The history of Ruurlo Castle is inextricable from the history of the noble Van Heeckeren family, who managed the castle and the estate from the beginning of the 15th century through to 1977. Since 2012, and thanks to the dedication of local patronHans Melchers, this impressive castle has been given a new lease of life as a museum.

Ruurlo Castle is of a venerable age, appearing in archives from as early as the 14th century when it was a fief of Count Reinoud I of Guelders. In the 15th century, it passed into the hands of Jacob van Heeckeren, the founder of the noble and distinguished knightly family of Van Heeckeren. One of them, William van Heeckeren van Kell (1814-1914), was director of the King’s Cabinet and Minister of Foreign Affairs. The castle stayed in the family for more than five centuries.

During the Second World War, the Germans requisitioned the castle for use as the headquarters of the German General Staff. After the liberation, it was occupied for another few months by Canadian military personnel. In 1977, the castle passed into the hands of the municipality of Ruurlo, which used it as itstown hall. When the local authorities merged in 2005, the municipality moved out of the building. In 2012, the castle was sold to Hans Melchers for €1 million and found a new useas a museum for paintings by Carel Willink, a master of magical realism. The paintings are from the art collection of the bankrupt owner of DSB Bank, Dirk Scheringa.

A large part of the present castle dates from the 16th and 17th centuries. It is surrounded by a magnificent estate with a number of exceptional features. The Orangery from 1879 was badly damaged during the war and subsequently demolished, but it was rebuilt in 2002 and is now a popular wedding location. The estate is also home to a famous maze, which was declared the world’s largest by the Guinness Book of Records in 1996. The maze was created by Lady Sophie van Heeckeren in 1890.

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Founded: 14th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in Netherlands

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4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Hanne Kooy (2 years ago)
A beautiful museum and meticulously restored castle. Excellent restaurant. Must visit.
marta kristinova (2 years ago)
Been there for the wedding. This romantic wedding venue is breathtaking
Sjoerd Gombert (2 years ago)
Beautiful park and museum with the artwork of Carel Willink. It takes approximately 1.5hrs to visit the museum.
KAty Van wijk (2 years ago)
This was absolutely beautiful It’s really worth it , Beautiful paintings !! Amazing floors , it has just been rennovated ! You have to come here ! Stunning !!
Daniël Danse (2 years ago)
A nice castle, beautiful collection of Willinks work. But you're done in about an hour or so. You can have a small cup of coffee for a large price at the orangerie. The garden is lovely and well tended, but also seen in half an hour or less when it isn't too busy. The place is nice and beautiful to visit, but I expected a bit more. Maybe I should have taken the tour..
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