Although the official date of the Dussen castle’s establishment was during the 13th century, there was likely a fortified house on the property long before the present-day castle. The castle’s dungeon was built in 1330 by John VI of Heusden and in 1387, permission was granted to extend the modest keep into a real castle. In 1418, the castle was passed down to Arent’s son. Just three years later, the castle would be severely damaged by St. Elizabeth’s flood. Parts of the towers and a few of the basements were the only that remained of the original structure.
It would be 50 years before the castle would be restored to its former glory. After exchanging hands a few times, it would be Jan van der Dussen V that would eventually rebuild the castle between 1473 and 1474. After his death, the castle was passed down to his son, Floris II van der Dussen. Floris then passed the castle down to his son, Jan van der Dussen VI, but he would die childless. The castle was then put in the hands of Jan’s sister Cornelia. During the next two hundred years, the castle would be remodeled in Tuscan style and also have a west wing added. Both towers were also improved.
In the early 1900s, a chapel was added. In 1931, the castle was put up for sale with plans for the structure to be demolished. The municipality stepped in, purchased the property and began restoration work. Unfortunately, the castle would become severely damaged in 1944 during World War II. In 1980, renovations were once again performed.
Today, Dussen Castle serves primarily as an event venue, but guided tours are offered by the Friends of Castle Dussen Foundation. Information on touring dates, hours and costs can be found on the Friends of Castle Dussen Foundation website. The castle is still surrounded by its original 14th century moat and includes three residential wings that surround the courtyard. While not available to tour, the vaulted cellar dates all the way back to 1387.
Weddings and business meetings are the most popular events held at the castle. The castle can accommodate up to 300 guests and the castle’s staff can also help with the planning process. Dussen Castle offers a complete package, with catering available for both small and large events.References:
The Old Town in Aarhus, Denmark (Den Gamle By), is an open-air town museum consisting of 75 historical buildings collected from 20 townships in all parts of the country. In 1914 the museum opened as the world's first open-air museum of its kind, concentrating on town culture rather than village culture, and to this day it remains one of just a few top rated Danish museums outside Copenhagen.
The museum buildings are organized into a small town of chiefly half-timbered structures originally erected between 1550 and the late 19th century in various parts of the country and later moved to Aarhus during the 20th century. In all there are some 27 rooms, chambers or kitchens, 34 workshops, 10 groceries or shops, 5 historical gardens, a post office, a customs office, a school and a theatre.
The town itself is the main attraction but most buildings are open for visitors; rooms are either decorated in the original historical style or organized into larger exhibits of which there are 5 regular with varying themes. There are several groceries, diners and workshops spread throughout the town with museum staff working in the roles of town figures i.e. merchant, blacksmith etc. adding to the illusion of a 'living' town.