The Dutch city of Amsterdam is one of the most culturally rich and historically fascinating cities in the entirety of Europe. The city itself is lined with colorful and unique buildings that tower above the abundance of canals, that are filled with cyclists, curious tourists, and a plethora of quirky and independent shops, bars and cafes. Yet, outside of the city center lies another layer of history, in the form of historic castles; if you are someone that loves a city-break, but after a while feels the need to spread your wings and explore something a little different, Amsterdam is the perfect location to visit, at any time of the year. This list will highlight the best castles near to Amsterdam, their key points of interest, as well as practical information, such as location and opening times.
10 castles to visit near Amsterdam
Situated in the Utrecht region of the Netherlands, just a stone’s throw away from the scenic village of Haarzuilens lies the stunning Castle de Haar. Like many European castles, an earlier castle existed on the site of the current castle, with the oldest historical record dating back to the year 1391; in this year, the De Haar family acquired the castles, and remained under their control until 1449, where the last heir died, with no children. The castle was then given to the Van Zuylen family, and it remained under their possession for centuries. Many visitors travel to this castle to admire its beautiful and grand interiors, that bear many similarities to a Roman Catholic church, with its bold and rich colors and textures.
Where: Haarzuilens, the Netherlands
Open for visit: 10:00am – 17:00pm
2. Zuylen Castle
Zuylen Castle is a historic castle located in the village of Oud-Zuilen, which is nearby to the city of Utrecht; it is situated upon the beautiful Vecht River, which provides gorgeous surrounding scenery, making a wonderful setting and atmosphere. Zuylen Castle was originally constructed in the 13th century, by the decree of Lord van Suilen en Anholt, and it was built initially as a simple donjon. Later, in approximately the year 1422, during the Hook and Cod Wars, the castle was destroyed entirely, and it was not rebuilt until 1510, in the Renaissance style. Centuries later, in 1752, the castle underwent another rebuild, which would be its last one. Today, the castle is open to the public, and it is visited by many tourists each year.
Where: Oud-Zuilen, the Netherlands
When: 13th century
Open for visit: 9:30am – 16:00pm
3. Castle Groeneveld
The incredible and architectural magnificent Groeneveld Castle is an 18th-century country estate, that is located nearby to the town of Baarn, which is only a short distance away from the hustle and bustle of Amsterdam, but it feels a million miles away in terms of atmosphere. The castle was built by the decree of Marcus Mamuchet in the year 1703, as a place for him to escape to in the summer months, away from the madness of Amsterdam. After he died, the castle was passed over to Lucas van der Dussen, who expanded the castle by adding two semi-circular wings. Today, the castle has stunning gardens, designed in the English landscape style.
Where: Baarn, the Netherlands
Open for visit: 9:00am – 16:00pm
4. Trompenburgh Castle
Built in the 17th century and designed by Daniel Stalpaert for the Admiral Maarten Tromp, Trompenburgh Castle is an architectural gem and defines the contemporary design of the time in which it was built. What makes Trompenburgh Castle unique is the fact that it is nearly completely surrounded by water, with the intention of it resembling a ship; it also has decks and railings to add to this feel. Before the current castle, an earlier one existed, that had been built in 1654 by Andries Bicker, though all of the furnishings and decorations that had been lovingly added to the castle were looted and burned by the French troops during the rampjaar of 1672.
Where: ‘S-Graveland, the Netherlands
When: 17th century
Open for visit: 10:00am – 16:00pm
5. Castle Loenersloot
Perched upon the left bank of the river Angstel lies the stunning and historic Castle Loenersloot; the first mention of this castle dates back to the year 1258, where parts of the castle were built by the noble Loenersloot family, who were a crucial part of society during the 12th century. Later, in the year 1516, the castle was purchased by Amelis van Amstel van Mijnden, who left the castle to his son after he died, and it remained in the hands of the family until the 17th century. The castle is a built in traditional Dutch Renaissance style, and captures the glory of the era; today, the castle is open to the public, but there is limited access, as it remains today as a private residence.
Where: Loenersloot, the Netherlands
Open for visit: Access is limited due to its status as a private residence
Situated upon the Vecht River, and approximately 15 kilometers away from the buzz of Amsterdam, lies Muiderslot, or otherwise known as Muiden Castle. The castle’s history began in the year 1280, where an original stone castle was built upon the river; it was situated in an important position for trading routes to the city of Utrecht, and the castle was used to give tolls to passing traders During the 14th century, the castle was rebuilt, as it had been destroyed in 1300 after it was conquered by Willem van Mechelen, the Archbishop of Utrecht. Later, in the 18th century, the castle was used as a prison, before becoming derelict; today, the castle is used as a museum that houses an array of different artifacts and historical items.
Where: Muiden, the Netherlands
Open for visit: 10:00am – 17:00pm
7. Castle Keukenhof
Translating into English as ‘Kitchen garden’, Castle Keukenhof, is also sometimes known as the Garden of Europe, due to its large grounds that are filled to the brim with an abundance of beautiful flowers. The castle is built upon the hunting grounds of Slot Teylingen that date back to the 15th century and was previously inhabited by the famous Countess Jacoba van Beieren, who lived between 1401 and 1436. Later, in the year 1638, the castle and its grounds were purchased by Adriaen Maertensz Block, who built the manor that exists today. The castle is a popular site to visit for those visiting Amsterdam, and who seek to escape to something that feels a little bit more in line with the natural world.
Where: Lisse, the Netherlands
When: 15th century
Open for visit: 9:00am – 16:00pm
8. Brederode Castle
Otherwise known as the Ruins of Brederode, Brederode Castle, is situated near to Santpoort-Zuid. It was originally founded during the second half of the 13th century and was founded by William I van Brederode, who descended from the Lord van Teyllingen. In 1351, the castle was invaded by Gijsbrecht van Nijenrode, and it fell into disrepair due to damages inflicted upon it during the conflict. The castle was later rebuilt in the year 1354 and played a pinnacle role in the military events f the following centuries. Today, many visitors head to Brederode Castle to marvel at the beautiful ruins and sense of history that is present at the site.
Where: Santpoort-Zuid, the Netherlands
When: 13th century
Open for visit: 10:00am – 15:00pm
9. Loevestein Castle
The beautiful Loevestein Castle is a medieval castle that is located in the municipality of Zaltbommel, which is in the Gelderland region of the Netherlands, only a short distance away from Amsterdam. The castle was originally built by Dirc Loef van Horne, who was a medieval knight; right up until the Second World War, the castle belonged to the Hollandic Water Line, which was the primary defense line that centered on flooding. The castle has had a rich and expansive history, spanning across several centuries, with a range of different owners and stories to tell; today, a museum is housed at the site, that gives visitors a deeper insight into the heritage.
Where: Zaltbommel, the Netherlands
Open for visit: 9:00am – 16:30pm
10. Castle Woerden
Castle Woerden, or as it is locally known, Kasteel van Woerden, is located in the Utrecht region of the Netherlands. The castle that stands today dates back to approximately the year 1407, which was built by Jan van Beijeren, who was the Bishop of Liege; this castle took the place of an earlier existing castle, that was built in 1159 by the Bishop of Utrecht, as a defense structure against the County of Holland. The castle changed its shape, style and purpose over the years; for example, in the 19th century, it was used as a prison, and in the 20th century, it was part of military barracks and was used as a storage unit. Today, the castle is open to the public.
Where: Woerden, the Netherlands
Open for visit: 9:00am – 17:00pm