A little history
Muiden Castle is probably the castle that receives the most visitors in all of the Netherlands. This
is not only because it's a popular destination for a lot of school trips, due to its importance in
Dutch history, but also because of its proximity to Amsterdam which attracts most foreign tourists.
The first castle on this site was built around 1280 by Count Floris V of Holland, to control the estuary
of the river Vecht into the former Zuidersea. And undoubtedly it would also have been used to raise
toll from passing ships on the river Vecht, as this river flowed through the territory of the bishops
of Utrecht; opponents of Floris.
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 flight
they murdered Floris with their swords. Taking advantage of Floris death, there being no immediate
successor and Floris' son being in England, Willem van Mechelen, bishop of Utrecht besieged Muiden Castle.
After seizing the castle he destroyed it.
It was not until 1370 that the present Muiden Castle was built, on the foundations of the first castle,
by Duke Albrecht, Count of Holland. Muiden Castle was built as a square castle with four round corner
towers and no keep. It shows similarity to other square castles like the partially remaining
Radboud Castle (also built by Floris),
Ammersoyen Castle and
Helmond Castle. It has a groundplan of 32x35 meters
and walls of ca. 1.70 meters thick. There is also a wall walk on large arches on 2 sides and a large
moat. The castle was never used as the house of a nobleman. It was only inhabited by bailiffs and
used as a courthouse and state prison.
One of the most well-known inhabitants was PC. Hooft, a Dutch writer, poet and historian, who lived in
the castle between 1609 and 1647. 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. The
interior of the castle today has been furnished as it would have been during those times.
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
In the beginning of the 19th century the castle had fallen into decay and plans were made to demolish
the castle and sell the stones. King Willem I however refused to give permission after some protest.
This saved the castle and in 1895 the castle was restored.
From 1948 till 1972 the castle again underwent restorations, removing some fantasized additions from
the earlier restoration. Muiden Castle is now a state museum and is used for cultural events.
The castle has its own web site at:
Location and contact information
At Herengracht 1 in Muiden, tel.nr. 0294-261325.
Open: April till November, monday till saturday from 10:00 till 17:00. On weekends from 13:00 till
17:00. November till April only on weekends from 13:00 till 16:00. Only guided tours. No photography
allowed inside the castle.
Muiden Castle Links
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