Loevestein Castle

Loevestein Castle (Dutch: Slot Loevestein) is a medieval castle in the municipality of Zaltbommel, Gelderland, the Netherlands.

Loevestein Castle
Slot Loevestein
Poederoijen, the Netherlands
Slot Loevestein
Slot Loevestein (1621)
Loevestein Castle
Coordinates51.8164°N 5.0214°E / 51.8164; 5.0214
Site information
Open to
the public
Site history
Built byDirc Loef van Horne

The castle was built by the knight Dirc Loef van Horne (hence "Loef's stein" (stone) house) between 1357 and 1397. Until World War II Loevestein Castle was part of the Hollandic Water Line, the main Dutch defense line that was based on flooding an area of land south and east of the western provinces. Currently the castle is used as a medieval museum and function centre.


Loevestein is a water castle that was built between 1357 and 1368. It was built in a strategic location in the middle of the Netherlands, where the Maas and Waal rivers come together (just west of current day villages of Poederoijen and Brakel, in the municipality of Zaltbommel, in Gelderland). At first it was a simple square brick building, used to charge toll from trading vessels using the rivers. By 1372, the castle was under control of the Counts of Holland.[1] In the 16th century (around 1575, orders given by William the Silent) it was expanded to a larger fortress surrounded by earthen fortifications with two (later three) stone bastions on the northern side, two moats, an arsenal, and housing for a commander and soldiers. The Castle was also part of the Hollandic Water Line.

It changed hands twice between the Northern Dutch and the Spanish during the Eighty Years' War: on December 9, 1570, it was taken by the Geuzen; ten days later by the Spanish again; and on June 25, 1572, it was retaken by the Dutch.

From 1619 the castle became a prison for political prisoners. One famous inmate was the eminent lawyer, poet and politician Hugo de Groot (Hugo Grotius) often presented as the "father of modern international law", who was serving a controversially imposed life sentence from 1619. In 1621, his wife Maria van Reigersberch, who was also staying at the castle, hid with him in a book chest that was regularly brought for them.[2][3] He subsequently became the Swedish Ambassador to France for 10 years. Another high-profile inmate was the English Vice-Admiral George Ayscue.

In literature

In Alexandre Dumas, père's novel La Tulipe Noire, the main character Cornelius Van Baerle is imprisoned at Loevestein.

See also


  1. "The Middle Ages". Loevenstein Castle. Retrieved 15 October 2017.
  2. Murray, John (2009). A hand-book for travellers on the continent: being a guide through Holland, Belgium, Prussia. BIBLIOBAZAAR. p. 73. ISBN 1-117-07017-4.
  3. Davies, Charles Maurice (2010). History of Holland, from the beginning of the tenth to the end of the Eighteenth Century, Volume 2. General Books. p. 539. ISBN 978-1-151-01164-0.

Works cited

  • Kransber, D; Mils, H. (1979). Kastelengids van Nederland, Middeleeuwen. Bussum. ISBN 90-228-3856-0.
  • Kalkwiek, K.A.; Schellart, A.I.J.M.; Jansen, H.P.H.; Geudeke, P.W. (1980). Atlas van de Nederlandse kastelen. Alphen aan den Rijn. ISBN 90-218-2477-9.
  • Helsdingen, H.W. van (1966). Gids voor de Nederlandse kastelen en buitenplaatsen. Amsterdam.
  • Tromp, H.M.J. Kijk op kastelen. Amsterdam 1979. ISBN 90-10-02446-6.
  • "Loevestein Castle". Holland.com.
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