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 the Dutch province North Holland, is a great idea for a daytrip from Amsterdam.
In this article, we’ve summarized all you need to know about Muiderslot castle, what to expect, how to get there and much more.
A Brief History of Muiderslot Castle
Muiderslot Castle, located in the village of Muiden, is one of the most impressive castles in the Netherlands. It’s definitely an eyecatcher from the outside and the inside!
To understand the importance of the castle, let us tell you a bit about its history.
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. In 1300, the fortress was in complete ruin and abandoned for about a century.
When Albert I, Duke of Bavaria, arrived, the castle was made habitable again. In the 16th and 17th centuries, the castle was owned by Dutch author and poet Pieter Corneliszoon Hooft or PC Hooft. If that name 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 Muiderslot castle was rebuilt and renovated to reflect its 17th century glory from 1895 to 1910.
Today, Muiderslot castle is one of the most beautiful castles to visit in the Netherlands!
Things to See at Muiderslot Castle
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, either! 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.
How to Get to Muiderslot Castle
By Public Transport
From the Amsterdam Central Station, take the train going to Weesp. 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. If you travel from Amsterdam, you can download the Amsterdam-Muiderslot bike route. If you’re coming from another part of the Netherlands (and carry your bike on your car), you could organize a bike tour in the region which combines a visit to the IJmeer and the Muiderslot.
During one of our recent visits in the region, we started our bike route in Naarden (a beautiful fortified village), cycled through the Naardermeer nature all the way to Muiderslot.
If you’re visiting from the months of April to October, then you can get to Muiderslot 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 a.m. to 5 p.m. 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.
You’d need about 1-2 hours for your visit, depending on how much you’d like to see. If you attend an event, you’ll probably spend more time here (3-4 hours).
Tickets & Admission
It’s possible to purchase your tickets on-site at the castle. Due to the popularity of some events, tickets may be sold out. I always recommend to book your tickets in advance to make sure you don’t travel there for nothing. You can buy Muiderslot Castle tickets online here.
Note that entry is free of charge if you have the I amsterdam City Card (one free entry per I amsterdam City Card holder). The ticket comes with a free audio tour, which is available in various languages. Though we have shared some if the castle’s history in this post, we recommend you make use of the free audio tour. You’ll get some important tidbits about the castle rooms and art on display.