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.References:
Situated in the basement of Metropol Parasol, Antiquarium is a modern, well-presented archaeological museum with sections of ruins visible through glass partitions, and underfoot along walkways.
These Roman and Moorish remains, dating from the first century BC to the 12th century AD, were discovered when the area was being excavated to build a car park in 2003. It was decided to incorporate them into the new Metropol Parasol development, with huge mushroom-shaped shades covering a market, restaurants and concert space.
There are 11 areas of remains: seven houses with mosaic floors, columns and wells; fish salting vats; and various streets. The best is Casa de la Columna (5th century AD), a large house with pillared patio featuring marble pedestals, surrounded by a wonderful mosaic floor – look out for the laurel wreath (used by emperors to symbolise military victory and glory) and diadem (similar meaning, used by athletes), both popular designs in the latter part of the Roman Empire. You can make out where the triclinium (dining room) was, and its smaller, second patio, the Patio de Oceano.
The symbol of the Antiquarium, the kissing birds, can be seen at the centre of a large mosaic which has been reconstructed on the wall of the museum. The other major mosaic is of Medusa, the god with hair of snakes, laid out on the floor. Look out for the elaborate drinking vessel at the corners of the mosaic floor of Casa de Baco (Bacchus’ house, god of wine).