Castle Loevestein (Dutch: Slot Loevestein) was built by Knight Dirc Loef van Horne. The name of the castle roughly translates to “Loef’s stone house.” While the exact date of the castle’s construction is unknown, the medieval structure was believed to have been built between 1357 and 1397. Up until World War II, the castle belonged to the Nieuwe Hollandse Waterlinie. Today, it serves as a museum and can also be rented out for special events.
The History of Castle Loevestein
The building site of Castle Loevestein was a strategic one. It was built in the middle of the Netherlands and right where the Waal and Maas rivers meet. It began as a simple construction that was used to collect tolls from trading ships traversing the rivers. During the 16th century, the modest structure was expanded into a large fortress. Stone bastions were also added as well as two moats and residential quarters for soldiers and a commander.
Ownership of the castle went back and forth between the Dutch and the Spanish until 1572 when the castle landed back in the Dutch hands and remained there until this day. In 1619, the castle was used to house political prisoners. The famous Hugo de Groot, known as the father of international law, was imprisoned here. Hugo was serving a life sentence when he managed to escape the prison through a book chest. After his daring escape, he became the Swedish Ambassador to France and served for 10 years.
Visiting Castle Loevestein
Castle Loevestein is open to the general public and can be toured without a guide during opening hours. The castle’s museum features three important eras in the structure’s history: the Middle Ages, the State Prison period and the Dutch Waterline period. Many of the castle’s famous prisoners are also highlighted.
Visitors are free to tour the fortress. Admission prices to enter the castle are as follows:
- Children 3 years of age and younger: Free
- Children aged 4 – 18: € 8
- Adults: € 11
The castle features a tavern, gift shop and information center in the former soldiers’ houses. Visitors can also choose to stay in the castle with comfortable accommodations available throughout the year. Special events are held at the castle throughout the year, including the Winterfeest celebration during the holiday season. Opening hours will vary throughout the year, so be sure to visit the Castle Loevestein website for the latest information.
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