14 Most Beautiful Castles in the Netherlands
I think I may have been a princess in a previous life because I really love castles and forever am visiting them on my travels. Well, now it’s time to properly explore all the beautiful castles in the Netherlands!
History drips from the walls, and a stroll through the castle gardens is a wonderful way to spend a sunny afternoon.
Most castles, anywhere in the world, originated in the Middle Ages. After all, a castle was the perfect way to protect yourself. “Yourself” of course mainly applied to noble people who could afford to have such a gigantic fortified house built for themselves. If you had it really well, then you opted for a castle instead of a house. You strengthened your safe position by placing a moat around the house and also a solid brick wall around your site.
Nowadays there are hardly any noble people living in castles anymore besides, of course, the royal family. Princess Beatrix has lived in Drakensteyn Castle since her resignation.
14 Gorgeous Castles in the Netherlands You Must Visit
1. Castle De Haar
For the first castle we travel to the center of the Netherland. Castle de Haar is the largest castle in the Netherlands and is centrally located in the province of Utrecht. Although they rebuilt the current castle in 1892 on the ruins of the old, it is not clear when Castle de Haar was originally built.
The first official mention of the castle comes from 1391, and that means that the castle has a lot of history. You can now visit as a simple, non-noble soul. Fortunately, because it is one of the most beautiful places in the Netherlands. Do you still want to feel like nobility? You can also get married there!
2. Muiden Castle
Muiden Castle in North Holland is a castle that now serves as a national museum. The castle was inhabited from (approximately) 1285 to 1795. This was followed by a period of many restorations, since it fell into disrepair from 1795 – 1895.
The castle now looks well-kept and well-maintained. Muiden opens its doors daily and you discover the extensive history that lies behind the impressive castle. There are beautiful gardens in front of Muiden Castle, which are divided into a Warmoeshof (vegetable garden) and Kruidenhof (herb garden).
3. Doorwerth Castle
Castle Doorwerth is located in Gelderland. Like most castles, Doorwerth has its origins in the 13th century. When you walk through the castle, you experience what it must have been like to live here in those centuries. There are several rooms furnished as they looked many centuries ago. Museums and exhibitions in the castle show even more of the history of Doorwerth Castle. Many marriage is celebrated here too. Understandable choice, because it will not be much more romantic than a large, fairy-tale castle.
4. Hoensbroek Castle
For the next castle we travel to the southernmost part of the Netherlands. Hoensbroek Castle is, unsurprisingly, located in Hoensbroek in South Limburg. The oldest part comes from the 14th century, but the very first mention of Hoensbroek Castle comes from 1250.
What started as a fortified house was expanded into one of the largest castles in the Netherlands. The favorable location on the trade route to Maastricht has undoubtedly played a major role in this. You can visit Hoensbroek Castle almost all year round. Discover the mysterious dungeons or imagine yourself as a princess in the beautiful ballroom. Many workshops, tours, and events are also organized, so it pays to visit the website prior to your visit.
5. Valkenburg Castle Runs
Also in the beautiful South Limburg are the Valkenburg Castle Ruins. Where you would like to live in some other castles, you certainly do not want to live here. Valkenburg Castle is in fact a ruin of a luxury house destroyed in 1672. Yet it is a Dutch castle that should not be missing in the list. The reason for that? It is one of the few high fortifications in the Netherlands. In such a low-lying, flat land there has always been little height to build a castle. At that time, Valkenburg Castle was built on Heunsberg, which makes it still a special piece of history to see.
6. Heeswijk Castle
Heeswijk Castle in North Brabant was created earlier than the castles you have seen so far. Already in the 11 th century, the basis was created that would eventually lead to Heeswijk Castle. Many sieges and fights have been fought over Castle Heeswijk about which you discover more during a visit. Nowadays Heeswijk Castle can also be visited. Discover the estate and the castle at your own pace or join one of the tours. During the tours you will discover even more about the rich history and the aforementioned quarrels that took place at Heeswijk Castle. Very interesting!
If you don’t care much about history, you can also walk around the estate and enjoy a piece of apple pie in the accompanying café. I recently did that on a sunny day ;-).
7. Doornenburg Castle
Doornenburg Castle is located in Gelderland, surrounded by a large estate. Unlike most castles in the Netherlands, the Doornenburg Castle is not freely accessible. Although you can admire the courtyard from the terrace, the main castle can only be visited through a tour.
Don’t let that stop you because you learn a lot of walking with a guide. Up until the 19th century, Doornenburg Castle was inhabited but then fell into disrepair. When it was decided to restore the castle, 4 years after the restoration work was completed in 1945, it was hit hard by a bombing during the Second World War. The castle was then restored to its former glory and after its completion in 1968, it was immediately put to use. For example, the “Floris” was filmed here.
8. Loevestein Castle
Also in Gelderland, Loevestein Castle was built in 1357 as a residence, then served as a defense building, state prison and was part of the New Dutch Water Line. Slot Loevestein eventually became an official National Monument with a museum. The opening times are very dependent on the time of year, so keep an eye on the website. You can explore the Slot at your own pace, but on the way you’ll come across several interactive exhibits that tell you all about the castle’s rich history. One of the nicest combinations that you can come across in a castle, because you have all the freedom to join the fascinating stories or to skip what is not interesting for you.
Fun Fact: do you remember that story from your history lesson that Hugo de Groot escaped from a castle by hiding in a bookcase? That was in Loevenstein Castle!
9. Huis Ruurlo Castle
Huis Ruurlo Castle is also located in Gelderland. It is not known exactly when the castle was built. The first mention comes from 1326 and in the following years it served as a town hall, among other things. It only stopped serving as anything was in 2005.
Fortunately it was bought by a businessman who turned it into a museum that can be visited since 2017. The castle contains a large art collection. If art is not for you, then a walk through the castle park may be more appropriate. The English landscape garden is well maintained and, moreover, free to visit. You will also find the Orangery where you can enjoy a good lunch in beautiful surroundings.
10. Castle Rechteren
You can find Rechteren Castle in Overijssel. It is also one of the few times that we move to this province, because Rechteren is one of the few Medieval castles. Most of the castles mentioned so far are no longer in the hands of noble families.
Rechteren Castle is special in several respects. In addition to being the only Medieval castle in Overijssel, it’s still in the hands of the Van Rechteren family. Huis Almelo is also still in the hands of this family. Although you cannot visit the castle, the estate is open to visitors. Many cycling and walking routes pass Rechteren Castle where you can enjoy the impressive sight.
11. Duurstede Castle
Duurstede Castle, in the province of Utrecht, also emerged in the 13th century. It started with a residential tower and was expanded into the impressive building that we can still visit. It has had many residents who were only too happy to hold large parties and show the beautiful castle to their network.
Duurstede eventually became the property of the States of Utrecht, after which the castle became a national monument. Many restorations followed, which have been completed since 2013. Since then, it can be admired in its full glory. At least, the outside and the castle island. If you want to see the castle from the inside, you will have to organize a meeting or check with the local tourist office whether a group tour will be given soon.
12. Huis Bergh Castle
Like many other castles in the Netherlands, Huis Bergh Castle is also located in the province of Gelderland. As one of the largest moated castles in the Netherlands, it has become a special sight. Admire the castle at your leisure. Opening times change monthly, so check the website before heading over.
13. Ammersoyen Castle
Ammersoyen Castle, in the province of Gelderland, is said to be a typical Dutch water castle. This means it’s a castle with four corner towers, a front section and – of course – a large canal around. Ammersoyen is one of the castles that has had many inhabitants.
In many cases, the transition from one owner to another was not particularly peaceful. The castle finally came into the hands of the Catholic Church in 1873 and served as a monastery until 1957. After this, Ammersoyen has been restored to the castle it is today. You can walk through on your own throughout the year. Opening times and dates vary depending on the season, so check the website.
14. Ruins of Brederode
The Ruins of Brederode were once Brederode Castle in North Holland. It is almost impossible to imagine how often the castle was seriously destroyed and yet rebuilt. After the first major siege, it was decided to demolish the castle and then rebuild it in 1354. A few sieges later, Brederode Castle was set on fire by the Spanish troops, after which it changed to the Ruins of Brederode.
The ruins were ultimately one of the first buildings that were restored by order of the state, where mistakes were made in the choice for repair. For example, there are bullet holes in the walls that were originally not there. Strange, right?! You can visit the Ruins of Brederode from March to October.
What are your favorite castles in the Netherlands?
General Travel Tips
- For accommodation, I always check Airbnb or Booking.com for the best prices.
- If your insurance at home doesn’t cover travel, you may want to look into SafetyWing for an affordable option.
- I always recommend checking Get Your Guide for the best tours in Europe and Tiqets for specific attraction deals.