Reed Travel Features
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands -- Ask someone what first comes to mind
when they think of Holland and the answer likely will be windmills,
tulips, wooden shoes and canal houses. But castles in the
Netherlands? Clients might be surprised to learn that this country
has its share, and dozens of these well-preserved edifices are
protected under the Monuments and Historic Buildings Act in
Castles in Holland originated in the 11th and 12th centuries and
were used over the years as fortresses and private residences. Four
major types of castles appeared in the Netherlands: fortified,
status, country house and romantic.
* Fortified castles, the earliest type to surface, were used for
defensive purposes. The castles were round and consisted of a
square or rectangular tower. The few that still stand date from the
* Status castles, which began to appear after the advent of
sophisticated weapons, featured thinner walls and larger windows to
enhance the atmosphere. The status castle was built to serve as a
residence and not primarily for defense purposes.
* Country houses, which surfaced in the mid-17th century,
contained the traditional moats and forecourts but dropped the use
* The incorporation of towers in the design resurfaced with
romantic castles, which were built in the 19th and 20th centuries,
prompted by a renewed interest in the Middle Ages. As a result,
towers were added to the castles built in the 17th and 18th
centuries, and new castles were built in the old style.
Actions taken by the state and private entrepreneurs preserved
many of Holland's castles, and some have been put to modern use as
hotels, town halls, museums and schools, while others stand as
visitor attractions that provide a glimpse into the country's
Following is a small sample of some of Holland's most prominent
castles, classified by province.
* In Gelderland, the country's largest province, two noteworthy
castles are Castle Ammersoyen and Castle Cannenburch. Castle
Ammersoyen, an example of a fortified castle dating to the 14th
century, features square turrets, a moat protecting the fortress
and its original weapons. Castle Cannenburch, located in a park
near Apeldoorn, dates to the 16th century and is furnished as a
nobleman's home, with a restaurant on the grounds.
* An array of castles are sprinkled throughout the province of
Utrecht, including Castle Haar. A large medieval castle that was
transformed into a Gothic revival edifice in the 19th century,
Castle Haar boasts extensive gardens, porcelain, Chinese and
Japanese art objects, and Flemish tapestries.
For details about Holland's array of castles, call (888)