There are some breathtaking castles in the Netherlands that you shouldn’t miss out on! Many were built during the Middle Ages as defensive structures and they can be found all over the country. I made a list of the twenty castles in the Netherlands that you should include in your itinerary if you are planning to visit The Netherlands!
Twenty impressive castles
in the Netherlands!
De Haar Castle, Utrecht
De Haar Castle is one of my favorite castles to visit in the Netherlands. It’s almost located in my backyard, near Haarzuilens in Utrecht. It’s the largest and most luxurious castle of the Netherlands and has a pretty impressive interior. Around the castle you can find a huge park and beautiful gardens. Even though many of the original gardens were destroyed during World War II, today they have been restored back to their former glory. Multiple beautiful lakes and charming bridges can be found scattered across the castle’s grounds.
Doornenburg Castle, Doornenburg
Doornenburg Castle is one of the largest and best preserved castles in the Netherlands and definitely worth a look! It’s located in the eastern part of the Netherlands, close to Arnhem. The castle consists of a smaller castle and a main castle which are connected by a narrow wooden bridge.
Muiderslot Castle, Muiden
Muiderslot castle is a well-known medieval castle in Muiden in the province of North Holland. It’s located at the Vecht river, pretty close to Amsterdam, so ideal for a day trip if you’re staying in the capital city. The Vecht river was the trade route to Utrecht, one of the most important market towns of that age.
Muiderslot castle is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List and is featured in many television shows set in the Middle Ages. The Muiderslot Castle houses a national museum and has a moat with a drawbridge.
Fun fact: the museum is depicted on the ace of clubs card in the standard deck of cards used in the Netherlands.
Slot Loevestein, Zaltbommel
Slot Loevestein roughly translates to “Loef’s stone house”. The castle and fortress near Poederoijen was built by the knight Dirc Loef van Horne. He used it as a residence and to collect tolls from trading ships passing through the river. Currently the Dutch castle is used as a medieval museum with three important eras in the structure’s history: the Middle Ages, the State Prison period and the Dutch Waterline period.
Paleis het Loo, Apeldoorn
Paleis het Loo, Het Loo Palace was built between 1684 and 1686 for stadtholder-king at the time William III and his wife Mary II of England. Currently, Paleis Het Loo is a museum with baroque gardens, stables, little houses and a restaurant. The palace’s interior displays original furniture, as well as objects and paintings of the House of Orange-Nassau.
Paleis het Loo is at all times open to the general public. However in 2020 the palace will be closed for a short period of time due to renovation. The gardens and stables are open until 30 september 2020. If you’re planning to visit, check the website for the opening times.
Kasteel Huis Bergh, ‘s-Heerenberg
Kasteel Huis Bergh dates back to the 13th century and is among the biggest castles in the Netherlands, actually in the Benelux regions! Very little is known about the history of Huis Bergh. The castle is surrounded by a moat, which served as a powerful defence during the Middle Ages.
Currently, Huis Bergh is well-known for its impressive art collection that features many Medieval artefacts and early Italian Renaissance paintings. The castle is also used to host weddings, so it’s perfect if you want your special day to be like a fairy tale.
Nijenrode Castle, Utrecht
Just outside Breukelen, located on the Vecht, a stone’s throw from Amsterdam and Utrecht, lies the beautiful Nijenrode Estate with its castle from the 13th century. The river Vecht was part of the trade route from the market-town of Utrecht to the Dutch South Sea. The Estate of Nijenrode is known for its beautiful landscaping and many monuments.
Today, Nijenrode Estate offers a unique work and study environment at Nyenrode Business University, the only private university in the Netherlands. There’re also 99 hotel rooms, a restaurant, hotel bar and a beautiful rose garden where marriage is possible.
Doorwerth Castle, Arnhem
Doorwerth Castle is a medieval castle in The Netherlands situated on the river Rhine near the city of Arnhem. The original castle, probably wooden, is first mentioned in 1260 when it was besieged and burned to the ground. The castle was then rebuilt in stone. It’s now home to three separate museums, a hotel and restaurant. Behind the castle you can find a beautiful forest and some meadows where you can go for a hike.
Fun Fact: Doorwerth Castle is rumoured to be haunted! It was investigated by the TV show Most Haunted in 2004 in an attempt to find paranormal activity. So if you’re looking for a bit of a thrill and maybe want to see a ghost, this is your chance!
Duurstede Castle, Wijk bij Duurstede
Duurstede Castle is located in Wijk bij Duurstede, which is in the Utrecht province. The one thing that stands out in Duurstede Castle is its impressive tower. To this day the castle is still surrounded by a moat, so the only way to access it is through the drawbridge. Duurstede Castle is not open to the general public at this time, but it is still good for a quick picture if you happen to be in the area.
Fun fact for the Dutch: The location was used in the movie ‘De Diamant’ of ‘Bassie & Adriaan’.
Radboud Castle, Medemblik
Radboud Castle is a castle on the east bank of the harbour in Medemblik. It’s one of a number of castles in North Holland. The castle dates back to the 13th century and was built by order of Floris V for protection against the infiltrations in the area of the Frisians.
Amerongen Castle, Amerongen
One of the Netherland’s most beautiful castles is Amerongen Castle, which was built in the 17th century. The castle boasts a proud and wows visitors from the very beginning. For me, it’s one of the most beautiful residences in Holland. I really love the gardens and 300-year-old oak trees. The castle itself has a vast collection of artefacts, such as porcelain, musical instruments, family portraits and marvellous interiors.
Ammersoyen Castle, Ammerzoden
Ammersoyen Castle is one of Holland’s best- known moated castles. It’s located in the Gelderland province. Ammersoyen Castle was built along a branch of the River Maas. Just a few years after the construction of the castle was completed, the river was rerouted leaving the castle to be surrounded by a moat. The castle was designed to be a defensive fortress.
Tip: It’s a beautiful area to go for a walk.
Bouvigne Castle, Breda
Bouvigne Castle is a beautiful and small castle in the city of Breda, in the Netherlands. There are several buildings on the Bouvigne estate. The oldest and most famous is the castle of the same name. The estate also has a chapel, a coach house, a headquarter of the Brabantse Delta water board and some beautiful gardens. The castle is closed to the public, but you can visit the beautiful gardens around the castle.
Valkenburg Castle, Valkenburg aan de Geul
Unfortunately, what remains of Valkenburg Castle are only ruins, but it’s definitely worth a visit! Valkenburg Castle dates back to the 11th century and it’s considered unique in the Netherlands since it’s the only castle built on a hill. Over the years, it was destroyed on multiple occasions during sieges. Today the remains of the castle are open for tours, allowing visitors to walk through the remains of what used to be a prod fortress in the Geul Valley. Valkenburg is a perfect place for a day trip!
Hoensbroek Castle, Hoensbroek
Hoensbroek Castle is one of the largest castles in the Netherlands and located in the village Hoensbroek, in the province of Zuid-Limburg. This imposing watercastle is known as ‘the largest stronghold between Rhine and Meuse Rivers’ due to its strategic location in the Duchy of Brabant. It’s a beautiful castle and worth a visit!
Biljoen Castle, Velp
Kasteel Biljoen is located between Veluwe and the IJssel River near Velp in the municipality of Rheden, in the Dutch province of Gelderland. The castle started out as a farm and later became a castle with four towers on each corner. Today, the castle is owned by an American family, and the castle itself is closed off to public visits.
Heeswijk Castle, Heeswijk-Dinther
Heeswijk Castle, locally known as Kasteel Heeswijk, lies west of the village of Heeswijk-Dinther, in the North Brabant province in the Netherlands. The former moated castle was originally built in the 11th century and has played a crucial role in the history of the Netherlands. The castle is now used for all kinds of cultural activities and is more like a little fairy castle. When I visited the castle a wedding was going on, so I couldn’t visit the interior. Oh well, that gives me a nice reason to visit it again!
Fort Bourtange, Bourtange
Fort Bourtange is a fort in the village of Bourtange, Groningen, Netherlands. This star-shaped fort was constructed during the Eighty Years’ War to serve as a blockade between the Netherlands and Germany. Its pointed bulwarks were designed to deflect cannon fire whilst providing troops inside the fort with a panoramic view of the surrounding area. Bourtange is currently preserved as an open-air museum.
Duivenvoorde Castle, Voorschoten
Duivenvoorde Castle is a castle in the town of Voorschoten, South Holland, in the Netherlands. It 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. The castle hosts a museum that is open from June until October. The park is open all year.
Stelling van Amsterdam
De Stelling van Amsterdam (Defence Line of Amsterdam) are no castles, but fortifications that form a remarkable defensive ring made up of 46 forts and batteries as well as a multitude of dikes and sluices encircling the Dutch capital of Amsterdam. The Defence Line has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1996. A large portion of this monument is open to the public and makes for a great day out for people young and old. Since it’s part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, I thought it was worth a mention in this list. A video below explains in more depth De Stelling van Amsterdam (in Dutch).
Fort near Abcoude is the oldest Defence Line fort and is surrounded by nature. Consisting partly of bricks and partly of sections of ‘brikkenbeton’, the fort is a unique hybrid of the older brick forts of the Dutch Waterline. The Fort near Abcoude is located directly south of the residential area of the village of Abcoude.
Each second Saturday of the month, from May through September, tour guides from the Fort Abcoude Foundation will show you the buildings and the forest area that surrounds the fort. The tours last an hour and a half and start as soon as several visitors have gathered. A small fee is asked.
Are there any breathtaking castles in the Netherlands that I missed out on?
Let me know in a comment!
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