Castle of the Week 15 – Brederode

The castle of Brederode is built on a bit of dune that is surrounded by marsh on three sides. So while being built on solid ground itself, three of its sides were guarded with boggy terrain. The name Brederode derives from the Dutch words for a wide patch of woodland cleared to create arable land. This happened here in 1221.

The Lords of Brederode are first mentioned in 1244 and in 1282 they were given the lands and probably built the first castle. The plans of the original castle, however, have gone missing and around 1300 the castle was rebuilt using a groundplan, similar to that of the castles at Muiden and Medemblik. In 1351 the castle was besieged for some three months by Count William V’s marshal, Gijsbrecht van Nijerode. The castle was demolished after it surrendered, but was returned to its owner, Dirk III of Brederode, in 1354, who rebuilt it.

During the late fourteenth and early fifteenth century the castle was expanded and reached its ultimate height. However, in 1426 it was besieged again, this time by the people of Haarlem. They destroyed part of the castle after which it was extensively remodelled. Its final restoration in 1464 demolished part of the walls turning it into a house rather than a defensible castle.

In 1491 German soldiers plundered the castle. Eight years later it was used as proof of genealogy by Jolande de Lailing, to prove her descent from the Counts of Holland.
This was shortlived and in 1573 the castle was plundered and set on fire by Spanish soldiers in the Dutch War of Independence. It never recovered and slowly fell more and more into disrepair.

Excavation and restoration started in 1862 paid for by private and government funding. Part of the structures were raised to a height of 2.5 meters. Sadly part of this restoration fell prey to romantic ideas rather than archaeologically sound ones and the result is a bit of a match between fact and fiction.

This text is based on a longer text by Taco Hermans and Jan Kamphuis who graciously allowed me to butcher their work. You can find the full text and many more details here. The pictures on this page are courtesy of yours truly, Jayhawk. For fullsized and more of my pictures follow this link


Download Brederode by Jayhawk