Brederode Castle, or the “Ruins of Brederode” as it’s known as today, is situated in Santpoort-Zuid, a tiny village about half an hour away from Amsterdam. The castle has quite a tumultuous past. It once belonged to one of the noblest families in the Netherlands, the House of Brederode. The Brederode’s were descendants of the Lords of Teylingen, who themselves were descended from the Counts of Holland.
The castle was constructed around 1285 by Willem van Brederode and consisted of only a single tower at first. It was extended in 1300 and transformed into a square castle structure. During several battles between 1350 and 1426, the estate was destroyed and eventually rebuilt. The siege of Haarlem during the Eighty Years’ War in 1573 finally turned the castle into the ruins we see today.
Despite no longer occupying the castle, the Brederodes remained powerful. In 1679, the 18th lord of the Brederode family, Johan Wolfert, died childless leaving behind no successors. When the remaining members of the House of Brederode left Holland during the Protestant Reformation, the Dutch government seized their property, including the castle. During the 19th century, Brederode Castle became the first national monument of the Netherlands to be restored by the state.
Today, the ruins transmit a more peaceful atmosphere than their violent past would indicate.
Know Before You Go
The castle grounds are open to visitors Wednesday and Friday from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The entrance fee is 6 euros. The castle is closed during the winter, from November 1 until March 1. During the open season, the castle hosts special events, as well as guided tours and concerts. There are also ongoing exhibitions about the history of the castle and medieval instruments of torture.
Brederode Castle lies on the edge of Zuid-Kennemerland National Park, a beautiful piece of nature close to the sea that's perfect for hiking.