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Slot Loevestein

Loevestein Castle


Rijksmuseum Loevestein Castle is located at the westernmost tip of the wetland nature reserve Munnikenland, at the juncture of the rivers Waal and Dammed-up Meuse and of three provinces – Gelderland, North Brabant, and South Holland.

Loevestein is more than a medieval castle. Built in 1358, it was soon expanded into a military fortress – and in the seventeenth century it served as a state prison for political and religious dissidents. Its best-known prisoner was the great Dutch humanist, diplomat, lawyer, theologian, jurist, statesman, poet, and playwright Hugo Grotius, who famously escaped from the castle in a book chest. Grotius published numerous important books, which continue to influence the field of international law to this day.

Loevestein stands on the Dutch Water Defence Lines and is thus part of this 200-kilometer-long UNESCO World Heritage site. With its earth walls, double canals, bombproof shelter, and street with soldiers’ houses, the fortress still exudes the atmosphere of an eighteenth-century soldiers’ village.

The collections of Loevestein comprise three types of heritage: the castle and fortress itself, the museum collections, and the historical stories. The collections consist of archaeological finds, charts, historical books (including many by Grotius), paintings, photographs, archival materials, and historical household objects, such as silverware from 1671. The most important paintings include the portrait of Hugo Grotius (1631, studio of Michiel van Mierevelt), Hugo Grotius in Paris (1860, Moritz Calisch), and View of Loevestein (seventeenth century, Jan van Meerhout). The castle itself contains several unique historical murals from different periods.

Kiki Hehemann, Head of Museum Affairs (August 2023)