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 Château de Chaumont was founded in the 10th century by Odo I, Count of Blois. The purpose was to protect his lands from attacks from his feudal rivals, Fulk Nerra, Count of Anjou. On his behalf the Norman Gelduin received it, improved it and held it as his own. His great-niece Denise de Fougère, having married Sulpice d'Amboise, passed the château into the Amboise family for five centuries.
Pierre d'Amboise unsuccessfully rebelled against King Louis XI and his property was confiscated, and the castle was dismantled on royal order in 1465. It was later rebuilt by Charles I d'Amboise from 1465–1475 and then finished by his son, Charles II d'Amboise de Chaumont from 1498–1510, with help from his uncle, Cardinal Georges d'Amboise; some Renaissance features were to be seen in buildings that retained their overall medieval appearance. The château was acquired by Catherine de Medici in 1550. There she entertained numerous astrologers, among them Nostradamus. When her husband, Henry II, died in 1559 she forced his mistress, Diane de Poitiers, to exchange Château de Chaumont for Château de Chenonceau which Henry had given to de Poitiers. Diane de Poitiers only lived at Chaumont for a short while.
Later Chaumont has changed hands several times. Paul de Beauvilliers bought the château in 1699, modernized some of its interiors and decorated it with sufficient grandeur to house the duc d'Anjou on his way to become king of Spain in 1700. Monsieur Bertin demolished the north wing to open the house towards the river view in the modern fashion.
In 1750, Jacques-Donatien Le Ray purchased the castle as a country home where he established a glassmaking and pottery factory. He was considered the French "Father of the American Revolution" because he loved America. However, in 1789, the new French Revolutionary Government seized Le Ray's assets, including his beloved Château de Chaumont.
The castle has been classified as a Monument historique since 1840 by the French Ministry of Culture. The Château de Chaumont is currently a museum and every year hosts a Garden Festival from April to October where contemporary garden designers display their work in an English-style garden.