In the 12th century, a fortress was located at Breda. The city of Breda came into existence near the fortress. In 1350, the Duke of Brabant sold Breda to Jan II of Polanen (Baron of Breda). He reinforced the castle with four towers and a channel. His daughter Johanna of Polanen married in 1403 the German Duke Engelbert I of Nassau. Their son Jan IV of Nassau enlarged the castle.
Henry III of Nassau-Breda changed the castle into a Renaissance palace in 1536. He died in 1538 and his son René of Châlon finished the castle and built a chapel in 1540. René of Châlon died without any children and the castle became property of his German cousin, William I of Orange, during his battle with the Spanish, it had a military function again (Dutch revolt).
In 1667 the Treaty of Breda was signed by England, France and the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands. This ended the second English-Dutch war. Stadtholder - King William III of England rebuilt the castle between 1686 and 1695. But he and his successors did not stay much at the castle.
In the France time (18th century), the castle was a military barracks and military hospital. Between 1746 and 1748 it was the site of the Breda Peace Talks between Britain and France during the War of the Austrian Succession. The talks formed the foundation for the eventual peace settlement at Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle.
William I of the Netherlands placed at disposal of the Royal Military Academy in 1826. In this time, Thomas Vincidor built three wings and later William II built the fourth wing. The entrance gate is from the 16th century. Today Breda castle is used by Koninklijke Militaire Academie, the service academy for the Dutch Army and the Dutch Air Force.References:
Hochosterwitz Castle is considered to be one of Austria's most impressive medieval castles. The rock castle is one of the state's landmarks and a major tourist attraction.
The site was first mentioned in an 860 deed issued by King Louis the German of East Francia, donating several of his properties in the former Principality of Carantania to the Archdiocese of Salzburg. In the 11th century Archbishop Gebhard of Salzburg ceded the castle to the Dukes of Carinthia from the noble House of Sponheim in return for their support during the Investiture Controversy. The Sponheim dukes bestowed the fiefdom upon the family of Osterwitz, who held the hereditary office of the cup-bearer in 1209.
In the 15th century, the last Carinthian cup-bearer, Georg of Osterwitz was captured in a Turkish invasion and died in 1476 in prison without leaving descendants. So after four centuries, on 30 May 1478, the possession of the castle reverted to Emperor Frederick III of Habsburg.
Over the next 30 years, the castle was badly damaged by numerous Turkish campaigns. On 5 October 1509, Emperor Maximilian I handed the castle as a pledge to Matthäus Lang von Wellenburg, then Bishop of Gurk. Bishop Lang undertook a substantial renovation project for the damaged castle.
About 1541, German king Ferdinand I of Habsburg bestowed Hochosterwitz upon the Carinthian governor Christof Khevenhüller. In 1571, Baron George Khevenhüller acquired the citadel by purchase. He fortified to deal with the threat of Turkish invasions of the region, building an armory and 14 gates between 1570 and 1586. Such massive fortification is considered unique in citadel construction.
Since the 16th century, no major changes have been made to Hochosterwitz. It has also remained in the possession of the Khevenhüller family as requested by the original builder, George Khevenhüller. A marble plaque dating from 1576 in the castle yard documents this request.
A specific feature is the access way to the castle passing through a total of 14 gates, which are particularly prominent owing to the castle's situation in the landscape. Tourists are allowed to walk the 620-metre long pathway through the gates up to the castle; each gate has a diagram of the defense mechanism used to seal that particular gate. The castle rooms hold a collection of prehistoric artifacts, paintings, weapons, and armor, including one set of armor 2.4 metres tall, once worn by Burghauptmann Schenk.