The ruins as drawn around 1647 by R. Roghman

A little history

The foundation of the castle is probably situated somewhere in the 14th century, the name of its builder lost in time. Its first appearance was a rectangular keep on a moated square islet. In its second building phase between 1275 and 1325 it was added with a kitchenwing. In 1329 the castle was called 'Huis te Schoten' as it was situated next to a hamlet called Schoten. The city of Haarlem was much smaller then and the castle lay a couple of kilometers outside its citywalls.

In 1403 the castle was handed over to Margaretha van Kleef, Countess of Holland. This probably gave the castle its present name.

Around 1500 the castle came into the possession of the Van Brederode family (also the owners of Brederode Castle) who mainly used the castle as a countryhouse.

In the beginning of the 16th century the Netherlands came under Spanish rule and in 1566 the Spanish king Philip II prescribed Catholicism as the only official religion. This met much resistance and in 1567 the Duke of Alva was sent to the Netherlands to restore order. At the time Protestant services were regularly held at Huis ter Kleef Castle. Margaretha van Parma, the, by Philip II, appointed governess of the Netherlands, confiscated the castle from its owner; Hendrik van Brederode, because of this.

Under the rule of Alva the persecution of heretics was intensified which caused the city of Haarlem to resist against the Spanish occupation. This led to the siege of Haarlem by the Spanish army. Huis ter Kleef Castle was made a headquarter for the Spanish army commander Don Frederick, son of Alva, during that siege. After he had defeated and taken the city of Haarlem he left the castle. To prevent future use of the castle by rebels, he blew up the castle with gunpowder. This left the castle as a ruin. It was never rebuild.

In the following centuries the castle ruins were used as a quarry for cheap building materials, especially after a large fire had gutted the city of Haarlem in 1576. In 1715 the castle remains were bought by the city of Haarlem but this didn't stop the ruins from crumbling away.

In 1990-1994 archeological excavations were carried out. These revealed a variety of finds and a considerable part of standing walls. These walls were visible until the end of 2000 when most of these walls were buried under a new covering of soil to preserve them.

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Location and contact information

On a small islet in the garden of the Nature and Environment Centre at Kleverlaan 9 in Haarlem.
The garden is freely accessible but the islet is fenced off.

Huis ter Kleef Castle Links

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