September 6, 2012

Muiden Castle

Muiden Castle, also known as Muiderslot, is one of the better known castles in the Netherlands. It is located at the mouth of the river Vecht, some 15 kilometers southeast of Amsterdam, in Muiden, where it flows into what used to be the Zuiderzee. It is a relatively small castle, measuring 32 by 35 metres with brick walls well over 1.5 metres thick. A large moat surrounded the castle.
Author    Edi Weissmann from Amsterdam, Netherlands, License
Name: Muiden Castle

Country: Netherlands
Province: North Holland
City: Muiden

Type: Water castle
Material: Brick 
Start of construction:1370

Condition:  opened to the public

The history of the Muiderslot begins in 1280, when Count Floris V of Holland built a stone castle on this site to control the estuary of the river Vecht into the former Zuidersea. The River Vecht was the trade route to Utrecht, one of the most important trade towns of that age. The castle was used to collect a tribute on the traders. In 1296 Floris was abducted by rebelling noblemen and was held prisoner in Muiden Castle. They fled under the threat of a siege in the direction of Utrecht, taking Floris with them. During their escape they murdered Floris with their swords. Taking into account the death of Count Floris, and the fact that in the castle was not his immediate successor (son of Count Floris was in England), the castle was besieged by Willem van Mechelen, bishop of Utrecht. After seizing the castle he destroyed it.

A hundred years later, in 1370, the castle was rebuilt on the same spot based on the same plan, by Albrecht, Duke of Bavaria, who at that time was also the Count of Holland and Zeeland.

Attribution: Donar Reiskoffer,   License
One of the most well-known inhabitants of the castle was P.C. Hooft (1581-1647), a Dutch writer, poet and historian. He lived here between 1609 and 1647 and performed the duties of sheriff and bailiff for the area.  During his occupation of the castle he entertained a lot of famous friends there; all writers, scholars and artists, like Hugo de Groot (who was later held prisoner in Loevestein Castle), Constantijn Huygens and Joost van den Vondel. He and his company would later be named after the castle; the Muider Circle. In the last part of the 17th century the castle was incorporated into a new and enlarged earthwork fortress which made the castle an important stronghold in the Old Holland Waterline and later also in the New Holland Waterline (both lines of defensive works using water throughout the western part of Holland).
At the end of the 18th century, the castle was first used as a prison, then the castle had fallen into decay and in 1825 plans were made to demolish the castle and sell the stones. Only intervention by King William I (after some protest) prevented this. This saved the castle.  Another 70 years went by until enough money for restoring was gathered and in 1895 the castle was restored in its former glory.
From 1948 till 1972 the castle again underwent restorations, removing some fantasized additions from the earlier restoration. Muiden Castle is currently a national museum (Rijksmuseum). The insides of the castle, its rooms and kitchens, have been restored. And today their interior is furnished as it was in the 17th century. In the castles there are  also collection of arms and armour.

In the preparation of this article, were partially used materials of websites: and

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