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Visiting Gronsveld, The Netherlands: choose which castle you prefer

Updated on January 17, 2012
Flag of The Netherlands
Flag of The Netherlands | Source
Gronsveld castle
Gronsveld castle | Source
Castle gatehouse, Gronsveld
Castle gatehouse, Gronsveld | Source
Map location of Eijsden municipality
Map location of Eijsden municipality | Source

One, two, or even three castles?

When I came to Gronsveld, in Limburg province's Eijsden-Margraten municipality, The Netherlands, I thought I had found the castle.

The castle gatehouse

Well, I hadn't. But the castle gatehouse looked grand enough for it to be called a 'castle', if there were no others on offer, so to speak. (I can imagine other localities, more bereft of historic structures, as being only to glad to have a building such as this gatehouse, with its tower and gabled ends, and to call it their 'castle'.) Built in 1880, the gatehouse is itself classified in The Netherlands as a national monument.

As regards the gatehouse, then, one can surmise that they must have had some rather grand janitors there in The Netherlands.

The 14th century castle

In any case, the main castle building in Gronsveld is not the original building, some of the ruins of which, dating from the 14th century, are still visible, consisting of the bases of round towers.

The former owners of the castle had a somewhat exciting history in the Medieval and Early Modern periods. One of the Lords of Gronsveld was murdered in Aachen; some of the subsequent owners, the van Bronckhorsts, were on friendly terms with Emperors Maximilian and Charles V.

In the French Revolutionary period, the castle — as with so much property around Europe — was confiscated by the 'liberators' or 'invaders' (depending on one's perspective).

The 19th century neo-Gothic structure

But, with the French defeated, and with Limburg province definitively within The Netherlands, in the 19th century the decision was taken to build a completely new structure here in Gronsveld. In 1833 a country residence for a family who came into the estate's possession — the Gadiots of Maastricht — was built. In 1880 it was styled with neo-Gothic features, including a number of turrets. For much of the 19th and 20th centuries the Gadiot family owned the castle (or castles?) but in 1988 H Freie became the new owner.

Gracious parkland lies adjacent to this 19th century structure.

Linguistic note

Gronsveld , the name in standard Dutch, also has another name — or, strictly speaking — a different spelling and pronunciation, in the local Limburgs dialect.

In Limburgs it is: Groéselt.

Also worth seeing

In Gronsveld itself, there is an old windmill, dating from the 16th century. The church of St. Martinius dates from the 16th century, although there are records of a church building on its site in 1281.

Maastricht , The Netherlands (distance: 8.5 kilometres) on the Maas River, is an ancient, historic city, which was settled by the Romans. Make sure you see the city's two largest churches; also, the gate known as the Helpoort.

Rijckholt , The Netherlands (distance: 1.7 kilometres) is an attractive village, with an old castle.

Eijsden , The Netherlands (distance: 4.9 kilometres) has a remarkable moated castle, situated near the Maas River.

Visé , Belgium (distance: approx. 12 kilometres) has a remarkable 17th century town hall, and a church which dates from the 11th and 12th centuries.

Liège , Belgium (distance: 27 kilometres) has numerous visitor attractions; these include the Perron steps, the former Prince-Bishops' Palace and some striking old churches.

Vaals , The Netherlands (distance: 25 kilometres) is situated close to the Vaalserberg , with fine views of the area; here, the borders meet of The Netherlands, Germany and Belgium.

Holset , The Netherlands (distance: 24 kilometres) has a noted Medieval church.

Mamelis , The Netherlands (distance: 21 kilometres); this village situated in hill country has a picturesque monastery on a hillside.

Lemiers (distance: 23 kilometres); this village lies partly in The Netherlands and partly in Germany and has a photogenic castle by a stream which marks the border between the two countries.

Aachen , Germany (distance: 41 kilometres); the ancient capital of Emperor Charlemagne, its noted buildings include its Cathedral and City Hall.


How to get there: Airlines flying to Amsterdam Airport from New York include Delta Airlines and KLM. For North American travellers making the London, England area their base, the nearest sizable airport in The Netherlands to Gronsveld is Eindhoven Airport, to which Ryanair flies from London Stansted Airport, and Aer Lingus from London Gatwick Airport. Car rental availability includes options from Amsterdam and Eindhoven airports. The Dutch railroad company NS (Nederlandse Spoorwegen) maintains rail services from Amsterdam and Eindhoven to Maastricht. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information. Please refer to appropriate consular sources for any special border crossing arrangements which may apply to citizens of certain nationalities.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.


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