Bleijenbeek Castle was built of bricks around 1300. According to the 19th-century historian A.J. van der Aa, the castle is known for its numerous sieges by the armies of Guelders and Spain. In 1580, the castle was besieged by the forces of Guelders, but it was defended bravely by the lord of the castle, Marten Schenk. When the Duke of Parma sent cavalry, the besieging army had to retreat. In 1589, Schenk changed sides, and the castle was besieged by Marcus van Rije, the stadtholder of Guelders appointed by the Spanish king; this time, the castle was conquered.
The castle has lain in ruins since the bombardment by the British RAF on 21 and 22 February 1945, during Operation Veritable. In 2009, the property was purchased by the Bleijenbeek Foundation, which intends to restore the remaining structure, moat, and surrounding gardens and provide public access after work is complete. Construction began in the summer of 2012.References:
The Château du Haut-Koenigsbourg is situated in a strategic area on a rocky spur overlooking the Upper Rhine Plain, it was used by successive powers from the Middle Ages until the Thirty Years' War when it was abandoned. From 1900 to 1908 it was rebuilt at the behest of the German kaiser Wilhelm II. Today it is a major tourist site, attracting more than 500,000 visitors a year.
The first records of a castle built by the Hohenstaufens date back to 1147. The fortress changed its name to Koenigsburg (royal castle) around 1157. The castle was handed over to the Tiersteins by the Habsburgs following its destruction in 1462. They rebuilt and enlarged it, installing a defensive system designed to withstand artillery fire.
The fortification work accomplished over the 15th century did not suffice to keep the Swedish artillery at bay during the Thirty Years War, and the defences were overrun.