The Netherlands is home to many great and beautiful Dutch castles. Whether you’re looking to visit castles around Amsterdam or in other amazing places in The Netherlands or Holland: Visiting the must see Dutch castles is one of the things you have to do in The Netherlands.
Where can you find the best castles in The Netherlands? All throughout my country. While The Netherlands isn’t known for its awesome castles and incredible ruins, you’ll be able to find plenty of the most beautiful castles and ruins in The Netherlands. So if you’re looking for the best Dutch castles to visit and off the beaten path places to visit in The Netherlands, then this article is for you. From the best castles and places to visit near Amsterdam to the must see castles in The Netherlands.
In fact, I think that The Netherlands houses some of the best castles in Europe. Many people are not aware of the fact that some of The Netherlands best destinations are places with a castle and are definitely missing out. But, there’s an upside to all of this. It also means that you will have most of the best Dutch castles in The Netherlands to yourself as visiting these places is not on most of the people’s ‘things to do list’ for The Netherlands.
The 13 Must- see and best Dutch castles in The Netherlands & Holland you have to visit on your travels
There are many castles or ‘kastelen’ in The Netherlands, however many are of them turned into a hotel, a wedding location or a restaurant. Other have removed most of the history except for the outside such as one of the castles of Rotterdam. And the others turned into private homes or into not so spectaculair ruins such as another Rotterdam castle.
As I’ve mentioned before, most of the castles in The Netherlands are not tourist spots just yet, nor are they famous with the exception of a few. Here you will find everything from the best castles to famous castles in The Netherlands and from the oldest castles in The Netherlands to the most beautiful ruins you’ll ever come across. The most popular castles in The Netherlands as of now are the Muiderslot Castle in the town of Muiden and Castle De Haar near the city of Utrecht. While these castles are definitely beautiful, there are many more ancient castles in this part of Europe that you can visit. But without the tourists. I would even recommend you to do a little castle road trip through The Netherlands to discover the best places and castles to see in The Netherlands.
Sometimes you might wonder ‘what is there to see in both Holland and The Netherlands?’. And I can understand the question. As not many visitors are aware of the best and most beautiful castles that you can find in Holland and The Netherlands as well as the fact that visiting castles is one of the best things you can do in both Holland and The Netherlands. After reading this article, I hope you are a little more aware of the beauty of The Netherlands and where you can find it. Spoiler alert! All over the country. Every province has its charm, way of life and castles.
English translation for a Dutch word that will be used in this article:
Kasteel = Castle
P.S. All these awesome Dutch castles I’m recommending can be visited inside.
1. Castle De Haar
The most famous castle is the De Haar castle in Haarzuilen, The Netherlands. It’s also the biggest remaining castle of the province of Utrecht and The Netherlands. Castle De Haar is located in the province of Utrecht, not in one of the Hollands’. and can be found approximately a 40 minute bike ride or a 37 minute public transport journey from one of the most beautiful cities of The Netherlands: Utrecht.
Fun fact about Castle De Haar in Utrecht: The current castle is actually built on the ruins of a castle that dates back to the 13th or 14th century. But the biggest part of the castle dates back to the 19th century, when the ruins were turned into a beautiful castle by the famous architect Pierre Cuypers, together with his son Joesph Cuypers from 1892 until 1912.
The original castle De Haar was part of the familie Van Zuylen van Nyevelt and baron Etienne van Zuylen van Nyevelt van de Haar inherited the castle ruins of his father. Etienne married barones Helene de Rothschild on the 16th of August 1887 in Paris, which was one of the heiresses from the french part of the wealthy bankier family. Because of the wealth of Helene, the De Haar castle became one of the most grandiose castles of The Netherlands. I hope this little bit of the Kasteel De Haar history can prepare you for this awesome experience in The Netherlands.
There are a lot of things you can do in De Haar castle in Utrecht. Think of a castle tour through Kasteel De Haar and exploring the beautiful gardens. The De Haar castle is located near Utrecht and is simply one of the castles you must visit in The Netherlands.
2. Castle Huis Bergh
When I first saw this castle I was both shocked and mesmerized. ‘How did I not know that this castle existed before I did my thorough research?’ I’m from the province of Noord-Holland in The Netherlands and there are not much castles left in this region. But in the province of Gelderland, where you can find the Huis Bergh castle, you can spot them everywhere. And it leaves me in awe. I’ve heard of the more famous castles such as the castle of Muiden: Muiderslot, but I hadn’t heard of this beautiful castle in the province of Gelderland. So it’s my job to tell you that it’s one of the biggest and most beautiful Dutch castles of The Netherlands.
Parts of Kasteel Huis Bergh dates back to the 13th century. Others to the 14th, 15th and 17th century. During the 80-year war against the Spanish, Castle Huis Bergh was really suffering. It burned down almost completely in 1735. In 1939 one of the biggest moated castles of The Netherlands was burning again. A big part of this amazing castle in Gelderland was destroyed again. But thanks to the local citizens a lot of inventory could be saved and reconstruction started in 1939, to be completed in the autumn of 1941.
One of the amazing things about this stunning castle in one of the most idyllic and beautiful villages of The Netherlands, s-Heerenberg, is that you can see a lot of early Italian paintings. Such as the Maesta of Duccio. When you visit s-Heerenberg and it’s castle Huis Bergh, don’t forget to discover the English gardens. The gardens of the estate of Kasteel Huis Bergh are also called the oldest gardens of The Netherlands and were restored in its original glory of 1727 back in 2016.
And, that’s not all. You can even spend the night in this castle in The Netherlands. I mean. Hello. Yes, please!
3. Castle Loevestein
The Castle of Loevestein is a castle in the province of Gelderland, The Netherlands, and was built in 1357. This Dutch castle was originally made as a house from where knight Dirc Loef van Horne could go on his lootings. After him Slot Loevestein was in the hands of the Lord of Holland and was used as defense works against other feudal Lords. Then the castle was occupied by the Spaniards, during the beginning of the 80-year war.
But Willem van Oranje ordered the castle to be taken and it was reoccupied by the 16th century opposition to Spanish rule called ‘Geuzen’. In English they are called Sea Beggars but they were so much more than that. The Geuzen ended up conquering the northern part of The Netherlands and established an independent Dutch Republic. Which eventually turned into The Netherlands of today.
Back to the Spaniards. They occupied the castle one final time, but it got reoccupied again by the Dutch and after that it was state property of The Netherlands. Until the Belgian Revolution, the Loevestein castle was a state prison and has Hugo de Groot as prisoner. Who eventually escaped from the prison with the use of a book box after two years.
As the castle of Loevestein was state property, it eventually got defenses and became part of the old and new Dutch water line as a fortress. It’s military function was lifted only recently, in 1951. Slot, or Fort, Loevestein was restored from 1925 until 1986.
Castle Loevestein is actually a very famous castle in The Netherlands, because this Dutch castle was featured in one of the most famous and old television program called Floris. This was about a knight who was played by Rutger Hauer. And basically every young girl was in love with him.
When you’re in the small Dutch fortified town of Woudrichem, you can actually use a small ferry (it’s not really a ferry but apparently there’s no English word for it, so this is what we’re sticking with) that brings you to the opposite side of the river. But be warned, during low season, it’s not running. So make sure you’re visiting somewhere around June, July or August and you’ll be able to visit the Castle of Loevestein from the town of Woudrichem easily.
4. Castle Ammersoyen
The Ammersoyen castle is located in the small village of Ammerzoden in Gelderland, The Netherlands. It has a very strategical location as it’s placed between two of the big Dutch rivers: The Meuse and the Waal. What is interesting about this castle is that no one knows when it was built. People were already talking and writing about this awesome castle in Gelderland back in 1026. What they do know is that the this incredible castle in The Netherlands was built at once.
Usually castles expanded over a period of time, but the castle in Ammerzoden was built and designed in its entirety from the beginning. This must see Dutch castle was heavily damaged during the second world war and the restoration proces began in 1959. Eventually this medieval castle in The Netherlands was completely restored 16 years later. And today it is one of the best preserved moated castles of The Netherlands.
Photo by vverve / Deposit Photos
5. Castle Twickel
One of the things you have to see in The Netherlands is the Castle of Twickel. You can find the Twickel castle in the town of Delden and the province of Overijssel, The Netherlands. The oldest reference to Twickel was in 1347 when Herman van Twickelo bought house Eysinck by the town of Delden. This house got turned into Castle Twickel later on.
This castle in Overijssel, The Netherlands, is very famous for its castle gardens and parks. From vegetable gardens to baroque gardens. The oldest garden even dates back to the 17th century and you can even find one of the botanical gardens of The Netherlands here.
There are several farms in the area of the castle that are part of the estate of Twickel, which you can see by the white shutters that have black edges. These farms are currently still managed by a steward and the lease is used to manage the estate. You can also find a small store on the estate where you can buy products that are made on the estate.
As you explore the gardens of the castle of Twickel, you will understand why I think that this is one of the things you have to see in The Netherlands. But also why it’s one of the things you have to do in the Overijssel province.
6. Castle Amerongen
Another castle that you can find around the city of Utrecht is the Amerongen castle. Not only is this beautiful castle one of Utrecht, The Netherlands, many interesting points of interest, you also have to explore one of the most beautiful Dutch villages where the castle is located.
The previous castle of Amerongen dated back to 1286, but in February of 1673, the castle of Amerongen was set on fire by French troops who were on their way to completely conquer The Netherlands. After the destruction, Margaretha Turnor who lived in the castle with Godard Adriaan van Reede, ordered workers to rebuilt the castle. The current castle of Amerongen was completely finished in 1680.
The history of the castle of Amerongen is interesting and long. From flourishing moments to devastating ones and plenty of more. One of my favourite things about the Castle of Amerongen is the extended history and collection that you can find throughout this Dutch castle in Utrecht. From a beautiful library to a music collection. And from portraits to a harpsichord.
Another thing I really like about the Amerongen castle in Utrecht, The Netherlands, is the garden. The garden of Castle Amerongen is pretty spacious to say the least. You are able to see four centuries of history in the garden. And the last time the gardens were adapted and changed was in 1927 by Eduard Andre and Hugo Poortman.
7. Castle Muiderslot
Another great Dutch castle you’d have to visit is the Muiderslot castle which is located in the province of Noord-Holland. And it’s one of the best castles you can visit that are near and around Amsterdam. In Muiden, The Netherlands, you’ll find the beautiful Muiderslot castle. The Muiderslot is one of the best castles of Holland to visit and the current castle dates back to the end of the 14th century. The original castle was created in the end of the 13th century but destroyed.
One of the reasons why you must visit the castle of Muiderslot in Muiden, The Netherlands, is because it’s one of the few remaining castles in the province of Noord-Holland. Muiderslot fun fact: Almost all of the other castles in Noord-Holland have been destroyed in the endless wars and fights that happened in this region.
Another reason why you’d have to visit the Muiderslot castle in Muiden is that it’s very easy and quick to get from Amsterdam to the castle of Muiderslot, as public transport runs quite often. So when you’re visiting the province of Noord-Holland, one of the things you have to do is visit the Muiderslot. Although it’s definitely one of the most popular, famous and visited castles of Holland and The Netherlands, I would still recommend you to do a day trip to Muiden and its Muiderslot.
8. Castle Hoensbroek
One of the castles that can be found in Limburg, The Netherlands, is Kasteel Hoensbroek, Gebrook or Gebrookhoes. The Hoensbroek castle in Limburg is one of the biggest castles of The Netherlands and which makes it one of the best Dutch castles to visit. The oldest part of this must see Dutch castle dates back to 1360. There used to be another small castle or fortified house before the castle of Hoensbroek in The Netherlands on this exact location which was built in 1250.
The location of this castle in Limburg is very strategic as it’s castle is located along important trading routes to Maastricht, Aachen and Köln. That’s why this castle was expanded several times and it eventually became the biggest castle between the Meuse and Rhine river in The Netherlands.
It’s interesting to note that you can see the different styles and trends of architecture throughout the castle as the biggest adaptions took place in the 14th, 17th and 18th century.
Castle Hoensbroek has 67 halls, quarters and spaces. This including the history of Kasteel Hoensbroek and the several museums that are housed here, definitely make this one of the best Dutch castles in The Netherlands to visit.
9. Castle Heeswijk
One of the things you have to see and do in The Netherlands and the province of Noord (North )-Brabant is visiting castles. One of the best and most interesting Dutch castles you can visit in Noord-Brabant is Castle Heeswijk. This castle is one of the moated castles that you can find in Noord- Brabant, The Netherlands, and dates back to the 11th century.
This castle in Noord- Brabant has played an important role is several historic moments. Prince Maurits of Orange wanted to occupy the castle, but he failed both two times. His half brother succeeded the journey in 1629, so he could besiege the city of Den Bosch, or ‘s-Hertogenbosch.
In 1672, King Louis XIV was another guest on the castle of Heeswijk that wasn’t invited. By the end of the 18th century a general of the French Revolution, Pichegru, used the castle as a headquarter. After a while of destruction and no maintenance, one of the castles of Noord-Brabant had fallen into disrepair and it was bought by a governor who started renovating the castle. In my opinion, this Dutch castle is one of the most interesting castles to visit in The Netherlands, mainly because of its shape and building. It’s pretty special, to say the least.
10. Castle Fraeylemaborg
One of the best day trips from the city of Groningen is the castle of Fraeylemaborg. So if you’re looking for castles to visit in the province of Groningen, then you’ll love this. It’s one of the few remaining ‘borgen’, which is the word in Groningen for castle, in this Northern province. When visiting the North of The Netherlands visiting the best and must see Dutch castles has to be on your list.
The Fraeylemaborg can be found in the village of Slochteren and it is mostly famous for it’s estate and gardens which mostly dates back to the 19th century. The borg itself dates back from before 1300. It was first built as a fortified home which stood next to a manor house.
The estate is 31 hectares big and the style of the gardens are mainly English. When you visit this castle in Groningen you will discover the long driveway where you will see some of the gardens along the way.
There’s an interesting folktale about the Fraeylemaborg castle. People say the name comes from a noble woman who was named Elema or Aima. And a noble woman was, according to this story, indicated with the word ‘ver’. Ver Ailma borg became Fraeylemaborg. While the story sounds nice, and my feminist heart likes it very much is a castle is named after a woman, there is no evidence to be found whether this story is more than just a folktale.
11. Castle Doorwerth
The first time castle Doorwerth, in the province of Utrecht, The Netherlands was named, was back in 1260 when it was set on fire by the Lord of Vianen. While it probably wasn’t exactly the first written sentiment the castle was waiting on, it does help us know the history behind the castle. Luckily the Doorwerth castle was restored in the following 20 years.
In 1435, this Dutch castle in the province of Utrecht was expanded. One interesting thing to know is that the owners in the rest of the centuries didn’t spend much time in the castle at all, which is the only reason why this beautiful Dutch castle is still very medieval looking. The current state of the Doorwerth castle is because of the constructions of 1560. Only the the building at the gate was built in 1640. The entire castle even survived the disaster year on 1672 because of the efforts of, at that time, owner Anton van Aldenburg.
The van Aldenburgs also didn’t spend much time in the castle and it slowly got decayed. In 1837, the castle got a new owner in Jacob Adriaan Prosper and it was renovated. However, after the death of his widow, the castle turned into another construction site. Then Doorwerth got another owner, who was only interested in the castle but not in renovating this medieval structure in The Netherlands. Luckily association De Doorwerth was established to save the castle in 1909.
If you think that’s all the destruction and downfall the castle of Doorwerth in The Netherlands had to suffer, then you couldn’t be more wrong because we haven’t even talked about the Second World War yet. The castle was very heavily damaged during this war, but is completely fine nowadays as restoration was done very well.
12. Castle Doornenburg
The Doornenburg castle is yet another castle that can be found in the province of Gelderland and it is located near the village of Doornenburg. This is one of the best preserved and biggest castles of The Netherlands and it dates back to the 13th century.
In the 9th century there was a fortified house on the same location as the current castle. It was known as Villa Dorenburc. In the 13th century a small castle was created, which was constantly enlarged until the castle it is today. The front of the castle has living areas, a chapel and even a farm. Which is very unique and unlikely to find in another Dutch castle.
This beautiful castle in Gelderland was inhabited until the 19th century. It decayed rapidly after that time-period. The castle was eventually restored in 1937 and completed in 1941. Unfortunately, the Second World War completely destroyed the castle. The British bombarded the castle in March of 1945. The castle of Doornenburg, The Netherlands, rose again. As the castle was completely renovated and constructed between the years of 1947- 1968.
13. Castle Zuylen
One of my favourite reasons to visit the Zuylen castle, which is yet another castle near Utrecht and located in the province of Utrecht, is that this Dutch castle is famous for housing very strong and independent women. Think of Belle van Zuylen (1740-1805) who was a Dutch writer and composer. She wrote French letters, plays, operas, songs, short stories, pamphlets, sonatas and plenty of more. She was more educated than most men and women of that time.
The castle of Zuylen was built between 1510 and 1522 and heavily changed in 1752 by Jacob Marot. This amazing castle in The Netherlands has a 120 meters long ‘slangenmuur’, which means snake wall. This is a wall that was built to create a micro climate where tropical fruittrees could grow that otherwise would die because of the climate of The Netherlands. It was built around 1742 and is one of the few remaining ‘slangenmuren’ of The Netherlands and one of the most beautiful fruit walls of Western Europe.
Visiting castles in The Netherlands is simply one of the things you have to do in my country. Many people tend to forget about the number of Dutch castles that you can find in The Netherlands, or simply don’t know about any of them. But if you want to live your Pride and Prejudice moments in one of these castles and estates in The Netherlands, then I’m sure that you’ll love to visit all of these awesome castles in Holland and The Netherlands.