Deep in the middle of the Dutch countryside, somewhere surrounded by sheep and flat farmland, the Kasteel Duivenvoorde is brick splendor, carved facades, and landscaped gardens. With roots dating all the way to the 13th-century, this typically European castle creates the perfect historic excursion from The Hague or Leiden.
The haze of dusk was attracting once we peddled our way with the flatlands. Either side of us, mist tendrils curled into layers, settling above the iconic canals that are so synonymous with The Netherlands. Above us, the dying sun painted the sky in a wide array of pastels, while behind us, one of the most beautiful castles within the Netherlands rapidly faded from view…
A quick history of Kasteel Duivenvoorde
The original Duivenvoorde Castle was first built at some stage in the center Ages and would be a square-shaped fortified building. Its first documentation was at 1226, thus ensuring its place as one of the oldest fortifications within this part of the Netherlands. However, by the time the 1600s rolled around, defenses were no longer a top priority when compared with a growing rapidly requirement for space.
The castle was expanded and vast wings were added either side of the original structure. As such, most of what you see today goes back to the 17th-century. What is most unusual about this castle is it has never been sold, instead residing in exactly the same family for generation upon generation.
In to maintain this link, the castle has been handed down both patrilineal and matrilineal lines. The castle is known as for that surname of the first family to inhabit the castle. In more recent times, the last private owner of the castle, a particular Jonkvrouwe Ludolphine Henriette, Baroness Schimmelpenninck van der Oye realised that upon her death, the castle would probably be sold and it is contents split up.
So regarding make sure the continuation from the castle, a trust and foundation was set up to keep up with the castle, in addition to ensure its continued restoration. As the South Wing from the castle remains inhabited, all of those other Kasteel continues to be looked after through the Duivenvoorde Foundation.
Things to see at Kasteel Duivenvoorde
The Castle: Open to see via guided tour only, the interior from the castle is still inhabited featuring from the open-to-the-public part include an impressive choice of Delftware, Chinese porcelain, original furniture, and countless family portraits.
The park: For just EUR1 it’s possible to wander round the castle grounds, spying the castle’s reflection on the shimmering lake and wander through a magnolia garden. In order to make probably the most of your time in the English style gardens (and snap lots of photos), I suggest dedicating around an hour to exploring the castle’s grounds.
Café and restaurant: Due to the castle’s remote nature, I suggest bringing an open-air picnic, or doing once we did and bringing some extra funds along to help make the the majority of the castle’s café. Once inside (or outside around the terrace, weather permitting), there’s table service and a variety of hot meals, cold snacks, cakes, cool drinks, warm beverages, and alcoholic drinks to choose from.
How to go to Kasteel Duivenvoorde
Address | Kasteel Duivenvoorde Laan van Duivenvoorde 4, Voorschoten
The Kasteel can be found on the outskirts of the pleasant town of Voorschoten within the Zuid Holland region from the Netherlands. Rather small in dimensions, this quintessentially Dutch town is home to highlights such as a large central brick church, the St Laurentius Church, and several beautiful houses.
Voorschoten’s stop is pretty well-linked to nearby cities, and it’s easy to reach from either The Hague or Leiden. Otherwise, it's quite possible to go to the castle via bicycle. This is also true throughout the late spring, summer, or early autumn when the sun is out down and hours of sunlight remain long.
Located around 10 km from The Hague city centre, it is a pleasant cycle ride with the Dutch countryside, passing through sheep fields, farmland, and the like. Midway between your Hague and the University City of Leiden, you can easily visit the castle as a day trip in the Hague.
If you want to see within the castle itself, then you should be aware that tours cost over EUR12 and therefore are only available in Dutch unless another language is requested. As a result, we opted to simply admire the castle from the imposing exterior. Note that to cover everything at the castle, it’s card only (yes, even for the EUR1 fee for that garden!)
With the museum card, touring the castle is free. Before going to the castle, however, make sure to check it’s actually open! As Kasteel Duivenvoorde continues to be a private residence, it’s closed on certain days throughout the week and only open seasonally during the year.