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Visiting Rijckholt, The Netherlands: with one of Limburg's fine castles

Updated on January 17, 2012
Flag of The Netherlands
Flag of The Netherlands | Source
Rijckholt Castle, the tower and the right wing
Rijckholt Castle, the tower and the right wing | Source
Rijckholt Castle, Limburg, The Netherlands
Rijckholt Castle, Limburg, The Netherlands | Source
Eijsden municipality, The Netherlands
Eijsden municipality, The Netherlands | Source

Pick the nobility — and the spelling — you prefer

The Dutch province of Limburg is noted for its fine castles. One such castle is to be found in Rijckholt, part of the municipality of Eijsden-Margraten in the southern part of Limburg.

A striking feature of Rijckholt castle is the fact that it is kept painted white.

Some history

The castle itself was in existence at least by the 15th century, though later rebuilt; some of its walls are 2 metres thick. Rijckholt was formerly recognized as a lordship of the Holy Roman Empire. In the 16th century the local lord sided with William of Orange, whereupon his property was confiscated by Philip II. The lordship came into the possession of the de Bounan de Rijckholt family, originally merchants from Liège, who thus came to belong to both the Belgian and Dutch nobility. This dual identity is arguably informed by the unique geographical situation of the Dutch province of Limburg, with much of its territory geographically contiguous to the Belgian province of the same name and to Germany.

So pick the nobility you prefer.

Linguistic note

Another spelling of Rijckholt which has sometimes been used is 'Richolt', although this is now dated.

Yet another spelling is 'Riêkelt'; whether this is dated or a parallel equivalent (or a desirable spelling for the future?) will depend somewhat on what a person's attitude is to the Limburg dialect, in which medium this alternative spelling occurs. In this, I am also reminded of Luxembourg, with its sometimes three or four variant spellings for each village.

So pick the spelling you prefer.

Exiled monks

In the 19th century, the village of Rijckholt received exiled monks from France. The South Limburg village of Mamelis was made home by exiled monks from Germany; a monastery still exists there. In turn, French Dominicans settled in Rijckholt, and were present at a local monastery, the church of which was also sometimes used by villagers, until the 1970s.

It may be added that South Limburg has historically had the reputation of being strongly religious.

Also worth seeing

In the neighbouring village of Gronsveld (distance: 1.7 kilometres) to which a visit can easily be combined with a trip to Rijckholt, is another striking castle.

Eijsden (distance: 4.9 kilometres) has an historic, moated castle, not far from the Belgian border.

Maastricht (distance: 8.5 kilometres) is an ancient city with impressive ecclesiastical architecture and evocative, historical associations.


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 Rijckholt is Eindhoven Airport, served by Ryanair and Aer Lingus. 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 any special border crossing arrangements which may apply to citizens of certain nationalities, please refer to appropriate consular sources.

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


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