Wijchen Castle is undoubtedly a grand, dramatic building, nestled on the eastern side of Gelderland, near the city of Nijmegen. Set amidst an atmospheric, serene landscape, this beautiful castle was bought and renovated by Emilia of Nassau, the daughter of William of Orange. Today it’s open to the public as an enchanting and educational museum castle.
- Follow in the footsteps of Emilia of Nassau, the daughter of William of Orange.
- Visit this museum castle to learn about archaeology, art and regional history.
- Don’t miss the castle’s garden, a literal museum of the land.
The history of Wijchen Castle
The first archival mentions of Wijchen Castle date back to 1392. From the 14th to the 17th centuries, it served as a defensive tower and castle. During these turbulent times, it was occupied by a number of families, was severely damaged, ransacked and rebuilt on numerous occasions. In 1609, Wijchen Castle came into the hands of Emilia of Nassau, William of Orange’s daughter. The money for the purchase was raised partly from the sale of a valuable pearl necklace. This was necessary because her marriage to Manuel of Portugal was not blessed by the government or Prince Maurice, the Dutch stadtholder. Thus, they had eloped together, resulting in a tumultuous love story before they had even reached Wijchen.
Emilia had the castle extensively renovated before moving in, and much of the exterior detail you experience today is a legacy from this period. After her death in 1629, the castle was sold by her children, and it passed through a number of important families over the centuries. A severe fire gutted the property in 1906, resulting in the loss of the original interiors, furniture, books and artworks. Thankfully the walls stood strong and Wijchen Castle was already back in impressive shape by the end of 1908.
A museum experience in a castle
Since 1996, the top floor of Wijchen Castle is housing a museum. Discover its collections of archaeology, and a historical exhibition about the region, as well as a variety of temporary exhibitions. The castle’s museum garden is another historic delight, acting as a museum of the land. Learn about the plants, herbs and crops that have been grown in the region from the late-Iron Age through the Middle Ages.
The museum in Wijchen Castle has a number of treats in store for visitors throughout the year. Check the calendar for guided tours of the castle and garden.
From May through October, Wijchen Castle is open Wednesday to Saturday, 13:00-17:00, and on Sunday from 11:00-17:00. During the rest of the year, it’s open Wednesday to Sunday, 13:00-17:00.
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