This is said to be the most famous castle in the Netherlands. That will come as a surprise to most tourists, who will likely not have realised that Holland even had any castles. Loevestein Castle will intrigue and delight and have visitors wanting to learn more about the history of this relatively undiscovered region of Gelderland.
Loevestein Castle’s rich history spans some 650 turbulent years. The most prominent time is the period when it acted as the State Prison. Ironically that celebrity is due to an inmate who actually escaped! One would likely not appreciate its colourful past when one arrives, to see sheep grazing on its grassy and peaceful fortifications.
Stone bastions, moats, an arsenal
Loevestein is a castle surrounded by water. It was built between 1357 and 1368. Its location was strategic for the protection of the Netherlands. It is where the Maas and Waal rivers meet in Gelderland. Initially it was a plain brick building from where tolls were levied from trading vessels using the two rivers. By 1372, the castle was the property of the Counts of Holland. In the 16th century it was enlarged to become a fortress surrounded by earthworks, with stone bastions, moats, an arsenal, and housing for officers and soldiers.
From 1619 the castle became a jail for political prisoners, one of whom was the lawyer and politician Hugo de Groot who is considered to be the “father of modern international law”. His wife Maria van Reigersberch, stayed with him for his controversial confinement at the castle.
A learned man, Hugo had a chest of books frequently delivered to his rooms. He would read the books and return them in the same chest, exchanging them for more volumes. This aided his eventual escape when his wife hid him in the chest, which was carried out of the castle. Hugo de Groot subsequently became the Swedish Ambassador to France for 10 years.
Perfect holiday hub
This marvellous historic building houses not only a museum and a tavern but also accommodation. Yes, one can actually stay at Loevestein Castle. Visitors are able to book a restaurant table in the nearby town and enjoy a water-taxi ride to and from their evening destination. There are plenty of beautiful country walks in the area, so the castle makes a perfect holiday hub. Children will be transported to a time when knights passed through these striking rooms. Older visitors will welcome the tranquillity of a couple of days in such a noteworthy monument to the rich and surprising heritage of the Netherlands.
Castle opening hours, apart from National Holidays:
January – February: Saturday & Sunday 11 am – 4 pm
March – April: Saturday & Sunday 11 am – 5 pm
May – September: Tuesday – Sunday 11 am – 5 pm
July – August: Monday – Sunday 11 am – 5 pm
October: Saturday & Sunday 11 am – 5 pm
November – December: Saturday & Sunday 11 am – 4 pm
5307 TG Poederoijen
Phone: +31 (0)183 447171
Visit Loevestein Castle here https://www.slotloevestein.nl/en/
For travel with DFDS:
Travel with car:
Prices for travel with DFDS from Dover to Calais are from £49 each way, or from Dover to Dunkirk are from £45 each way, for a car with a maximum of nine people.
Prices for travel with a motorhome and up to nine people on DFDS’ Dover to France service start from £57 each way. For customers travelling with a car and caravan, prices start from £80 each way.
All ships in the modern fleet feature a premium lounge, which can be booked for an additional £12 per person each way. The lounge provides a quiet space with free newspapers, fresh fruit, pastries and petits-fours, soft drinks and a glass of Prosecco upon arrival.
Prices vary in line with demand and are subject to change.
Crossings on the Dover-Calais route take 90 minutes each way and Dover-Dunkirk sailings are two hours. Customers should check in at least 45 minutes before their scheduled sailing time, or 60 minutes prior during busy periods.