6 Reasons why you (with or without kids) will enjoy visiting Muiderslot Medieval Castle near Amsterdam

About 15 kilometers southeast of Amsterdam, located along the Vecht river, that’s where you’ll find the beautiful Muiderslot, or Muiden Castle – the best kept medieval castle of Holland.

My man and I made sure to visit this magnificent historical site while road tripping from one Dutch city to another, with a Lonely Planet guidebook in my already very full handbag and my beloved camera around my neck, recharged and ready for action.

We had just left Amsterdam and was on our way to go to Haarlem, but made a little detour to visit what is known to be one of the most picturesque castles in the Netherlands. We obviously didn’t wanna miss out on something as spectacular as this!

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While my man was complaining about the weather not being that great that day (gray and cloudy) my only complaint was regarding my questionable choice of attire. I was wearing a miniskirt – the most inappropriate thing to wear while climbing the steep stairs all the way to the top of each tower. I’m sure my boyfriend enjoyed his view up my skirt, but I’m not sure other people enjoyed it quite as much. And there were lots of kids there. What an eyesore that must have been for those poor children!

We learned a lot of random facts about the castle and the location of it, while wandering around from room to room, tower to tower. Mostly about Count Floris V, the guy who built the castle back in 1280. The count was later kidnapped by Gerard Van Velsen and his comrades, and was later imprisoned in his own castle. When he tried to make his great escape, he was killed by Gerard Van Velsen who stabbed him 20 times. Brutal. Gerard Van Velsen’s wife was raped by Floris V, and this was allegedly the reason for the conflict between the two nobles.

Understandable, if you ask me.

After visiting the castle, we went to see the falconer. We hadn’t actually booked an appointment or anything – which is what you’re supposed to do. We just stumbled upon a bunch of school kids on a field trip and decided to hang around and photograph the birds of prey. I was ecstatic as I absolutely love owls and I’ve never been as close to an owl as I was there. I’ve never felt as happy and jealous at the same time. While the kids got to touch the owl, I couldn’t, as I was just an intruder and not part of the group. Or a child, for that matter.

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At least I’m left with some pretty cool photos. I guess that beats touching an owl once.

Those who know me well, know how much I love medieval architecture and history. The castles from the Medieval Period remind me of those illustrated in fairy tales and Disney movies. From a (sort of) young couple’s point of view, visiting historical sites like the Muiderslot is a great occasion to take photos, educate ourselves – and sneak around and hide behind a wall, or in one of the castle’s towers and kiss our partner. Yes, I find castles romantic. Don’t you?

Speaking of romance, did you know you can book this castle for your wedding?

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Besides photography and romance, let me give you 6 more reasons why you should take a day trip to Muiderslot from Amsterdam or nearby!

  1. You can visit Muiderslot by boat from Amsterdam with the Amsterdam Tourist Ferry! Now doesn’t that sound like a fun way to start your day trip? I sure think so! The ferry operates a daily service except from Mondays, and departs from the marina of Amsterdam IJburg, which is a 15 minute tram ride (nr 26) from Amsterdam Central Station. The ferry has an inside and outside area, toilets, heating and a bar.
  2. Muiderslot is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. I don’t know about you, but in my opinion, if something is officially recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization it’s something worth adding to your bucket list.
  3. Get up close and personal with owls and falcons! Visits can be arranged (between April and October) to the falconer in the tent on the Bastion, next to the castle. You get to see the beautiful creatures up close and the falconer will tell you all about falconry in the time of Count Floris V.
  4. Fun and educational for kids! There’s plenty of games and entertainment for children at Muiderslot, as they explore the castle and its towers. You can buy them a small activities booklet from the ticket office, which adds a lot of interest and curiosity. They also get to dress up as knights and play with toy swords in the castle!
  5. Guided tour around the castle. Travel back in time to the 17th century, to the age of the most famous resident of Muiderslot; writer, historian and poet, P.C. Hooft. Visit the rooms used by the occupants of the castle, and learn all about the culture, customs and habits of the Golden Age.
  6. See the Water Shield and visit the historical gardens. I didn’t get around to doing this myself, as we had to make it a quick visit and prioritized seeing the birds over the gardens, but hopefully I’ll one day return and spend some time enjoying them – as well as the water shield pavilion (which is yet another thing your kids will enjoy)

Are you ready to visit Muiderslot? See, told you you’d love it!

Here’s some practical information:

The castle is open to the public all year around, but opening hours depends on the season.

From April 1st to October 31st,  visiting hours are between 10 am to 5 pm from Monday to Friday, and from noon until 5 pm during weekends.

From November 1st to March 31st, the castle is closed to the public during weekdays, and is open from noon until 5 pm during weekends. However, during school holidays from December 23rd until January 7th, you will be able to visit from noon to 5 pm, all week!

Visit the official website of Muiderslot for more information.

(below is the view from one of the towers)

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Why Kinderdijk is perfect for amazing windmill-selfies

The Netherlands is famous for a lot of things, such as cheese, tulips, clogs and windmills. Yeah, those were probably the most stereotypical things I could think of, but it’s also what I came to see while road tripping cross-country Netherlands with my man. Well, I already knew I’d be a couple of weeks too late for tulip-season, which means  there’d be a higher probability of winning the lottery than seeing any tulips by now.  And then there’s those famous clogs. Well, to be honest,  I don’t really care that much about clogs.  So I guess that narrows it down a bit. Let’s just talk about windmills for now.

Because windmills are amazing. I mean, they have an amazing effect on me, since I’m not used to them. They turn me into an annoying little child who’s overly excited about everything and goes “wow!”, “LOOK!”, “it’s amazing” every five seconds, and that’s exactly the reason why I followed my guidebook’s advice to visit a village named Kinderdijk, a UNESCO World Heritage Site – which is the ultimate hot spot for windmill-scouting!

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Before going, we didn’t know much about Kinderdijk. We knew there’d be 19 windmills there (dating back to the 18th century) and we knew we’d have the possibility to visit the area either by foot, by bicycle (like a true Dutch) or by canal boat.

When we arrived, the first thing that caught our attention was not the windmills but an air balloon which had crash-landed into the canal. An ambulance, police officers and a rescue-team, including divers, were on site. What a traumatizing experience that must have been for everyone involved. At least they all made it out unharmed (from what I could see).

So what is there to do on site, besides watching air balloons float upside down on the canal? Well, you can rent a bicycle, or go on a sightseeing-tour on the canal, drink coffee and have a snack at the cafe, while admiring the spectacular view of the windmills.

Or just stroll along the footpaths, take photos, walk some more, take more photos.

And that’s exactly what we did. We’d paid for parking for just one hour and a half, and we didn’t wanna waste our time. Our plan was to go hardcore paparazzi on the windmills. Each and every one of them. Well. As many as we could before we had to return to the car to avoid getting a parking ticket.

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With the exception of all the tourists who were doing exactly the same thing as we were doing, Kinderdijk seemed to be a very peaceful village. I would have loved to bring my own bicycle, follow the pathway, get distracted by the beautiful scenery, fall off my bicycle, get back up again, ride a little further, feel overly exhausted and almost vomit, and eventually stop somewhere to have a nice little picnic and fight off flies, wasps, ants and other creatures that can’t resist my food and beverages. Now that would have been lovely!

Sadly, I don’t actually own a bicycle anymore (it got stolen – many years ago).

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“Can you take a picture of me for my Instagram?” I begged my boyfriend, in the most annoying way possible. As much as I love sharing photos on my social media platforms – especially Instagram – I feel like the biggest loser on the planet whenever I have to ask someone to take a picture of me for my Instagram. It makes me feel like I’m some kind of narcissist, and a try-hard wannabe-fashionista (note: I suck at fashion) whose only reason for traveling is to take cringe-worthy photos that pretty much scream “look at me, I’m relevant. The background isn’t”. Yuck. Maybe I am one of those people without even realizing it? Maybe I’ve tricked my mind into thinking I wanted to go to Kinderdijk to photograph windmills, but in reality, I went there only to have photos taken of ME in front of windmills? I’m sure my partner would say I’m semi-narcissistic, and also that we went to Kinderdijk for multiple reasons.

To learn, to see, and to make it a teeny tiny bit about me.

Enough with that selfie-talk.

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Some of the windmills of Kinderdijk can be visited (for a fee of 6,50 euros) and function as museums. If you wanna learn more about the history of windmills in the Netherlands, this is a fun way to do it!

And how do you get to Kinderdijk? 

There are direct trains to Kinderdijk from Utrecht and Rotterdam. If you’re visiting by car, the distance from Amsterdam to Kinderdijk is 98 km (via A2) and 53.9 km from The Hague (via A13).

As previously mentioned, there is parking on-site.

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