Loevestein CastleDecember 26, 2016 in the Netherlands ⋅ ⛅ 8 °C
The castle is part of a network of protection that extended down the Rivers Meuse and Waal for centuries. While it started its existence as a private home, that didn’t last long because the original owner built it using stolen taxes. The government (King) of the day quickly caught on and stole the castle when the owner was away.
The waterways that surround the castle are more than a mere moat. They are part of the waterlijn (water line) defence system that supplemented the castle fortifications. This unique method of defence was truly Dutch. Through this system the Dutch flooded the lands near the rivers to about 1m deep block the passage of advancing armies. The system worked until WWII, which saw the introduction of military aircraft. It’s really quite ingenious. A part of me feels an extra touch of pride at my Dutch heritage after hearing this creativity.
Inside the castle walls is one of the best interactive museums I have visited to date. Visitors receive an electronic key shaped like an old medieval one. Throughout the castle are slots where you insert the key and become part of the medieval and Napoleonic world. There’s a Napoleonic era bomb shelter where soldiers await the flooding of the plains. There’s the story of Hugo de Groot who was held prisoner here but escaped in a book box (he is the lawyer who came up with the basis of all maritime law relating to where countries end and the sea begins). And there’s many other stories to hear.
My favourite thing about the castle are the interactive games. I wore a heavy helmet and carried a sword. I rode a children’s horse toy because I couldn’t walk on the stilts. I shot laser-fitted rifles at medieval targets with an audio track either congratulating or chastising me depending on my accuracy.
Castle interactivities are offered in Dutch, English and maybe also German and French.Read more