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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User Reviews

Ricardo Munsel (3 years ago)
We would have loved it even more if we would have been able to view other old parts of the castle. The museum gives a nice impression of some of the rooms. The exhibition of Dutch painter Carel Willink and some of the creations of Dutch fashion designer Fong Leng give a nice chance to also get to know some of the castle.
Shirly Kiil (3 years ago)
Lovely, suite.
Ron Bartels (3 years ago)
Lovely museum! Nice building, great art of Carel Willink and very nice staff.
Dawn Larson (4 years ago)
Nice castle, architecture is really nicely maintained. Wish there was more of the castle furniture still inside.
Rudina Bajaj (4 years ago)
Beautiful castle surrounded by water and a beautiful garden that inspires artists to paint it. A nice journey inside and outside of Ruurlo.
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