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Castle Duurstede – History and Visitor Information

Castle Duurstede - Outside View 3

Castle Duurstede is a 13th century medieval castle in Wijk bij Duustede, which is in the Utrecht province of the Netherlands. The castle has been featured in a variety of film and television shows, including Bassie en Adriaan, Het Monster van Toth and De Diamant.

Castle Duurstede History

Castle Duurstede - insideThe castle started out as a freestanding keep built in 1270 by Zweder I van Zuylen van Abcoude. Naturally, it used as a military building and boasted a height of 11 meters with walls that were 2.5 meters thick. A moat surrounded the keep, making it a superior defensive structure. The castle remained in the Van Zuylen van Abcoude family until the 15th century when the bishops of Utrecht forced the family to sell the structure to them. They remained in possession of the keep until 1580.

While the bishops were in possession of the castle, Bishop David of Burgundy rebuilt the structure completely. A burgundian tower was constructed and new buildings were added. An extra floor and a new residential wing that included a Great Hall were also added. The successors of David of Burgundy also used the castle as a residence. New renaissance features were added by Philip of Burgundy. Upon his death, Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor took control of the castle.

In 1580, the castle was taken over by the States of Utrecht after the Dutch Revolt. Modern fortification was built around Wijk bij Duurstede, which meant that Castle Duurstede would fall into neglect. When the French troops devastated many Dutch castles in 1672, Duurstede suffered greatly. The people of the town used the castle’s stone to rebuild their homes after the raids.

Castle Duurstede - Outside View 2The town council would eventually regain ownership of the castle in 1852. At this time, they turned the surrounding fortifications into a park. The castle was only accessible via a small ferry until 1925.

Today, the castle is used as a catering firm and the burgundian tower has been restored. The castle is still surrounded by a moat to this day and can only be accessed through the drawbridge. Special events are held at the castle throughout the year and Duurstede can be rented for weddings, parties and other special events. Businesses regularly host events and workshops at the castle because of its unique location and picturesque setting. At this time, Castle Duurstede is not open to the public for touring. However, if you are visiting Wijk bij Duustede, it is well worth the trip just to see the enchanting castle.

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