Duivenvoorde Castle was first mentioned in 1226, making it one of the oldest castles in South Holland. The castle is remarkable in that it has never been sold, which can be said of very few Dutch castles. It has passed by inheritance through several noble houses, sometimes through the matrilineal line. For the first five centuries of its history, the castle was owned by one family, the van Duivenvoordes, who gave their name to it. Although thus named, the van Duvenvoirdes properly formed part of the House of Wassenaer, an ancient noble family which has played an important role in Dutch history. Towards the end of the 17th century an owner of Duivenvoorde Castle, Johan van Duvenvoirde, readopted the name of van Wassenaer. Therefore, although the same family remained in the House, this was under a different name.

The last private owner of the castle was Jonkvrouwe Ludolphine Henriette, Baroness Schimmelpenninck van der Oye (1891-1965). Knowing that with her death the house would be sold and the furniture dispersed, including the collections of portraits, porcelain and clothing and textiles, she decided to close the house and leave it in the care of a foundation for restoration. The stated aim was to restore the castle to its appearance in 1717, although in practice this has not always been possible. The terrace constructed around 1844 has been kept, and the opening of previously sealed windows to allow more light into the living room has taken away some symmetry. The interior has been redecorated to match the colours of 1717, and later piecemeal work on the ceilings has been left in place. Today Duivenvoorde is a musem.

In 1717, two Roman stones were installed as plaques in the front hall. The larger of the two stones, dated between 196 and 198 AD, has an inscription on the front about the repair of an armory by Roman troops; the text on the other side is older, dating from somewhere between 103 and 111 AD. In the making of the newer text, the stone was made smaller, damaging the older text. The smaller stone has a text which, through knowledge of the people named there in, can date the stone to around 205 AD.

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Founded: 1226
Category: Castles and fortifications in Netherlands

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4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Ricardo Munsel (5 months ago)
A beautiful venue. You can take a walk through the park. The venue is used for weddings and parties. Just beautiful!
Darija Aurora (5 months ago)
Beautiful place about 15 mins from Leiden for walk and enjoy in sight !
Michael Diederich (5 months ago)
An absolutely beautiful location with an extremely helpful and friendly staff. We performed an opera outside in a tent with the castle as the gorgeous backdrop. Seems perfect for weddings, large and small. When we hit any problems the staff always went above and beyond to solve the problem. The one small downside: The power grid needs an update. We had some power issues with just a small production but I imagine lights and a DJ might be a problem without an upgrade or a generator. But other than that, absolutely lovely. You can't give half stars but this place is definitely worth 4 1/2!
Guy Ruina (5 months ago)
Very nice small castle. The art collection is beautiful and the audio tour is very well done by family members of former families who used to live in the castle. The surrounding garden is also a walk.
Mehmet Esat IŞIK (7 months ago)
It is a completely different world from the Middle Ages with its unbelievably wonderful view and calmness… but it is good to know that, as of 8pm, the neighborhood where the castle is located is completely closed. We're stuck inside, and none of the residents are helping.
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