Location: Herengracht 1, Muider  Map

Constructed: 1370 by Albrecht, Duke of Bavaria

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History of Muider Castle

Muiderslot or Muider Castle is a medieval castle situated 15 kilometers South- East of Amsterdam in Netherlands. The first castle on this site was erected at the mouth of river Vecht in 1280 by Count Floris V of Holland and Zeeland. Muider Castle was intended to become a stronghold for levy collection from passing merchant ships. Count didn't last last too long. He was ambushed during his hunting trip in the forest by assassins who were probably sent by bishop of Utrecht. He died of knife wounds. His fortress was razed in 1300 by the same bishop.


Current citadel was constructed in 1370 by Albrecht, Duke of Bavaria. One of the most famous residents who lived here was P.C. Hooft, a famous Dutch historian, writer and a poet. He lived here from 1609 to his death in 1647. He invited many prominent artists to the castle which gave them a nickname, the Muider Circle. This included Bredero and Maria Tesselschade Visscher, Joost van den Vondel, Huge de Groot, Constantijn Huygens and many others. The castle lost its military significance and was turned into prison in the 18th century. Eventually it was abandoned and fell in disrepair. Restoration of the Muiderslot began in 1895 during reign of King Willem I and by his orders. Most of the interior was recreated as it looked in the 17th century. Muiderslot is protected by a national museum of Netherlands known as Rijksmuseum.


The castle is a square moated castle . At each corner of the castle is a round tower and within the walls is a large building with stepped gables . The castle has a moat with a drawbridge . Around the castle there are, among other things, a restored vegetable garden and a herb garden .

The castle was built at the mouth of the Vecht in the Zuiderzee , where the IJmeer is now located. Muiden with its harbor is located directly at the castle.

The history of the castle is not known with certainty. In the thirteenth century, a toll booth probably stood on the site where the castle was later built. By means of a chain over the Vecht , Count Floris V was able to collect tolls from passing ships. Floris V turned it into a square castle with a tower on each corner. but possibly the castle already existed then and the count merely bought it.

Murder of Floris V
Count Floris V was murdered on June 27, 1296 in the vicinity of the castle. During a falcon hunt he was captured by the participating noblemen Gijsbrecht IV van Amstel and Herman van Woerden . He was imprisoned in the castle for five days. During an escape attempt from the castle, he was killed by, among others, Gerard van Velsen , with 22 knife wounds.

Demolition and rebuilding
It is said to have been demolished after the death of Floris in 1296, only to be rebuilt on the existing foundations a little under a hundred years later, but this is by no means certain. The castle is said to have been destroyed by Bishop Willem van Mechelen , who probably extended the Vredelant (Vreeland) castle with the stones of the Muiderslot . A 'dock yard' would have been restored. Seventy years later Count Albrecht of Bavaria is said to have rebuilt the (current) Muiderslot around 1370 on the same place and with the same map, although there are also suggestions that the castle was never destroyed.

Many accounts concerning the maintenance of the castle have been handed down. These give the impression that the castle was usually in a dilapidated state.

Muiderslot was usually inhabited by castle guardians, who managed the castle on behalf of their lord; that was for example the bishop or the landgrave . At the beginning of the 16th century, the castle became the property of the Geldersen for a short time. During the Eighty Years' War , the castle was taken on behalf of William of Orange in 1577.

In 1609 the castle became the official residence of PC Hooft , who held the position of drost van Muiden . Because the castle could not be heated in winter, Hooft only spent the summers there, the rest of the year he lived in Amsterdam. He partly paid for the maintenance of the castle himself. The furniture, utensils and paintings currently on display in the castle date from this period from the 17th century.

Hooft's hospitality led to the myth of the Muiderkring , an alleged group of literary and scholarly scholars who would have gathered regularly for literary and musical evenings at the castle. It concerns a romanticized image, created in the nineteenth century, of a group of scholars and literati who regularly met at the castle to bring about cultural development in unison. In the twentieth century, research has reduced the image to realistic proportions. Although already Bredero and Hugo de Groot in 1616 visited the castle at the same time, the first documented stay qualifying as such a gathering took place on July 7, 1633 and the last in the summer of 1645. Instead of an organized permanent group of prominent people pursuing a cultural goal, Hooft made the castle available to his circle of friends as a kind of holiday resort. It is certain that one or more visits were made to the castle by Vondel , Barlaeus , Constantijn Huygens , Vossius , Roemer Visscher and his daughters Anna and Tesselschade, among others .

Decline and restorations
After Hooft's death, the castle fell into disrepair. In French times, the castle was used as a barracks by the French army. From 1795 the castle was no longer inhabited and fell into disrepair. The War Department used it as a prison and ammunition depot, until the building was found to be too dilapidated. In 1823, the Ministry of War recommended that it be demolished. The king objected to this, but in 1825 it was put up for sale for demolition anyway , which meant so much that the buyer was allowed to demolish the building and take ownership of the resulting building materials (the site was therefore not offered for sale). After many appeals to King William I , including from historian and literatorSamuel Iperusz. Wiselius , however, the sale was prevented. The building was handed over by the Ministry of War to the Ministry of the Interior. According to historian Maarten van Rossem , the castle's preservation was remarkable at a time when many valuable monuments were demolished.


The ministry gave in to the protests against the proposed breaking down, but did not intend to fix it. The plan from 1830 by the Second Class of the Royal Dutch Institute of Sciences, Letters and Fine Arts to turn the castle into a national historical museum was also not realized due to a lack of money. Instead, it was thought of turning the castle into a romantic ruin. That did not happen either. The weakest parts of the castle were at least somewhat maintained from the mid-nineteenth century. In the course of that century, the awareness gradually grew that this was an important monument deserving a museum function.

The Department of Arts and Sciences of this ministry only started the restoration in 1895 , which was carried out under the direction and plans of Pierre Cuypers . The exterior would have a medieval appearance, while the interior would refer to the period when Hooft lived there. Because there are no images of the castle in the Middle Ages, Cuypers had to let his imagination run wild and provided the castle with many battlements. This work was completed in 1909.

The second restoration took place from 1956 to 1972. Ideas about restoration had since changed and the reconstructions of the previous restoration were removed as too imaginative. The main purpose of the restoration would be conservation and take into account the changes that the castle had undergone over time. The grounds around the castle have also been restored to its 17th-century condition with plum orchard and herb garden . The last restoration started in 1999 with the restoration of the fortress and the gardens and the redevelopment of the original vegetable garden , the Warmoeshof.

The ground plan largely corresponds with the ground plan of Radboud Castle in Medemblik . That castle has also been restored by Cuypers.
Outside the castle is a plum orchard , which already existed in Hooft's time. (A famous phrase from Hooft to the other members of the Muiderkring: "See you in the plum season").
The Waterliniepad and the Floris V-pad run along the Muiderslot.
In 2010 the filming of the film Snuf en het spookslot took place here . The Muiderslot then represents the Ruins of Brederode , before it fell.
The Muiderslot is depicted on the ace of clubs of the standard card game with Dutch images.
The castle was on view from 2007-2008, 2012-2018 as the castle of Sinterklaas in De Club van Sinterklaas .
According to historian Maarten van Rossem , the 'fairytale castle' looks like a castle should look like: 'Walt Disney would have been very satisfied with it'.