Updated:
29-mar-2012



I visited this castle in 2002.

Woerden Castle, locally known as Kasteel van Woerden, lies in the city of Woerden, in the province of Utrecht in the Netherlands.

Woerden Castle was preceded by an earlier castle build in 1159 by the bishop of Utrecht to defend his bishopric against the County of Holland. The present castle dates back to 1407 when it was build by Jan van Beijeren, bishop of Luik.

The castle was built only for military purposes and was never used as a nobleman's residence. So in some places the walls are over 3,5 meter thick to withstand enemy fire. There are also artillery corridors under the castle which are unique in the Netherlands. With the passing of the centuries however the military threat diminished, so, at some point in time, the towers were dismantled and they are now only half their original height.

When in 1672 the French invaded the Netherlands, destroying many castles on their path, they also tried to blow up Woerden Castle. This was however prevented by the people of Woerden who stole the fuse before they could ignite the gunpowder.

Until the 19th century the castle was used as a prison. There's even a pit prison in the northwest tower, which was used for unruly prisoners.
In the 20th century the castle was part of military barracks and used for storage of all kinds of goods but poorly maintained. This caused severe decay.

In 1989 the castle was thoroughly renovated and in the 1990's it was hired by an ICT company who used it as an office. Some years ago this firm had moved out due to financial troubles and the castle was, once again, put up for hire. It has now been renovated and serves as a restaurant and conference location.

The castle can be visited as guest of the restaurant, which has its own website at Grand Kasteel Woerden.

Its exact location is at Kasteel 1 in Woerden.

Below an 17th century drawing of Woerden Castle, made by A. Rademaker, from, more or less, the same viewpoint as the picture above.

The great hall still filled with the design furniture of the departed ICT company. All rooms were, more or less, furnished like this. I found it rather suitable for such a building.

The southern artillery corridor.

A plan of the castle. In the top left tower you can see the prison cells and in the bottom right tower the pit prison.

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