Top 10 most beautiful castles in Netherlands
Top 10 most beautiful castles in Netherlands

Despite the fact that many of the Netherlands’ Medieval castles have perished through time, there are nonetheless a magnificent few that live to tell tales of the past.

Wherever you are within the country, you are never too far from a beautiful, awe-inspiring castle, many of which are bursting with a rich history and heritage, and are just waiting to be uncovered.

The Netherlands has had some pretty impressive castles throughout history. Many were built during the Middle Ages as defensive structures. Over the years, the purpose of these castles changed, and many were turned into comfortable homes where the aesthetics of the design became more important. Today, these castles are a great tourist attraction, where visitors come to admire the architecture, art collections and gardens. Let’s get on with the list of the 10 most beautiful castles in Netherlands.

The List of top 10 most beautiful castles in Netherlands

10. Amerongen Castle

9. Nijenrode Castle

8. Muider Castle

7. Hoensbroek Castle

6. Heeze Castle

5. Heeswijk Castle

4. Duivenvoorde Castle

3. Doorwerth Castle

2. Doornenburg Castle

1. De Haar Castle

What are the most beautiful castles in Netherlands?

10. Amerongen Castle

Photo: Wikipedia
Photo: Wikipedia

Amerongen Castle (Dutch: Kasteel Amerongen, [kɑsteːl amɛrɔŋə(n)]) is a castle in Amerongen, the Netherlands. It was built between 1674 and 1680, on the site of a medieval castle that had been burned down by the French in 1673. The gardens still contain historic elements such as a conservatory dating from the 1890s. In 1918, the former German Kaiser Wilhelm II signed his abdication here and stayed till 1920, when he moved to Huis Doorn.

The current building was designed by the architect Maurits Post as a baroque palace for the owners Godard Adriaan van Reede and his wife Margaretha Turnor. In the main hall a central staircase with painted ceiling was built by Willem van Nimwegen. Other ornaments were added in the early 20th century by P.J.H. Cuypers. The gardens contain historical elements and the walls predate 1673. Near the entrance bridge dating from 1678 is a wooden clock tower from 1728 that contains the original clock of the same date. In the north-east corner of the gardens is an orangerie dating from the 1880s, and the north wall was raised during the period when Wilhelm II was residing there 1918-1920. He abdicated in Amerongen then moved to Huis Doorn.

9. Nijenrode Castle

Photo: The World of Castles
Photo: The World of Castles

Around 1260 knight Gerard Splinter van Ruwiel laid the first foundations for the Nyenrode castle. The location of the castle was well-chosen: a strategic spot on the narrowest part of the bank of the river Vecht. The river Vecht was part of the trade route from the town of Utrecht to the Zuiderzee (Dutch South Sea) and was situated in an area which was heavily disputed by the Bishops of Utrecht and the Counts of Holland.

The Lords Nyenrode dedicated their castle to the Count of Holland. The Castle was destroyed in 1481 and in 1511. In 1539 the Barons Van den Bongard inherited the Domain of Nyenrode. Bernard van den Bongard III turned the castle into a castle-manor between 1632 and 1642. He also modernized the appearance of the building. The castle thus was given the typical characteristics of a knightly mansion in the Dutch Renaissance style, namely a house with a castle-like form and a drawbridge.

In 1672, the French had their headquarters at Nyenrode. As the troops of Stadtholder William III, Prince of Orange and later also King of England, advanced, the French set fire to the castle on 6 September 1673. Johan Ortt, who bought the Castle in 1675, repaired the damage caused by the fire. From 1675 to 1853 Nyenrode was owned by the Ortt family. They were merchants (cloth manufacturers and corn merchants) in Amsterdam. The family bought Nyenrode together with the Domain Breukelen for 40,000 Dutch Guilders.

From 1853, two generations of the industrial family De Heus were the owners of the Castle. From 1907 to 1934 Michiel Onnes (a German coffee-merchant) lived at Nyenrode. He restored the castle and the surrounding park to its former glory of the period of Van den Bongard. Between 1916 and 1918 the gatehouse was built and the coach house reconstructed. The keep was completely rebuilt on its old foundation as well and raised one storey. Subsequently, the art-dealer Jacques Goudstikker owned the estate. He died in an accident in May 1940, while fleeing for the German occupants.

8. Muider Castle

Photo: Amsterdam Tourist Today
Photo: Amsterdam Tourist Today

Muiden Castle is a castle in the Netherlands, located at the mouth of the Vecht river, some 15 kilometers southeast of Amsterdam, in Muiden, where it flows into what used to be the Zuiderzee. It is one of the better known castles in the Netherlands and featured in many television shows set in the Middle Ages.

At the end of the 18th century, the castle was first used as a prison, then abandoned and became derelict. Further neglect caused it to be offered for sale in 1825, with the purpose of it being demolished. Only intervention by King William I prevented this. Another 70 years went by until enough money was gathered to restore the castle to its former glory.

Muiden Castle is currently a national museum (Rijksmuseum). The inside of the castle, its rooms and kitchens, was restored to look like they did in the 17th century and several of the rooms now house a collection of arms and armour.

7. Hoensbroek Castle

Photo: Locationscout
Photo: Locationscout

Hoensbroek Castle is one of the largest and most beautiful castles in the Netherlands. It's an exciting and fairytale-like castle with beautiful towers, exciting passageways and a real castle moat to top it all off. The oldest part of the castle dates from 1250. While passing through over 40 splendid castle chambers, you will take a journey back through time. Discover the magnificent ballroom, feel shivers run down your spine in the dungeon, and climb the 60 m high fortified medieval lookout tower. It's an unforgettable experience!

Over the centuries the castle has received extensive rebuilding and expansion three times. The different architectural styles from the different centuries (14th, 17th and 18th) are easy to separate from each other. The complex is surrounded by a moat and has four wings situated around a rectangular courtyard. The main building is reachable over a bridge. The main building has two identical square towers with union-tops, flanking the entrance, and two taller half-separate corner towers of irregular shape at the backside. The forecastles are both U-formed and enclose two large inner courts.

From 1720 to 1722, Frans Arnold, Imperial count van Hoensbroek, had substantial reworking done, including the building of a new north-western wing. The interior, with its illusionistic ceiling paintings from the 18th century, shows French influence. The son of Frans Arnold, Lotharius Frans, was the last lord of Hoensbroeck (1759–1794) who resided in the castle, until 1787, just before the French revolution.

6. Heeze Castle

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

Heeze Castle used to be the centre of the seigneury of Heeze, Leende and Zesgehuchten, part of the Duchy of Brabant. In the Middle Ages, it was owned by the de Horne family. In the seventeenth Century Pieter Post designed a new castle, of which the first part was built in 1665. Pieter Post had died and the work was completed by his son Maurits Post.

Due to the rising costs of importing all building materials from other regions of the country, the build of the Post design was halted early and never finished. For this reason, the part of the castle that is used by the current owners was actually meant to be the servants' quarters. The biggest part of the castle was to be built behind the first courtyard.

In 1760 the castle was bought by Jan Maximiliaan van Tuyll van Serooskerken. The van Tuyll van Serooskerken family has lived in the castle ever since.

At the east of the building of Heeze Castle within the waters is a part of an older castle situated Eymerick Castle. This castle was already in 1659 in a bad shape. Because the building-plans of Heeze Castle were never completed this part of the old castle is still there.

5. Heeswijk Castle

Photo: Visit Brabant
Photo: Visit Brabant

Heeswijk Castle, locally known as Kasteel Heeswijk, lies west of the village of Heeswijk-Dinther, in the North Brabant province in the Netherlands.

The first castle at this site was built somewhere before 1100. The first mention of the castle is from 1156 when it is owned by a Count Almericus. It probably was a moated, round motte with a keep made of stone and wood on top. In the 13th century the castle becomes the property of the Van Benthum family through marriage. They probably enlarged the castle at the end of the 13th century with a round tower and a square gate tower.

In 1834 Heeswijk Castle was bought by the Belgian baron Andreas van den Bogaerde van Terbrugge. Again the castle gets rebuilt. He and his descendants were art collectors and decorated the castle with all kinds of art and the castle is partly used as a museum. In 1895 Alberic van den Bogaerde dies and leaves a strange testament behind; the castle has to remain unoccupied and in exactly the same state until 1963 when his youngest heir (a 12-year old boy) should reach his 80th birthday. A truly bizarre testament, even more so because in those times the life expectancy of men was a mere 45 years. The Van den Bogaerde family protests in court and get to sell large parts of the museum collection but the castle remained unoccupied.

During the Second World War the castle suffered only minor damage. In September 1944, during Operation Market Garden, the parachutists of the 101st Airborne Division landed around the castle.

In 1964 the descendants of Alberic van den Bogaerde move into the buildings on the bailey and restore the castle to give it its present appearance. These descendants have now all died and the castle is owned by the Heeswijk Castle Foundation. The castle is now used for all kinds of cultural activities.

4. Duivenvoorde Castle

Photo: Locationscout
Photo: Locationscout

Duivenvoorde Castle lies in peaceful, rustic surroundings in the midst of the busy Randstad. A beautiful country park in English style surrounds the castle. The castle itself is originally Medieval, but now has more of a seventeenth and eighteenth century style. Duivenvoorde Castle dates back to the early 13th century, making it one of the older castles in Zuid-Holland. There are guided tours from April till October. Guided tours for groups in English, German and French are available on request.

The castle is remarkable in the way that it was never sold; it was inherited by several different noble houses, sometimes through the matrilineal line, something that can be said of very few Dutch castles. Duivenvoorde Castle has remained within the family Van Duvenvoirde through succession until 1960, when the estate was placed into the care of the Duivenvoorde Foundation. Since then it has been open to the public as a museum. A guided tour passes through the castle's stately rooms, furnished as though they were still in use. The estate also boasts an exceptional collection of 17th and 18th century family portraits, silver, Delftware, Chinese and European porcelain.

3. Doorwerth Castle

Photo: Wikipedia
Photo: Wikipedia

Doorwerth Castle is a medieval castle situated on the river Rhine near the city of Arnhem, Netherlands.

The original castle, probably wooden, is first mentioned in 1260 when it was besieged and burned to the ground, after which it was rebuilt in stone. In 1280 this second castle was again besieged and this time the bailey was burned down. This castle probably consisted of a simple hall-keep, two stories high with 1.20 meter thick walls, and featured a surrounding moat which was fed by the nearby river Rhine.

During the 14th century the castle was continually enlarged. Doorwerth Castle was originally the property of the Van Dorenweerd family. In 1402 Robert van Dorenweerd dedicated the castle to the Count of Gelre, Reinald IV. In return Robert was granted the castle and its land in fief. Around the middle of the 15th century the castle was enlarged again, this time by knight Reinald van Homoet, the 10th Lord of Dorenweerd, who was also the owner of Doornenburg Castle.

Doorwerth Castle reached its largest form just after the middle of the 16th century under Daem Schellart van Obbendorf, the 15th Lord of Dorenweerd. He made the castle and the group of buildings on the bailey into a unity and adjusted them for more space and comfort. By 1560 Doorwerth Castle had almost reached its present appearance. Around 1637 the bailey was rebuilt to its present appearance and a dike was built around the castle to protect it from flooding of the river Rhine.

Shortly after, the castle changed ownership due to financial problems and was granted in fief to a German Count, Anton I van Aldenburg. His successors did not alter the castle or bailey but did acquire more land. At the end of the 18th century the castle was no longer inhabited, but was looked after by a steward for its owners who now lived in England.

2. Doornenburg Castle

Photo: Wes Barris
Photo: Wes Barris

Doornenburg Castle is one of the biggest and best-preserved castles in the Netherlands. It consists of the main castle and a front castle which are connected via a small wooden bridge.

The castle was originally a fortified manor built in the 9th century. It wasn't until the 13th century that it was converted into a proper castle. Gradually, through the centuries, the castle was expanded further into its current form.

The castle was occupied until the 19th century. After that it fell into disrepair and by the end of the Second World War it was almost completely destroyed. Fortunately it was completely rebuilt between 1947 and 1968.

1. De Haar Castle

Photo: Rachel's Ruminations
Photo: Rachel's Ruminations

De Haar Castle is the largest castle of Holland and is located just outside Utrecht and a half an hour drive from Amsterdam. De Haar has everything you expect from a castle; towers, turrets, moats, gates and suspension bridges. The castle is also home to many art objects. Next to the castle you can find a romantic chapel and beautiful parks and gardens. Without a doubt De Haar Castle is one of the most luxurious castles of Europe.

Castle De Haar may look Medieval, but was actually built in the early twentieth century. The famous Dutch architect Pierre Cuypers built it between 1892 and 1912 on the ruins of the old, derelict castle that stood there, on commission from Baron Etienne van Zuylen van Nijevelt. In the 60s, it became a place where the Van Zuylen van Nijevelt family received the international jet set, from Brigitte Bardot and Coco Chanel to Maria Callas and Roger Moore. A visit to Castle De Haar feels like a trip back in time to the glory days of the twentieth century.

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