Whether you’re a Game of Thrones fanatic or not, you’ll enjoy a visit to Muiderslot Castle. Located just 20 kilometers southeast of Amsterdam in North Holland, it’s another perfect quick trip outside the Dutch capital.
When people think of the Netherlands, windmills, tulips, cheese, and clogs often come to mind. However, the country also has its fair share of impressive fortresses and Muiderslot Castle, located in Muiden, is one of the most impressive ones.
A Brief History of Muiderslot Castle
Count Floris V built the castle at the mouth of the River Vecht around 1280. At that time, it was a small stone fortress whose main purpose was to extract taxes from passing traders going back and forth from Utrecht via the River Vecht.
But, of course, what’s a medieval castle without an intriguing feudal story, right?
About 15 years later, Count Floris V was imprisoned in his own castle by Gerard van Velsen (lord of Beverwijk, Noordwijk, and Velsen) for the alleged rape of the latter’s wife. When Count Floris V tried to escape he was assassinated by van Velsen. After this event, Muiderslot Castle went to the hands of Willem van Mechelen, the Archbishop of Utrecht and in 1300, the fortress was in complete ruin.
The fortress was abandoned and inhabited for about a century until Albert I, Duke of Bavaria, arrived and made it habitable again. In the 16th and 17th centuries, the castle was owned by Dutch author and poet Pieter Corneliszoon Hooft or PC Hooft. (If he sounds familiar, that’s because the exclusive high-end shopping street in Amsterdam, the P.C. Hooftstraat, was named after him.) During PC Hooft’s stay, the grounds were extended and a defense system for the castle was built.
Unfortunately, at the end of the 18th century, the castle was abandoned yet again. It became so dilapidated that there were plans to completely knock it down. Luckily, King William I intervened, and the castle was rebuilt and renovated to reflect its 17th century glory from 1895 to 1910.
Muiderslot Castle – What to Expect
Today, Muiderslot Castle is a national museum that’s open to the public all year round. Permanent collections focus on life, history, and art during the Middle Ages and the 17th century, which was when P.C. Hooft resided in the castle.
Of course, the castle alone is worth the visit! Some of its halls and rooms are decorated the way they were during this period and the castle moat, orchard, and organic garden are a sight to behold. (Don’t miss the dungeon!) There’s a museum café too if you want a light snack, which you can enjoy within the café or out on the courtyard terrace or castle gardens.
Note too that this modern fortress is a popular venue for various music concerts and theater performances. So check their site to see what’s on offer during your visit.
Another reason why people come in droves to Muiderslot Castle is that it’s a big events place. For example, during summer, the gates swing open and you can go in and take part in free yoga classes held on the castle grounds. You can also order a picnic basket and have an evening picnic. If you want to stay, you can even camp on the castle grounds from mid-July to mid-August!
Various tours (e.g., herb garden tour, water pavilion tour, kid’s safari tour, etc.) and workshops (e.g. live cooking, wine tasting, yoga, mindfulness, etc.) are also on offer. All you have to do is check their website to see what activities they have on the schedule.
Muiderslot Castle Travel Tips
How to Get There
By Public Transport
From the Amsterdam Central Station, take the train going to Weesp (Platform 10b). At the Weesp train station, you can take Bus 110 to Muiden Centrum. It’s a 10-minute walk to Muiderslot Castle from there.
If you’re traveling by car, it’s just a 20-minute drive from Amsterdam taking the S100 route. You can, of course, just type Rijksmuseum Muiderslot into Google Maps to find your way there.
Cycling to Muiderslot Castle is a great way to get there because it takes you across various scenic routes. You can use Google Maps or download this Amsterdam-Muiderslot bike route.
If you’re visiting from the months of April to October, then you can get to the castle by ferry via the Amsterdam Tourist Ferry, which departs from Amsterdam IJburg port to Muiderslot castle on weekends and school holidays. You can book your ferry tickets here.
Muiderslot Castle is open daily from 10:00 AM to 5 PM. There are paid parking areas near the castle and as of this writing, rates are €2.40 per hour or almost €22 for the day. However, slots are limited so you might be better off going for free car parking and just walking to the castle instead. For instance, car park P1 (Maxisweg) is free of charge and is only a 15-minute walk to Muiderslot Castle.
It’s possible to purchase your tickets on-site at the castle. However, since many events often take place, tickets may be sold out so it’s recommended to get your Muiderslot Castle tickets here or on their website.
However, if you already have the I amsterdam City Card, then entry to the castle is free. (Note: One free entry per I amsterdam City Card holder.) The ticket comes with a free audio tour, which is available in various languages. And we do recommend you avail of this free audio guide if you want to know important tidbits about the castle rooms and art on display. If you prefer to avail of a guided tour, you can book that on their website too.
How Much Time Do You Need at Muiderslot Castle?
You’d need about 2-3 hours for your visit. However, most people stay much longer if they’re also there to experience any of the events on the castle agenda.