Loevestein Castle (Holland)

Gelderland     See list of castles in Olanda

Castle Loevestein (Slot Loevestein) located at the village Poederoijen in the region Gelderland, over 6 mil east of Rotterdam.

Around the year 1361 built the Dutch Knight Dirc Loef van Horne a square brick building that had been a very strategic location - it was on the border between the rival counties of Holland and Geldern, and only a stone's throw away from where the rivers Waal and Meuse (Maas) meet. Castle Loevestein was named after its creator, meaning Loefs stone house.

Initially built only a simple square blockhouse, but within a decade had Dirc Loef van Horne built this into a larger castle. Guarantees position was so sought after that the nearest neighbor, the powerful Count of Holland, in 1372 managed to acquire bail after some threats and a sum of money. Now over Loevestein went from being a home for knight and instead became a home for the Castellan appointed by the Count of Holland.

The first attack was on bail in 1397 when the then castle steward, Bruijsten van Herwijnen, accused of abuse of power and was dismissed. This was something that castle bailiff refused to accept so he shut himself in Loevestein with 90 men. Not until after two weeks of bombardment with catapults and cannons they had to give up, but at that time the castle steward gone!

Around 1568 Spanish troops conquered Loevestein after they realized the guarantor strategic location. Two years later, on a cold day in December 1570 came a small group of monks to Loevestein and sought shelter in the cold overnight. They were well taken care of, but during dinner they pulled out guns and leader, Herman de Ruijter, demanded that bail would be transferred to the Prince of Orange (the future William the Silent). Erstwhile Castellan Arnt they Jeude refused which led to the result that all the bail was murdered. The monks were so called "Sea Beggars", a form of pirates, who fought against Spain in the "Dutch War" which lasted 1568-1648 (also called åttioårskriget).
The Spaniards managed to recapture Loevestein after a short time and Herman de Ruijter was killed in the fighting. His head was placed on a pole in the nearby town, and his body was hung on the wall Loevesteins where it is then hung for several weeks.

The story does not end there, in June 1572 brought the Dutch back Loevestein, which since then has been in their possession. On the initiative of William of Orange began in 1575 to renovate and expand Loevestein when a pentagonal grassland with three bastions were built.

From 1614 the castle was used as a state prison, and in 1619 was detained Hugo Grotius in there with his family, to serve a life sentence. Grotius was, apart from the Dutch humanist, historian and theologian, also Sweden's ambassador in Paris in 1634-1644. Two years, he incarcerated in Loevestein before he managed to escape by hiding in a large wooden box that was carried out of the castle, in the belief that it contained books.

1651 new bastions were built and since then little changed at Loevestein.
The castle is now used as a medieval museum.

Images of the castle

Castles in Holland

Muider Castle

North Holland

Doorwerth Castle


Loevestein Castle


Horn Castle


Bourtange Fortress


Useful infos

Latitude: 51.8164253
Longitude: 5.0213512
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Map of Loevestein Castle