When I was planning my visit of the Limburg province, I didn't think that it would get so cold. There were moments when I considered staying in the hotel room to avoid going outside. But what would I do all day? You can sleep just that much, and I couldn't think of anything better to do there, so I got in the car and decided to follow my original plan.
It took me around 20 minutes to get to Valkenburg. Half of the place was closed due to the Christmas markets across the city, so it took me another 20 minutes to find a parking garage that was not that far away from the castle ruins. I put on my winter jacket, scarf and gloves and was ready to go outside. It turned out that I was still quite far away from the ruins as the entrance was not exactly where I thought it would be and I had to walk around the ruins before getting in.
I was surprised to see this kind of the entrance to the castle. Normally, it's just a wooden gate or some kind of a bridge but here they built a huge glass construction between the street and the castle, so when I walked by I didn't notice it was the entrance and continued walking until I asked someone to show me where it was.
Behind the glass construction is medieval staircase leading you up to the castle and the restaurant. On the right side of the staircase is a lift in case you are not able to walk up the stairs.
When you walk up the stairs make sure to go to the right as otherwise you would miss the model of the castle.
This model is a reconstruction of a sketch by Jacob van Deventer from 1550 and shows us the castle at the time of its glory. Nowadays, there is not much left which is a pity as in the 16th century this was the most powerful castle in this region.
The castle was built in 1115 by Gosewijn I Heinsberg. It's very special as it's the only castle in The Netherlands that is built on a foothill of a hill.
At that time, it was more less just one tower which was destroyed less than 10 years after it was built. From this time, it was rebuilt and destroyed several times. In 1672 it was destroyed for the last time and left in decay.
Due to its strategic location, the lord of the castle held authority over the trade route between Maastricht and Aachen.
Today, everything what remained is a round tower, the Berkel gate, the Grendelpoort, two of the six gates and a part of the ramparts.
Since 1924, the castle and the cave have been under the ownership of the Valkenburg Castle Foundation. They try to preserve as much as they can, and they are supported by the entrance fee. It costs EUR 7.50 per person to enter the castle.
In 1937, the restoration workers found secret passages underneath the castle. These passages connected the castle with the Velvet cave where marl was mined at that time. The cave also played an important role in the World War II when it served as a shelter for local people as well as Jews and other refugees.
The castle is open at 10 am and I managed to come there right on time. I spent there almost one hour and I could hear voices as people came in later, but I couldn't see anyone.
It was a great time to come in the morning as I could see some frost on the ground as well.
The view from the ruins is very nice. Valkenburg is surrounded by woods and small hills which are typical for this region. Limburg is the only province with some hills.
And these are all remains of the castle...
Let's go inside!
The entrance was located behind a draw bridge. On the right side is the citadel which we will go to see now.
This bench in the citadel made me laugh. Who would like to sit there with the view made of rocks and stones?
I have noticed some lined up stones on the edge of the wall..
There is not much left of the Knights Hall but if you have a little bit of imagination you can see that it used to be impressive. I guess it was the biggest room of the castle.
Behind the Knights Hall is a courtyard. You can sit down and enjoy the view of Valkenburg.
On the left side there are models showing various construction stages of the castle. They were all damp and somehow foggy, so I couldn't see much.
I was standing here for a few minutes as the sunshine was so nice and warm...
Some of the arches have been reconstructed...
If you wish you can walk up the steep stairs and see the castle from the bird perspective...
I liked these walls...
And now I'm slowly getting to the other side of the castle...
Look at the water droplet!
And the last view of the castle before heading back to the car...
I hope that you have enjoyed our tour of this once impressive castle!
Thank you for visiting!