Huis Bergh Castle

Huis Bergh


Location: 's-Heerenberg, Province of Gelderland  Map

Constructed: 13th century by Lord Van den Bergh

Open: May- Dec: 12:30pm- 4:30pm Tue- Sun

Info: Hof Van Bergh 8

Tel. 0314- 661281


History of Huis Bergh Castle

Huis Bergh is a medieval castle situated in a town of 's-Heerenberg in the Province of Gelderland in Netherlands. It was constructed in 1240 by Lord Van den Bergh. In the 16th century Huis Bergh underwent major restoration under orders of Count Willem IV ven den Bergh. But during the Dutch Revolt he sided with the his brother- in- law, Prince William of Orange. This alliance forced him to leave his native land for Germany and loose his possessions including his residence. Huis Bergh castle was badly damaged during sieges during the Dutch Revolt in 1568–1648. In 1735 it was completely burned down and left abandoned. Briefly it served as a seminary, but bad condition of the structure forced its transference to another building. Only in 1912 it was bought by businessman Jan Herman van Heek who began reconstruction of the citadel and archaeological digs that revealed older structures of the fortress. Today Kasteel Huis Bergh is open to the public. It features collection of Dutch paintings as well as a collection of medieval handwritings.



The building history of the castle dates back to the year 1250. Parts of the house date from the 14th, 15th and 17th centuries. In the initial phase of the Eighty Years' War, Huis Bergh suffered a lot from war violence. In 1735 it completely burned down, after which it was rebuilt until 1746 by Gerrit Ravenschot from Zutphen. During the Hollandse Zending between the years 1799 and 1842, a seminary was established in Huis Bergh. In 1912, the castle and all its belongings came into the ownership of Jan Herman van Heek, an industrialist from Enschede, with the aim of preserving it as a monument.

In 1939 a large part of the house was destroyed by fire for the second time. Thanks to the help of the local population, much of the inventory was saved. In the same year, reconstruction began, which was completed in the fall of 1941. In 1946, Van Heek transferred Huis Bergh to the Foundation for the Conservation of Property and Rights of Huis Bergh. Huis Bergh became the permanent residence of the Van Heek family and he housed his art collection there, including the collection of F.W. Mengelberg which he had acquired in 1919 and many early Italian works.

From 1965, Huis Bergh was partially open to the public with guided tours. In 1966 son Jan van Heek married Irmela Töwe and lived in the castle. From 1988, the Italian room with its Italian art was opened to the public. The collection is exhibited next to the Italian room in the Antonius room and the throne room of the castle.


Art collection

The collection is the largest private collection of early Italian art in the Netherlands, with work by Duccio, Biccie di Lorenzo and Niccolò di Segna, among others.

In addition to medieval paintings, including more than eighty Dutch and German paintings, the collection contains portraits of Burgundians, Habsburgs, Oranges and Counts Van den Bergh, which Van Heek found in the attic of the castle. The collection also consists of manuscripts from the Netherlands, Germany, France and Italy, sculptures, coins and medals and ivory pieces. Van Heek built up an art history library and the largest private archive on Gelderland History. His son built up a geological collection of finds made in the Achterhoek.

Henk van Os, the former director of the Rijksmuseum and an expert on early Italian art, is an advisor to Huis Bergh. Henk van Os changed the presentation of the art collection at the beginning of the 21st century. Visitors used to come to Huis Bergh mainly for the romance of knighthood and to view the medieval castle. The art from Northern and Southern Europe hung together and was not clearly visible. Henk van Os has placed this art in separate rooms. There is an Italian room and Northern European art hangs in the throne room. In the stairwell, he has set up a gallery with fifteenth- and sixteenth-century portraits. Less interesting works of art or forgeries have been moved to the depot, while important pieces, such as an early sixteenth-century wooden statue of Mary on the crescent moon, have been given a prominent place. He provided all works of art with an explanatory text.

On the occasion of Henk van Os' 70th birthday in 2008, ten friends wrote articles about the collection. These articles are bundled in a liber amicorum called Adventures with a collection: discoveries in the collections of Huis Bergh.

A very special work is a panel (the archangel Gabriel) from the world famous Maestà by Duccio. The painting was added to the castle's collection in the 19th century. The collection also contains several works from the school of Hieronymus Bosch, including a Wedding at Cana. Huis Bergh also houses an exceptional collection of medieval manuscripts.


Other information

Concerts are regularly given in the castle garden and in the reception hall.
The Boetselaersborg, a small castle near Huis Bergh, is one of the castle's possessions.
Just west of Huis Bergh is the plantation forest.
In 2016, the garden (sometimes referred to as the 'oldest garden in the Netherlands') was returned to the state it was in 1727.
Overnight stays have been possible at the castle since 2018, in the round tower and in the flat tower you can experience what it is like to sleep in a castle