tower. The side wing and coach house were built a century later. Beautiful gardens were laid out around these, and the famous French landscape gardener Daniel Marot designed the shell gallery, the trick fountains and the tea pavilion, all of which have been preserved. They give the austere medieval castle the character of a peaceful country house.
During the war, Rosendael was hit hard a number of times. It ceased to be a private residence in 1977 when Baron van Pallandt died. The castle was fully restored in the nineteen-eighties and opened to the public.References:
The Château de Chaumont was founded in the 10th century by Odo I, Count of Blois. The purpose was to protect his lands from attacks from his feudal rivals, Fulk Nerra, Count of Anjou. On his behalf the Norman Gelduin received it, improved it and held it as his own. His great-niece Denise de Fougère, having married Sulpice d'Amboise, passed the château into the Amboise family for five centuries.
Pierre d'Amboise unsuccessfully rebelled against King Louis XI and his property was confiscated, and the castle was dismantled on royal order in 1465. It was later rebuilt by Charles I d'Amboise from 1465–1475 and then finished by his son, Charles II d'Amboise de Chaumont from 1498–1510, with help from his uncle, Cardinal Georges d'Amboise; some Renaissance features were to be seen in buildings that retained their overall medieval appearance. The château was acquired by Catherine de Medici in 1550. There she entertained numerous astrologers, among them Nostradamus. When her husband, Henry II, died in 1559 she forced his mistress, Diane de Poitiers, to exchange Château de Chaumont for Château de Chenonceau which Henry had given to de Poitiers. Diane de Poitiers only lived at Chaumont for a short while.
Later Chaumont has changed hands several times. Paul de Beauvilliers bought the château in 1699, modernized some of its interiors and decorated it with sufficient grandeur to house the duc d'Anjou on his way to become king of Spain in 1700. Monsieur Bertin demolished the north wing to open the house towards the river view in the modern fashion.
In 1750, Jacques-Donatien Le Ray purchased the castle as a country home where he established a glassmaking and pottery factory. He was considered the French "Father of the American Revolution" because he loved America. However, in 1789, the new French Revolutionary Government seized Le Ray's assets, including his beloved Château de Chaumont.
The castle has been classified as a Monument historique since 1840 by the French Ministry of Culture. The Château de Chaumont is currently a museum and every year hosts a Garden Festival from April to October where contemporary garden designers display their work in an English-style garden.