Muiderslot - Castle & Camping in Amsterdam (Netherlands)

This article first appeared in My Travelogue by Bhushavali 

After Forteiland Pampus, after spending a mesmerizing night under the stars in an island - as they say 'lie in front of Pampus', we took the first boat out of Pampus next morning to visit Muiderslot. This too is a part of the Defence line of Amsterdam. 

As I mentioned earlier, the Defence line of Amsterdam (Stelling van Amsterdam) is a 135km long defence line built around Amsterdam at a radius of 15-20km. Its a group of 45 forts built in 1883-1920 CE. One of the forts is the Fortress Island Pampus and another is Muiderslot. 
Like Defence Line of Amsterdam there are several defence lines in the Netherlands incl. Stelling Van Amsterdam (Defence line of Amsterdam - which is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of the Netherlands), Nieuwe Nederlandse Waterlinie (New Dutch Waterline - which begins at Muiden & goes southwards surrounding Utrecht and ahead), Oude Nederlandse waterlinie (Old Dutch Waterline), West Brabantse Waterlinie (West Brabant Waterline), Circumvallatielinie van Groenlo and more.
All these defence waterlines served the same purpose, to protect the city in the centre (Amsterdam or Utrecht or Groenlo in each case) from enemy progression by the use of their best friend and worst enemy - WATER!!! What is your impression about water? How can you 'use' water? The Dutch have been working with water and managing water with dykes and canals since the 13th C and with excellent hydraulic engineering skills since the 16th C CE. They don't just manage water by protecting themselves from flooding or rains, with hydraulic engineering, but direct and modify it in order to attack enemies with temporary flooding caused by these defence waterlines. The temporary flooding is so well managed that the waterlevel is too shallow for ships to progress and too deep for soldiers to get down and wade through, thus protecting their city from enemies!!! The whole concept is mind-boggling!!!!!


MUIDERSLOT

Unlike Pampus Island, Muiderslot is more easily accessible from Amsterdam for locals (read why in the 'how to reach' section), making it a perfect picnic spot or half-day trip from Amsterdam. For tourists Muiderslot is a great day-trip from Amsterdam if you depend on public transport & hire a cycle; or it can be done in half-day, like locals, if you hire a car from Amsterdam.

It is one of the oldest and best preserved castles in the Netherlands. It looks perfect, like a fairytale castle! Some kind of fortification existed here since very long ago and that was acquired by Count Floris V in 1285 CE and renovated it. Later in 13th & 14th C it was further developed and renovated and that's what we see today as Muiderslot - A square castle with 4 corner towers & a central courtyard.
Ofcourse, its main purpose was defence and it has high towers to see far & wide to keep it safe from enemies. Even in the worst case if they did manage to enter the castle, there were several spiral staircases, dead-end corridors & hallways. The western tower is the oldest tower. The most fascinating thing is the corridor that runs above the draw-bridge across the moat. It has slots in them to facilitate attacking the enemies who manage to get through on it. 
The most gorgeous room in the whole castle is the Knights’ Hall or Ridderzaal. This hall is where the Count would receive the important guests. This is filled with gorgeous paintings. Poet & writer Pieter Cornelisz Hooft lived here for 38 years and organized many literary sojourns. This room also served as the stage for plays including Hooft's tragedy Isabella. This room also served as the tax collection & judgement room! 

Unlike Pampus, this is much smaller and the castle per se can be visited pretty quickly. There are 2 routes in the main castle and they can be easily seen with an audio-guide. Both the routes begin and end at the central courtyard where the audioguides are provided & returned. The audioguides are configured with language and the route taken. 

Knight's route Muiderslot

Things to do in Amsterdam -Muiderslot

IAmsterdam Card things to do - Muiderslot Castle

Moat Drawbridge at Castle Muiderslot Amsterdam

The Knight's route takes about 45 mins and the Tower route takes just 20 mins. The Knight's Route goes inside the castle and talks about the livelihood of the counts & the knights, everything from their rooms, things that they used from armory to chests to kitchen utensils, as well as their furniture & beds, the use of the various rooms etc. The Tower route, as the name suggests, goes atop the tower and this is more fun for kids and has great views of the castle and beyond. As mentioned earlier, the tower does have dead-ends which have been connected today by temporary bridges. Around the castle is a moat, filled with water, which is today covered much with lilies. 
A major section of this premises is covered by a huge garden. The most beautiful thing here is the 'Green Tunnel' called Berceau. This is what separates the 2 major sections of the garden - Vegetable Garden called Warmoeshof & Herb Garden called Kruidhof. Originally this is where the royals took a walk, but today there are chairs & tables here for us to sit & relax & eat as well.  The Herb garden is amazingly aromatic. Walking here is just so pleasant!!!
Behind the gardens is the casemates - the original bunker to store weapons, which is today again a small area with seating arrangements. On another corner is the Water Pavilion which is a modern structure where a video is showcased about why this fort is a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Stelling Van Amsterdam - WATER being Holland's Friend & Foe. Further down, back towards the entrance is the Prune Orchard, which is where camping, dinner & bonfires happen!!!

During weekends some kid-friendly events happen here a few times a day. On the day I went there was a bird-show, with some falconry showcased and Atyudarini loved it. She was so fascinated that falcons could actually sit on a person's hand. (Update Nov 2020 - The Falconry show has now been cancelled).  
Tower Route has quite a few touch-screen games including trying to attack the enemies entering through on the draw-bridge with virtual catapult balls!!! This is in the room above the moat's draw-bridge. There is a treasure hunt trail as well (for an extra €2).

Things to do in Muiderslot

Muiderslot Castle Gardens

Muiderslot Castle Water Pavilion

Amsterdam castle Muiderslot Water Shield

Here's the best place to stay in Amsterdam - Camping in Amsterdam in the front-yard of Muiderslot, one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Netherlands, in a Quechua tent, enjoying the starry starry nights! 
Very similar to Pampus Island here too, summer dinners & overnight stay happens in summer, from late July to end of September. The evening starts at 6PM, when the castle closes for general public, with a drink. The dinner (with your dietary restrictions taken into consideration) is then provided in a basket which could be taken anywhere in the entire castle grounds. This if followed by a beautiful sunset guided tour of the castle and the night wraps with a bonfire! You could go to sleep in a tent (in your own sleeping bag) or just enjoy the view of the splendid castle all night, beside the pristine river, under the open sky, with the sparks of the bonfire - love is definitely in the air... 
The next day begins with a delicious, filling breakfast basket which again can be taken anywhere in the premises. There are common toilets in the castle but there are no showers. But what's the need of that when you can jump into IJmeer or Vecht! So yeah, you'd need to get your swimsuits & towels for that! The castle is again open to everyone at 10:00AM, so waking up early would be ideal to have the entire castle for yourself - Like A Queen/King!!!!!

From Muiden's ferry point, it takes just 20 minutes to reach Pampus Island. A perfect weekend getaway from Amsterdam, a 2 day trip from Amsterdam would be to spend one day on Pampus Island, one day in Muiderslot and sleeping under the stars, either in a sailing boat in Pampus or in a camping tent in Muiderslot. Or, make it a long weekend trip (3 day trip) from Amsterdam with Friday night at Muiderslot and Saturday night at Pampus.

Muiden Weesp

Camping in Amsterdam Muiderslot

Camping Amsterdam Castle Muiden Bonfire
Left Pic Courtesy: Ms.Fian Ceron via Instagram (used with permission)

Amsterdam to Muiderslot by car: 17km (30 mins drive)
Amsterdam to Muiderslot Ferry: Everyday there's 1 ferry that operates from Amsterdam IJburg to Muiderslot. Pre-booking of ferry is absolutely necessary. 
Amsterdam to Muiderslot by public transport: 
How to reach Muiden by bus - There are a couple of buses (no.s 320, 322, 327) from Amsterdam Amstel to Muiden P+R. 
Nearest railway station - Weesp (located 4km away), followed by Bus no:110 to Muiden Centre which runs once every hour. The castle is 10mins walk from Muiden Centre. The whole trip takes about an hour with a couple of changes.
Yet another option to reach Muiderslot would be by cycling along the picturesque Amsterdam-Rhine Canal! You could also take a train till Weesp & hire a cycle at Weesp (search online for Fietsverhuur) for less than €15 per day. Or it is also possible to hire a bike in Amsterdam and bring it on train till Weesp. Weesp to Muiden is 4km.

Netherlands is made for cycling and is super 'cycling-friendly'. It has this fantastic cycle hiring system called NS Fiets, where hiring a public-transport cycle costs just €3.85 per day. However it is possible to do this only if you have a Personal OV Chip Card (transport card similar to London Oyster or Brussels STIB card), which can only be purchased if you have a Dutch address or if you're from Belgium, Germany or Luxembourg. The fiets subscription works only with a personal OV chipkaart and not the anonymous one that can be bought over the counter. Here's the link to order the personal OV Chip card if you're from one of the 4 countries, and here's the link to load a Fiets subscription in your OV Chip Card. 

Muiderslot Castle tickets: €15.50 (included in IAmsterdam card).
Muiderslot opening hours: 
     Summers: All days 10:00AM to 5:00PM. 
     Otherwise: Tue - Sun: 10:00AM to 5:00PM. 
Camping in Amsterdam Castle Muiderslot: €99 (for 2 persons incl tents, dinner, breakfast, castle entry)

P.S: I was invited by Amsterdam&Partners for review purposes, however the opinions are my own and this post does not to advertise the product/service.

Camping in Amsterdam Muiderslot Pinterest Daytrip from Amsterdam Muiderslot Pinterest

Bhushavali

An ardent traveler by passion. I am a wanderlust.. Read more about me here.

12 comments:

  1. My son would love a trip to Muiderslot. Did you say treasure hunt trail? I'll add it on the list

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  2. What a cute little castle. I would have loved to do the Knight's route to ├▒earn all about how they lived. I also loved seeing that the place is still staged. Gives you a better Idea of how things were back then. Camping there must have been an amazing experience, just waking up to the sight of the castle sunds great.

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  3. Thank you Bhushavali for writing this very detailed blog post on your trip to Muiderslot. I much appreciated your section about things to do with children, being that I have little ones myself. My favorite being the treasure hunt trail. This is an activity that I am positive my kids would be thrilled to do. The photos you've included in this blog post did an amazing job at painting a picture of what this trip entailed, and all of the exciting sights to see. This is a must see when I travel to Amsterdam. Thank you very much for sharing this blog post!

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  4. I can see why you would want to visit Muiderslot. It does look like a fairy tale castle. Even if it was built initially for defence. I always love when they have restored the inside to show what life was like in that time. We would definitely want to take the Tower Route and get that panoramic view from the top. Definitely a fun getaway from Amsterdam for kids of all ages.

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  5. It's cool that they were able to preserve the castle. It would be a nice experience to visit someday. I would love to take both routes (if possible) as I am fascinated with their history and would love to learn more about the livelihood of the counts.

    Happy to know too that there are a lot of things that we can do with the kids. Thank you for sharing this.

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  6. I really appreciate the fact how the Dutch have been working with water and managing water with dykes and canals since 13th C, They do have excellent hydraulic engineering skills. Thank for this virtual tour inside Muiderslot. Tower route sounds fun to me for the views. Green Tunnel sounds interesting. Overall, its a good way to learn about the history of Amsterdam. One day in Pampus Island, one day in Muiderslot sounds like a good weekend getaway.

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  7. Its true that Dutch have amazing hydraulic engineering skills and they have been working with water and managing water with dykes and canals since 13th century. It was great to know about Muiderslot-castle and do a virtual trip. I appreciate the two routes but I think I will like the Tower route for the castle views. Green tunnel sounds interesting. I think one day in Pampus Island and one day in Muiderslot sounds like a good weekend getaway.

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  8. Camping in a castle ground sounds great. You got the castle for yourselves in the evening and in the morning before they open for public, plus food and the tent itself? I'm in! I also like how they have programs for children. Treasure hunt sounds fun for the children!

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  9. This is so cool! I always love visiting old forts and castles and learning about the history of the place and the way of life they would have had in the prime days. The Knight's Route sounds like a lot of fun. I would love to take a trip to the area and just spend some time exploring the Defence line of Amsterdam, including Muiderslot. Camping must have been quite the experience!

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  10. Defense line in Amsterdam looks interesting and it would be great to see 45 forts built in 135 km radius. I would love to go Muiderslot as it is more easily accessible from Amsterdam. As it is a perfect picnic spot or half-day trip from Amsterdam, I would surely go to this wonderful place. Even camping here must be greatby sleeping under the stars.

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  11. This history of Amsterdam is quite fascinating, the whole bit of defence line. The castle is quite interesting with both its routes. Do you have to pay separately to do both routes or is it a part of the whole tour? The stories and sights on both are quite lovely and I would hate to miss either.

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  12. What a cute little castle. I would have loved to do the Knight's route to ├▒earn all about how they lived. I also loved seeing that the place is still staged. Gives you a better Idea of how things were back then. Camping there must have been an amazing experience, just waking up to the sight of the castle sunds great.

    ReplyDelete

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