When talking about medieval castles, like most people, the Netherlands did not instantly spring to our minds, but digging a little deeper, we were surprised to discover that there are over 1,000 castles in the Netherlands!
Reading about them had us wondering how the Netherlands, or even the whole of Europe, could have endured centuries of wars, conflict, human suffering, and destruction and emerge with so many elegant and beautiful buildings and monuments still standing from that period.
We were so fascinated, we thought you would be too. So we compiled a short list of some of the most impressive castles in the Netherlands.
We hope you enjoy reading and learning about these places as much as we did.
19 Most Beautiful Castles in the Netherlands
Here are 19 of the most beautiful Dutch castles to visit while in the Netherlands. Oh, and if you’re wondering what it is like to sleep in a castle, you will want to book a night or two in one of these castle hotels in the Netherlands.
1. Muiden Castle (Muiderslot)
Located on the mouth of the River Vecht in North Holland, 10 miles southeast of Amsterdam, Muiden Castle is one of the most beautiful medieval castles in Holland, let alone in the Netherlands.
The current fortress was built during the 14th century on the ruins of an earlier castle that had been destroyed.
It is surrounded by beautiful gardens and a moat with a drawbridge, along with its tall conical towers, giving it a romantic look in contrast to its turbulent past.
Muiderslot Castle has been used as a backdrop for numerous films and television programs.
Today, it serves as a national museum, with each room containing furnishings, decorations, utensils, armor, and weaponry of the 17th century.
Halls and rooms are also hired out for private functions, providing a special medieval charm.
Check out the De Stenen Beer Dam nearby, which was used to flood the area around the castle to defend it from invaders.
2. De Haar Castle (Kasteel De Haar)
A little to the south, on the outskirts of Utrecht, lies one of the most luxurious castles in the Netherlands.
Spread over 135 acres of land, it is also the largest of all Dutch castles.
Kasteel De Haar may look medieval, but it was actually built in a Neo-gothic style between 1892 and 1912 on the ruins of an earlier 14th-century castle.
Its tall steep conical towers, defensive turrets, gates, suspension bridges, and moats provide all the elements of a fairy tale castle.
The magnificent gardens, with their ponds, canals, maze, and deer farm, surrounding the castle, are the ideal spot to enjoy a picnic surrounded only by rich history and nature.
The interior of this castle complex is absolutely breathtaking, with each room lavishly decorated and furnished with true medieval grandeur.
Used as a residential home, it has hosted many of Hollywood’s elite over the years, the likes of Coco Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Brigitte Bardot, and Roger Moore, the coolest Bond ever.
Read next: 19 Largest Castles in the World
3. Doornenburg Castle (Kasteel Doornenburg)
Located near the Dutch village of Doornenburg in the eastern Netherlands, this is one of the best-preserved castles in the Netherlands.
Originally built during the 9th century, it underwent numerous extensions before reaching its current form in the 16th century. It fell into disrepair from the 18th century until it was restored in the 20th century, shortly before WWII.
Turned into German headquarters during the occupation, it was heavily bombed by the allies during the Battle of Arnhem and also blown up by the retreating Germans. It was restored yet again in the 1960s to its original medieval design.
A tour through the castle will give a glimpse of medieval life, with guides dressed in period clothing, making it a truly authentic experience.
If anything looks familiar, it may be because it was set in the television series “Floris” starring Rutger Hauer.
4. Doorwerth Castle (Kasteel Doorwerth)
Moving a little to the west of Arnhem, outside Doorwerth Village, this castle’s origins date back to the 13th century, making it one of the oldest castles in the Netherlands.
Throughout its war-torn history, it has been besieged, damaged, burned down, and restored numerous times whilst changing many hands.
Being close to Arnhem proved fatal as it was heavily bombed during WWII before finally being restored to its former 18th-century glory as recently as 1983.
Today, it houses three museums, with each room richly decorated and furnished with a fine collection of paintings, utensils, tools, weaponry, and hunting trophies.
The castle is also haunted, with some previous owners of long ago, still walking around scaring people.
He was murdered by his bride on his honeymoon night after winning her hand in marriage in a duel with her fiancée. I don’t think she had agreed to the duel terms!
5. Radboud Castle (Kasteel Radboud)
Built on the east bank of Medemblik Harbor around the 13th century by Floris V, Count of Holland, this quaint castle is in a most beautiful setting, completely surrounded by water.
Through the centuries, it has fallen into decay and was restored several times, having served as a military fort, prison, refuge for the locals, a church, and a courthouse.
Today, the museum holds ever-changing and interactive exhibitions reflecting life during the middle ages, much of them being focused on children.
Artifacts and weaponry are on show allowing children to wear suits of armor and experience what it was like being a knight.
Stunning views of the castle, the coastline, and the picturesque Dutch town can be enjoyed from the battlement walls.
Art lovers will appreciate that the famous “Night watch” by Rembrandt was stored here before being moved to a secret bunker to evade the clutches of the invading Germans in 1939.
6. Ammersoyen Castle (Kasteel Ammersoyen)
Situated 45 miles southwest of Arnhem in the Dutch village of Ammerzoden is a most gorgeous castle with a long, violent history. It’s a wonder that anything is still standing.
Originally built during the 14th century, it was damaged by civil war, Spanish armies, and fire and was only spared from being overrun by the French armies in 1672 by bribing their commander.
Like many historical places in the Netherlands, it was heavily bombed during WWII. Having changed hands and restored numerous times, the last being in 1972, to its medieval design.
Today it is in a tranquil setting completely surrounded by a moat and has a treasure trove of artifacts, armor, and furnishings, reflecting its long history.
7. Duurstede Castle (Kasteel Duurstede)
It’s a great pity that this fairy-tale-looking castle is hardly open to the public these days but is available for hire for weddings and other special events.
Situated in the small town of Wijk Bij Duurstede, about 15 miles southwest of Utrecht, it was originally built as a fortress in the 13th century.
Over the ages, it has been damaged, confiscated, extended, and rebuilt while changing hands several times along the way.
The square tower known as the “Donjon” dates to the 13th century, while the 130-foot tall round Burgundian Tower goes back to the 15th century.
Today this castle stands in a most serene setting, in the middle of a lake surrounded by a beautiful park.
It’s accessible by a drawbridge, and when the gates are open, visitors may explore the inner courtyard.
Read next: 21 Things The Netherlands Is Known For
8. Loevestein Castle (Slot Loevestein)
Strategically situated where the Waal and Maas rivers meet, it was originally built there during the 14th century by knight Dirk Loef to toll ships trading along the rivers.
It was later expanded into a fortress, becoming part of the Hollandic Water Line.
It has seen its fair share of war, having been taken by the Spanish and retaken by the Dutch during the 16th century.
It has served as a military garrison and prison, its most famous prisoner being the lawyer and politician Hugo de Groot, for his involvement in a theological dispute.
Being served a life sentence for his “sins,” he escaped by hiding in a book chest, which is displayed in the castle.
The castle museum contains accounts and exhibits of its fascinating history, while the surrounding landscape is teeming with water birds and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site—the perfect background to this picturesque and historical landmark.
9. Duivenvoorde Castle (Kasteel Duivenvoorde)
Situated on the northern outskirts of The Hague, Duivenvoorde Castle must be amongst the most picturesque of all Netherlands castles.
Not your traditional military-looking fortress but more of a grand manor house, set in a picturesque park with lush greenery, stream, fountains, and ponds. The perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.
Built during the 13th century, it is one of the oldest castles in the Netherlands, with extensive refurbishments taking place through the ages.
Every room is lavishly decorated as they were during the 16th and 17th centuries giving you a sense of the people who once lived there.
The splendor of the interior can only be viewed through guided tours from April to October, but the gardens remain open all year round.
10. Heeswijk Castle (Kasteel Heeswijk)
Situated in the small town of Heeswijk-Dinther, 20 miles north of Eindhoven in North Brabant, the origins of this gorgeous castle date back to the 11th century, followed by many extensions and improvements in various architectural designs right up to the 1960s.
Having a fascinating and eventful history filled with sieges and battles, Heeswijk Castle has changed hands several times and hosted many prominent figures, none more so than Louis the XIV, the Sun King himself, in 1672.
Every room in the castle oozes elegance, filled with stunning furniture, paintings, and wonderful ornaments of centuries gone by.
The courtyard, moat, and immense park that surround it are an absolute delight.
If you’re into WWII stuff, there’s a memorial stone outside this historic castle honoring the US paratroopers that landed here during Operation Market Garden.
11. Hoensbroek Castle (Kasteel Hoensbroek)
Hidden in the southeast corner of the Netherlands, Hoensbroek Castle is not only one of the most beautiful and ornately decorated but also one of the largest castles in the Netherlands.
Built in the 14th century on the site of an earlier structure in a strategic location, it has undergone several extensions over the centuries in various architectural styles.
The tall round tower is the oldest part, dating back to 1360. Each room is furnished as if people are still living in it as they did in the medieval period.
There are several interactive displays, and you can also watch a short film on the history of the castle.
The entire complex is surrounded by a moat and is accessible by a bridge, giving it a nostalgic look. A real gem.
12. Valkenburg Castle (Kasteel Valkenburg)
Just a few miles southwest stand the ruins of the only hilltop castle in the Netherlands.
These ruins are stark reminders of the Netherlands’ and Europe’s violent past, lasting centuries.
The first castle was built around the 12th century but was destroyed and rebuilt several times until the advent of cannons and firepower, used during the “Eighty Year War” in the 16th and 17th centuries, spelled the end of this fortress.
The ruins are accessible through a steep flight of stairs, but you can save your knees by taking the lift.
The top offers incredible 360° views of the quaint town way down below and the Dutch countryside in the background.
Don’t forget to visit the intricate network of passages that lie beneath the ruins, known as “The Velvet Caves.”
13. Rosendael Castle (Kasteel Rosendael)
Situated on the outskirts of Arnhem, the original castle was built around 1300 as a military stronghold.
Over the years, it has suffered two devastating fires and fallen into disrepair, and it was also extensively damaged during WWII.
It has been repeatedly restored, and today it resembles more of a grand 16th-century residential manor than the traditional fortress it once was.
The interior is beautifully preserved and furnished with many historical pieces and a vast collection of silver, porcelain, and rare artworks.
The park on the castle grounds surrounding the complex is simply superb, with lush landscaped gardens, a chain bridge, a shell collection, and the famous fountain known as “De Bedriegertjes.”
14. Huis Bergh Castle (Kasteel Huis Bergh)
Situated in the central Netherlands, touching the German border, is another of those Dutch castles that started off as a mighty fortress and ended up as a peaceful venue for weddings and special functions.
It was originally built during the 13th century, although most of what we see today dates between the 1400s and 1700s.
The beautifully restored interior is known for its collection of rare medieval and early Italian artworks and suits of armor and weaponry from the middle ages.
The moat and beautiful park surrounding the complex are a joy to wander around and get stunning views of the castle.
15. Huis Doorn Castle (Kasteel Huis Doorn)
A few miles east of Utrecht in the small town of Doorn, this was the last residence of exiled German Emperor Wilhelm II.
While living there, he would chop down trees as a form of exercise, stripping the forest bare, earning the nickname “The Woodchopper of Doorn.”
He died in the house and was buried in a maroon coffin above the ground in a mausoleum in the garden.
Huis Doorn was built during the 13th century but destroyed and rebuilt in the 14th century before being finally rebuilt to its current form in the 19th century.
After WWII, the Dutch government reclaimed the house and has been opened it to the public in the state it was left by the late emperor.
It houses a magnificent collection of paintings, tapestries, silver and porcelain artworks, and military uniforms, some of which once belonged to Frederick the Great.
16. Helmond Castle (Kasteel Helmond)
Situated in the center of Helmond, a few miles east of Eindhoven, Helmond Castle was constructed around 1325.
It stayed intact until a fire almost destroyed it in 1549 and was privately owned until restored and handed over to the municipality to be used as the town office. It is now a beautiful museum and a wedding venue.
The original design incorporated two moats, but only one remains today, making it one of the largest moated castles in the Netherlands.
The museum has a wonderful collection of artworks, clothes, and weapons used during the middle ages, with huge interactive displays focusing on children and adults.
Kids get to dress up as knights and ladies and play exciting games, learning about medieval life.
A wonderful place to combine history, culture, and a bit of fun for the whole family.
Read next: 17 Impressive Gothic Castles
17. Zuylen Castle (Kasteel Zuylen)
One of the most beautiful castles in the Netherlands stands just north of Utrecht along the Vecht River.
The first castle was built in the 13th century but was destroyed in 1422 during the “Hook and Cod Wars” (an internal Dutch squabble that had nothing to do with the fish).
It was rebuilt and modified over the next two centuries, turned into a grand manor house during the 18th century, and has remained that way ever since.
It contains a collection of furnishings, artworks, books, porcelain, and the finest tapestries of its time. Each room transports you back to the 18th century.
The English-style gardens encircling the manor with their stunning “serpentine wall” are too beautiful for words.
18. Ruurlo Castle (Kasteel Ruurlo)
Standing in the small village of Ruurlo, in Eastern Netherlands, is one of those Netherlands castles dating back to the 14th century.
Strangely, very little is known of its background, except that most of what we have today indicates it’s from the 16th or 17th centuries.
Set in the middle of a gorgeous lake surrounded by lush, beautifully manicured gardens with water features and winding paths, it stands amongst the prettiest of all Dutch castles.
It is accessed by a bridge made of steel and glass, illuminated with LED lights, a most modern design, totally contrasting the classic features of the imposing 16th-century castle.
The interior is decorated with intricately laid floors and stylish ceilings and holds the largest collection of art of the famous Dutch artist Carel Willink.
Inspired by the works of Picasso, he developed a unique style he referred to as “imaginary realism.”
19. Het Loo Palace (Paleis Het Loo)
We have saved the best for last! Often referred to as “The Versailles of Holland,” Paleis Het Loo has to be the most lavish and beautiful of all castles in the Netherlands.
Located in the Dutch city of Apeldoorn, in the central Netherlands, Het Loo Palace was built in the late 17th century for William of Orange and his wife, Mary II, king and queen of England.
It remained in the monarchy’s hands until the death of Queen Wilhelmina in 1962 and is now owned by the State.
The palace and gardens are just magnificent, with every room screaming kings and queens living here.
Built in Dutch Baroque architecture, the palace is jam-packed with elaborate and original furniture, paintings, and historical objects, while the gardens are immaculately manicured in perfect symmetry, dotted with fountains and statues.
A short walk will lead to the “stables,” housing a fleet of royal carriages and antique cars.
You could easily spend a full day here and not see everything. Opulence at its very finest!
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