Castle Muiderslot

Located roughly ten miles southeast of the heart of Amsterdam, Castle Muiderslot is a thirteenth-century castle widely recognized as one of Europe’s most quintessentially medieval structures. This historic site has been restored meticulously, and in addition to the architectural wonders of the castle itself visitors to the attraction today will be able to enjoy a museum, multiple gardens, café, gift shop, and more.

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History of Castle Muiderslot

It’s believed that Castle Muiderslot was completed around the year 1285, built by the direction of then-Count of Holland, Floris V. Looming large near the mouth of the River Vecht, Castle Muiderslot’s location allowed Floris V to control regional trade and enforce tolls on merchant vessels moving goods along the river. The power the presence of Muiderslot permitted Floris V to exert on local affairs made him many enemies, and in 1296 he was kidnapped, imprisoned in his own castle, and eventually murdered. In the wake of his death, much of Castle Muiderslot was pillaged and destroyed, and what remained left to crumble and decay. It wasn’t until some 100 years later that another castle was built on the same spot.

The next most significant era of Muiderslot would occur in the early decades of the seventeenth century, when ownership of the castle came into the hands of the writer P.C. Hooft. Hooft would inaugurate what was arguably the golden age of the castle. He routinely invited friends—poets, musicians, philosophers, scientists, painters, and politicians—to visit the castle. This circle’s extensive parties, performances, and lively discussions garnered its participants quite the reputation, and collectively they would become known as the Muiderkring.

Castle Muiderslot Highlights

Since its thorough restoration at the close of the nineteenth century, Castle Muiderslot has become renowned as a beloved national museum. Not only is the castle itself an important historic site, but visitors touring the castle today will encounter a host of treasures including a fourteenth-century oak chest, seventeenth-century canopy bed, and numerous acclaimed paintings. Perhaps the most popular space found within the castle is the Knights’ Hall. With its high ceilings, exposed wooden beams, and whitewashed walls, this majestic space calls to mind the hospitality of the Middle Ages even as it’s adorned by a series of seventeenth-century paintings regarded as masterpieces.

The Castle Muiderslot gardens are one of the attraction’s biggest highlights. The gardens are as historic as they are beautiful, as they date back to the seventeenth century. Some of the most striking elements of the castle’s gardens are the Berceau, a long, shady tunnel made entirely out of lush green hedges; Warmoeshof, the castle’s impressive vegetable garden; Kruidhof, the attraction’s equally impressive herb garden; and a lovely Prune Orchard situated behind the castle.

Also located behind Castle Muiderslot is the Water Shield Pavilion. This underground facility serves as a kind of visitors center where you can learn even more about the castle—namely, the role water played in determining where the castle was built and defending it once it was constructed. A short movie presentation shares some additional insights, and if you’re feeling daring, at the end of everything you can even choose to pass through a real-life “water shield.”

More to See and Do at Castle Muiderslot

With its rich history and enchanting grounds, Castle Muiderslot can be a magical place to explore. To make the most of your visit, here are a few more relevant things worth knowing about.

•Castle Muiderslot offers visitors their choice of three distinctive audio guides, with each audio guide providing guests with a different tour experience. The Knight’s Route audio guide covers the castle’s primary highlights and is available in ten languages. The Tower Route focuses on how the castle defended itself from intruders during its heyday, and is the audio guide deemed most suitable for children. The Garden Tour is a smartphone-exclusive audio guide covering everything you need to know about the castle’s beautiful grounds.

•For a small additional fee, families visiting Castle Muiderslot with children 12 years old or younger can upgrade their experience by acquiring the Children’s Quest assignment from the front desk. The Children’s Quest presents your kids with a series of tasks and challenges to complete while exploring the attraction, thus keeping them engaged and entertained for the duration of their visit.

•The Museum Café is Castle Muiderslot’s go-to dining spot. The menu here includes a variety of sandwiches, beverages, snacks, desserts, and more. Visitors may enjoy their meals within the café’s seating area, in the comforts of a courtyard terrace, or within the castle’s gardens.

•The Castle Muiderslot Museum Shop sells an assortment of items perfect for souvenirs or gifts. Favorite selections here typically include books, glassware, clothing apparel, knickknacks, and garden paraphernalia.

•From live concerts to theater performances to cooking demonstrations, Castle Muiderslot regularly hosts all manner of special events. For a complete rundown of what fun and educational activities might be taking place when you’re planning to visit, be sure and check out the castle’s official website for more details ahead of your trip.

Why Castle Muiderslot Should Be on Your Must-See List

From movies to TV shows to video games and more, castles loom large today in the contemporary imagination, but how often do you actually get to visit one? Not very often, right, so don’t miss the chance to experience the real thing firsthand next time you find yourself touring Amsterdam. Whether you’re interested in the history of the Middle Ages, seventeenth-century European art, or just want to soak up some stirring Dutch scenery, Castle Muiderslot is worth the trip.