What country in Europe has the most castles? Please don’t be tempted to say it’s Holland, just because I’m blogging a lot about it. As always, you can consult Master Google for the right answer, but I’m telling you now that it’s not Holland. However, that doesn’t mean that Holland is not the home for lots of beautiful medieval castles. So while you’re in Holland, you should definitely take time to see them.
One of the largest and best preserved castles in Holland is Kasteel Hoensbroek (Hoensbroek Castle). It’s located in a town that bears the same name, adjacent to Heerlen and not far from a German city, Aachen. We took a train from Den Haag and was prepared to take a fifteen minutes walk from the tiny Hoensbroek train station to the castle, as advised by its website. It turned out they were using the standard of the average Dutch people. If I’m as tall and have long legs as most of them, it might have took us fifteen minutes only. In reality, it took us thirty minutes to get there, so after the fifteenth minute we started to wonder if we were actually lost!
Luckily, we soon spotted the castle’s towers so we knew that we were heading into the right direction. As we got closer, here’s the grand view that welcomed us:
The entrance fee costs around €8, which I think is really worth it since it includes a quite comprehensive booklet about the castle that you can use as a guide. From that booklet I learned basic facts such as when the castle was built (13th century), who initially owned it (the powerful Hoen family), and the various rooms and outdoor courtyards that you can find at the castle (the dark dungeon at the bottom of the castle that they used as a prison, the kitchen, the bedroom, the living room, the reading room and many more).
It was also from the booklet that I learned some interesting facts, such as why the spiral staircase to the towers was so narrow. The short explanation is this: in case the castle got invaded, the invading army won’t be able to get in and attack them at the same time. Instead, they would have to climb the stairs one by one, making it easier for the inhabitants to defeat them (here I imagine a Hoen knight wearing a medieval armor jacket waiting for the invaders on top of the stairs, ready to hit their head one by one with a huge two-ball medieval flail, lol!!!)
The booklet will also explain why there are holes at the corners of the big beautiful dining room. So once upon a time, there were wealthy lords who used to have big feasts in this room. They would eat and eat, have lots of drinks and be merry. When they’re too full, they would go to the hole and vomit — clearing some space in their greedy stomach so they could eat again. Ewww…
Think this story is too gross to be true? I guess you should go there and find out, lol!!