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Muiden Castle

Muiden Castle (Muiderslot) is situated on the River Vecht in the central Netherlands, town of Muiden, built around 1280. It acted as a defence post for the county of Holland, halting the territorial encroachments of the bishops of Utrecht.

Muiden Castle Architecture

Its quadrangular plan, with four corner towers and a fortified entrance, is related to such castles as Harlech, built by Edward I of England, and to the bastions built in France during the reign of Philipp II Augustus (1180–1223).

Like the older type with a donjon, this variety did not appear in the Netherlands until after 1250. Floris V, Count of Holland (1256–96), the patron of the castle, was influenced by the ideas of Edward I, with whom he was intimately associated, but Muiden also shows significant French influence.

The brick-built castle measures 32×35 m. Of the four corner towers  the western tower, the highest, is the least effective defensively as it is the least projecting. The south tower, the watch-tower, is oval in shape and therefore the strongest.

The tower walls are up to 1.5 m thick. The gateway in the middle of the east wall has machicolation with three murder holes, and the walls on the landward side have wall-walks and crenellations. The west wall-walk was restored in the 19th century. The domestic quarters, a large hall and three smaller rooms, are located on the protected river side to the north-west and north-east.

The Muiden Castle underwent long periods of neglect, and its building history is uncertain. It was probably begun between 1280 and 1284, but it may well have been razed by the Bishop of Utrecht in or shortly after 1296, when Count Floris V was murdered.

Excavation has shown that the foundations date from the late 13th century but that the walls date from after 1350; this tallies with its disappearance from written sources from 1296 until after 1364. Builders’ accounts from 1373 show that rebuilding was going on at this time. The reconstruction took place in stages.

The walls, corner towers, the gate-tower and the large hall were built first; the rooms on the east side were added c. 1385; the fortifications at the entrance in 1476. The castle was also used as a state prison, but this did not prevent the States-General from neglecting it, so that the caretakers were regularly obliged to beg for money to maintain the fabric.

In the early 19th century the castle ceased to have an official function, but although it became extremely dilapidated the state did not grant any money for restoration until 1863. The first restoration period (1895–1909) was originally supervised by P. J. H. Cuypers and later by J. W. H. Berden.

The latter, in particular, believed that the building must conform to the idealized image of a medieval castle, so that many post-1500 features were destroyed, including the entrance portal giving on to the courtyard, which had been built between 1609 and 1647, when the castle caretaker was P. C. Hooft, the poet and historian.

The portal was, however, restored during the second period (1956–1972), when many architectural details from both before and after 1500 were returned as close as possible to their original state, in an attempt to do justice to all the castle’s architectural phases.

Muiden Castle is now a museum.

Muiden Castle Photos

 Muiden Castle
Muiden Castle

Muiden Castle painting
Muiden Castle painting (Atlas van Loon)

Tower of Muiden Castle
Muiden  Castle Tower

Muiden Castle, Painting of the Muiderkring
Muiden Castle - Painting of the Muiderkring (a group of artists who regularly met at the  Castle of Muiden in the later half of the 17th century)

Muiden Castle Map&Location

Address: Muiderslot, Herengracht 1, 1398 AA Muiden, Netherlands. Get help with directions:

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