Series of stamps in 1951
The Dutch postal authorities emitted a series of stamps in 1951 bearing pictures of Dutch castles. On the stamp of 2 cents the castle of Hillenraad is pictured, on the 5c stamp the castle of Bergh, on the 6c the castle of Hernen. The stamps of 10c and 20c show pictures of the castles of Rechteren and Moermond respectively.
As so many other castles in the Netherlands these five buildings are so called moated castles. They are all built in low land and therefore surrounded by water and only accessible by a bridge. In most cases this situation is unchanged. The five castles all date back from the Middle Ages; they are often rebuilt and made a little more comfortable. Only the castles of Hernen and Bergh are up till now real medieval castles. The castles of Hillenraad en Rechteren are still inhabited. The castle of Moermond is used for meetings etc.. Therefore these three castles are not open to the public. The castles of Hernen and Bergh are regularly open to the public. They are both splendid examples of medieval castles in the Netherlands.
The castle of Hillenraad
The castle of Hillenraad is situated near the village of Swalmen, a little north of Roermond in the province of Limburg. It is one of the nicest castles in this province.
The castle of today has been rebuilt in the 17th century but has a predecessor from the 13th century. The castle has a remarkable floor plan. At the back side of the long side of a rectangle building an extension was built. Against the small sides of the rectangle some wings were added with square towers at the four corners of the castle. The whole of the plan became a little complicated in this way.
Before the entrance of the house there is a small arched bridge. By a very fine constructed staircase one can reach the castle that is half covered with ivy.
The farm buildings of the castle are only built in this century.
The castle stands in a French garden at the edge of a park situated in a beautiful landscape. The castle is inhabited so it is not open to the public.
The castle of Bergh
The castle of Bergh is situated against the centre of the small town of 's-Heerenberg. in the province of Gelderland. At the end of the castle gardens there is the boundary with Germany.
The first castle of Bergh dates back to about 1100. The square keep (14th c.) is the succcessor of a round keep but the first was probably a wooden tower, surrounded by a wooden fence within the ditches. Bergh is a so called motte and baily castle, i.e. the motte (the hill) on which the keep has been built is formed by the earth out of the ditches.
The castle can be seen from all sides during a walk over the embankments, which form the first defences of the medieval castle. The embankments surround the ditches, the baily and the keep with all its buildings. Near today's entrance the former mint building is resurrected in which the Earls of Bergh had their own mintage in former days.
One of the owners of the castle was William IV of Bergh. He was the brother-in-law of William the Silent, the first leader in the Rebellion against the Spanish kings in the 17th century. William of Bergh chose ultimately the side of the Spaniards and lost the castle. In the middle of the 17e century the castle came in the possession of the German nobles of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen. They never lived in the castle and so the castle fell into disrepair.
In 1912 a rich textile manufacturer, a Mr. Van Heek, bought the castle and restored the buildings, but a fire brought a lot of damage to the buildings in 1939. After the world war Van Heek began with new restorations. The result is that the castle is now brought back again in a splendid medieval state. Van Heek bought many medieval works of art (books, coins) with which he embellished the castle.
The castle is open to the public. It is one of the most interesting medieval castles of the Netherlands.
The castle of Hernen
The castle of Hernen is situated about 15 km west of Nijmegen, a city in the southern part of Gelderland.
Earls of Hernen are known in about 1250, but there is no proof of he castle by then. From 1350 on the castle stands at a small sand bank surrounded by low land. The beginnings of the castle was the keep. Against the keep the baily was situated surrounded by a wall. It took some centuries in which various buildings were built up against the four walls. Ultimately the buildings enclosed a small court yard.
The originally crenellated parapet on the top storey of the castle was covered over after the middle ages. Hernen is the only castle in the Netherlands with such a special construction. The castle was never besieged or demolished so the history of the castle can be read off from the various stones used for the buildings.
Hernen was in the possession of many families. In the 17th century it came in the hands of a southern Dutch family. They never lived in Hernen. Therefore the condition of the castle was getting worse and worse. In the 18th century, the big keep collapsed during a storm and was never rebuild. The rest of the castle was restored a little.
In the middle of this century the castle became the first possession of the Society 'Vrienden van de Gelderssche Kasteelen' (Friends of the castles of Gelderland). The castle was totally restored. It is an interesting example of a small medieval Dutch castle.
The castle can be visited almost every day.
The castle of Rechteren
South of Dalfsen in the province of Overijssel lapped by the water of a former part of the river the Overijsselse Vecht is situated the beautiful castle of Rechteren. Its almost 30 m high tower rises high above the surrounding trees of the park. This tower is the oldest part of the castle. The other buildings however are standing on ancient foundations which partly date from the 17th century or later. The oldest parts of the castle are build about 1320 bij members of the De Voorst family who dedicated the buildings to the Bishop of Utrecht. This Bishop was in these times a ruler also in the province of Overijssel.
From the De Voorst family the castle came in the hands of the Heeckeren family which altered its name in that of Rechteren. The castle is still in the hands of this family although the family name sometimes undergone some alterations.
Members of this family became powerful noblemen in this part of the country. They occupied influential positions.
The castle played a role in the long war (80 years) against Spain in the 17th/18th century. The castle was demolished by troops of the Orangists with the exception of the tower. After that time the castle became a country house.
The castle has a very fine interior and has been furnished nicely. It is still inhabited and therefore not open to the public.
The castle of Moermond
Just east of the village of Renesse on the former island of Schouwen in the province of Zeeland we find the castle of Moermond on the edge of the dunes.
What we see now is the third castle at this place. The castle had two predecessors. During excavations after world war II there werd found the foundations of the two older castles. The first dates from about 1230 but was already demolished in 1297. At about the same place the second castle was erected. This second castle is probably demolished in about 1454. In the direct neighbourhood of this castle the third castle was built. The buildings we see today are mainly formed in the 17th century..
By the end of the 18th century the castle was almost in ruins. At the beginning of this century the owner begun new repairs. The castle had become a landmark again but in the night of 2 February 1953 during the storm of the century the waters flooded many parts of the province of Zeeland. Also the castle of Moermond became a victim. For months the water in and around the castle reached almost to a height of two meters.
With the help of a new society the castle was restored anew. During the works of the Deltaplan (the erection of new dikes in the south-western part of the Netherlands) the castle was in use by Rijkswaterstaat (an institution of the government for public waterworks in the Netherlands). Since then it is used for congresses and meetings and therefore not open to other visitors.
Since the last restoration the castle is a jewel in the Zeeland landscape again.
More information Postage Stamps
Stamps of The Netherlands
Postage Stamps 1999