The Netherlands is not as lucky as other European nations for being famous for its castles. Ironically, most of its medieval castles were destroyed, either during the Second World War or under the siege in the 12th and 13th centuries. But there are still some beautiful castles in the Netherlands that are well preserved over the centuries.
Castles are not easy to maintain. Hence, most of the palaces are now used as hotels, museums or venues for occasions like fairs and weddings. The overall beauty of their design is impressive.
Visitors can get to these castles to admire the art collections, architecture, and gardens. Most of these beautiful castles and fortifications have been used by private people, while some are open publicly and greet the visitors over the year. Listed here are some of the top castles in the Netherlands.
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Here’s the list of the castles in the Netherlands
Castle Doorwerth is one of the best castles in Holland to visit, having the history that dates back to the 12th century, and it truly reflects its monumental architecture. It houses more than three beautiful museums, its pristine surroundings, and century-old trees.
Enjoy and explore three beautiful museums in this ancient and unique castle. You can see the oldest tree in Holland, Robinta (acacia) tree dates back to 1600, and it also has a trunk that measures the circumference of seven meters. Doorwerth Castle is also one of the ancient castles in Holland.
Located on Rhine River banks, Castle Doorwerth lies between Arnhem and Wageningen. The immediate surroundings make it one of the most beautiful and best castles in the Netherlands. The mansion is lavish in beautiful surroundings as it is located where Veluwezoom’s sharp forested moraine sideways meets the broad Lower Rhine’s floodplains.
The stunning medieval castle is sandwiched between two geological sites and is well covered by giant moats. The palace was first mentioned in 1260 in historical documents. Hence, it is one of the oldest Holland castles.
The Amsterdam Castle Muiderslot is one of the most beautiful medieval castles in Holland. This castle has an epic and long-back history. Now, it serves as a national museum and is open to the public where one can explore the breathtaking rooms which are restored to exude the same old-world charm of the 17th century, and it has an excellent collection of armor and arms.
This castle is the gateway to the medieval periods in the captivating rooms where you can get an insight into its dynamic past, along with the leading names in Dutch rule. Discover the rich collection of weapons, armor, and utensils of the castle dating back to the 13th century, along with beautiful paintings dating back to the Dutch Golden Age.
The Muiderslot National Museum is the most famous medieval Amsterdam castle. Located on the banks of River Vecht, this fortress was built by Count Floris V around 1280. In 1296, the castle was soon smashed by Bishop Willem van Mechelen. On its ruins, a new palace was built in 1380.
Around 600 years later, the castle is standing proudly in excellent conditions. Thousands of tourists flock here to feel the life of the damsel or knight for a day at least.
Read also: Top 10 Day Trips from Amsterdam
Located in the heart of naturally Dutch landscape crafted by Waal and Maas rivers, Ammersoyen Castle is a beautiful and tall structure from the medieval period. The castle is positioned with a large moat which needs to be crossed two times to access its gate. It has been standing tall since the medieval era.
The castle stands from the vast moat. The traditional interior of the palace makes the middle ages come alive. Here, you can get back to the Middle Ages by visiting the medieval castle. You can explore the halls and chambers in the impenetrable walls of the castle and marvel at the artifacts.
Ammersoyen Castle was built in 1300 and is among the well known moated castles in Holland. It was constructed as per modern design by Count Floris V, including towers standing aside from the central complex so the castle can be protected with ease. It is a century-old castle for several reasons.
During the previous century, when it was being rebuilt, a lot of artifacts made from glass, ceramics, bronze, and silver were found in the well-known moat. Some of these findings are exhibited in its museum that is around 600 years old.
In this castle, the visitors can roam around several chambers and halls and visit the towers, the ladies’ chambers, and the antique Great Hall. You can also get guided tours. Children can also find a lot of things to discover, such as breathtaking lookouts, chests, and hatches. They can even try on a suit of armor and also play some educational and fun games as well.
Slot Loevestein or Loevestein Castle is a medieval castle in Gelderland. Dirc Loef van Horne was a knight who built this castle from 1357 to 1397. It belonged to the old Dutch defense line, Hollandic Water Line until World War II, and it also serves as an archeological and Medieval Museum. Here you can discover the story of the most famous escape in the history of the Dutch era.
You can also walk through the nearby surroundings of quintessential Dutch landmarks. You can learn everything you need to know about prisoners and knights from the museum guides. Located in the small Poederoyen town in the Gelderland province, Loevestein Castle is positioned at the intersection of Waal and Meuse rivers. It is a water castle built from 1357 to 1368.
Apart from being a defensive castle strategically, Loevestein Castle has also earned good revenue by charging toll tax from travelers. Loevestein Castle was the official state prison in the early 17th century, and the spot for the most notable escape in the history of the Dutch era and also belonged to the Dutch Water Line.
You can additionally discover the castle along with its past when you visit this castle by getting a personal key. Museum guides here speak about prisoners, knights, and stories. Children can also hear the tales of Hugo de Groot’s escape, and they can even climb on the book chest.
It is an archeological masterpiece where you can discover the traces of its well-known residents in its exhibitions. In addition, the castle is located in the heart of the beautiful nature reserve. You can walk through the peaceful area of birds and plants.
De Haar Castle
The largest castle of Holland, De Haar Castle is located just off Utrecht. It is one of the most visited castles near Amsterdam. De Haar features everything expected from a castle, including turrets, towers, moats, suspension bridges, and gates. The palace also houses several artifacts. You can spot beautiful gardens and parks as well as a romantic chapel next to the castle. De Haar Castle is undoubtedly one of the most lavish castles in Europe.
It is also the largest castle in Holland where you can enjoy a tasty lunch in Koetshuis. Here, you can follow in the footsteps of well-known visitors like Roger Moore and Brigitte Bardot. Though the castle may look medieval at first, it was built in the early 20th century.
The renowned architect Pierre Cuypers created it between 1892 and 1912 on the remnants of the derelict, old castle which stood here from Baron Etienne van Zuylen van Nijevelt. Brigette Bardot gifted the international jet set to the Van Zuylen van Nijevelt family in the 1960s. Get back into the glorious era of the 20th century by visiting the Castle de Haar.
Locally known as Kasteel Medemblik or Kasteel Radboud, the Radboud Castle is located in Medemblic town in the North Holland province in the Netherlands. Count Floris V (1256-1296) constructed a range of castles at the end of the 13th century for population control at the Westfrisian. Radboud Castle is the only castle that survived out of those castles.
In this castle, only one round and two square towers, and two residential wings are still standing. Radboud Castle seems to be a strong castle from archeological research and old images. It appears to be similar to other square castles, such as Ammersoyen Castle, Muiden Castle, and Helmond Castle.
Radboud is the name derived from the common belief that the castle was developed where Frisian king Radboud’s palace had been standing from the 8th century. The counts of Holland installed the guardians at this castle in the 14th and 15th centuries. Radboud Castle has never been noble but has been used primarily as a prison. It had been exploited as a refuge by the Medemblik residents.
The castle was used as a courthouse from 1897 to 1934. The moat was cleared in 1936 which showed a previous ground plan accurately. Another major restoration work was conducted in the 60s in which some beautiful additions were removed from the earlier restoration work.
Doornenberg Castle was built in the 13th century in Gelderland around Doornenburg village. Including the front and main castle connected through a wooden bridge, the structure makes it one of the well preserved and largest castles in the Netherlands.
The castle was initially built as a fortification during the 9th century and was named as Villa Dorenburc. Before the manor to be turned into the castle, it was around 400 years old.
The castle continued to expand over time, and the frontal castle was not built before the 15th century and had sleeping chambers, a chapel, and a farm. For Dutch palaces, the farms were not that common. So, it was an excellent aspect of Doornenburg. Until the 19th century, the castle remained covered when it was ruined.
In 1936, it was built by the Stichting tot Behoud van den Doornenburg to recover its lost glory. In 1941, it was completely restored. The castle was almost destroyed during World War II. From 1947 to 1968, the castle was rebuilt once again.
Duurstede Castle is a medieval castle built in the 13th century in the Utrecht province of Netherlands in Wijk Bij Duustede. Several films and TV series have featured the castle, including Het Monster van Toth, Bassie en Adriaan and De Diamant.
In 1270, the castle was built as a freestanding keep by Zweder I van Zuylen van Abcoude. It was naturally used as a military complex and had been standing 11m tall with 2.5m thick walls. Covering the keep, a moat has made it an excellent defensive complex. Until the 15th century, the Van Zuylen van Abcoude family lived in the castle when Utrecht bishops forced the family to sell the structure, and they had the keep until the year 1580.
The castle has been used as a Burgundian tower and catering firm today. A moat still covers it to date, and it can be accessed only with a drawbridge. At the castle, special events are hosted all year-round, and the palace can be rented for parties, weddings, and various special occasions.
Businesses host several workshops and events regularly at the castle due to its picture-perfect setting and unique location. It is not open to the public at this time. You should undoubtedly visit this beautiful castle if you are getting around Wijk Bij Duustede.
Vesting Bourtange or Fort Bourtange is a star fort in Bourtange village in Groningen. William the Silent ordered the construction of this fort in 1593. The fort was initially built to keep an eye on the only way from Germany to the Groningen city, controlled by Spaniards during Eighty Years’ War (1568 – 1648).
Its first battle was held in 1672, but the Fort was still standing to protect the German border until it was entirely destroyed in 1851 and turned into a village.
Today, it is used as a historical museum. The Spaniards were controlling Groningen and the path to Germany across the marshy lands. The instigator of the Dutch Revolt, William seized the control of the road between Germany and Groningen. When it turned into a village, the life of the residents started to spoil.
The local government finally managed to stop the decline in 1960 as the Old Fort was restored to its original appearance in 1740-50 and turned into a museum.