Medieval Bergh castle is surrounded by a moat and half of it is enclosed by an embankment. Its building history goes back as far as the 13th century.
Little is known about the earliest history of Bergh Castle. It is believed that around 1100 AD a wooden tower was raised on a little island in a swamp. Around 1200 AD this wooden tower, or donjon, came to be replaced by a round tower. The remains of this tuff tower can still be seen in the wall left to the present main entrance door to the great hall. In subsequent years the main castle building was enlarged upon.
At the onset of the Eighty Years’ War Bergh Castle was seriously damaged.
In 1735 the main castle building was completely destroyed by fire.
In 1939 the castle was once again struck by fire. Van Heek, who had acquired the castle in 1912, immediately took on restoring the castle.
Bergh Castle is the ancestral home of the Bergh lords and later counts. One of the best known Bergh counts was Willem van den Bergh, who in 1556 married Maria van Nassau, the sister of William of Orange. The year 1712 marked the end of the Van den Bergh line. Via the female line, the castle and its possessions passed into the hands of the South German aristocratic family Von Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen.
The Hohenzollerns were never really interested in their Dutch possessions. They sold the majority of the Bergh estate grounds. The castle was eventually rescued when in 1912 Jan Herman van Heek bought it, its rights and its possessions from Prince Wilhelm.
Jan Herman van Heek, an industrialist from Enschede, was deeply fascinated by the Middle Ages. This fascination inspired him both in the way in which he restored the castle and in the art he collected.
In 1946 Van Heek transferred his ownership to the Bergh Castle Foundation, aiming to preserve castle, art collection and surrounding woodlands for posterity.
Bergh castle is located on the German border in a beautiful area that is ideally suited to hiking and cycling. In nearby Zeddam Bergh Castle’s towermill can be visited. It is the oldest working Dutch windmill.
The permanent collection of Bergh Castle includes early Italian painting, Northern European painting, historic portraits, medieval manuscripts, coins and sculptures. The collection was built between 1912 and 1957 by the then owner of the castle Jan Herman van Heek. The beautifully ornate manuscripts and incunables are of great national and international importance.
The Antoniuszaal (Anthony Room) houses a substantial part of the collection. It is a very calming and inspiring room. A 15th century rood screen leads to the central part of the room with medieval sculptures, ivories, late medieval paintings and of course the manuscript collection. Each year Bergh Castle organizes a temporary exhibition.
Huis Bergh Castle has a wealth of stories to tell about its art, its history and its gardens. A lot has happened in the 800 years of Huis Bergh Castle’s existence, so there’s plenty to talk about. You can hear stories about Huis Bergh Castle’s rich history, incredible art collection and carefully restored gardens in various audio tours. They are available in the castle or can be downloaded via the app.
Huis Bergh Castle offers disabled access. There are two disabled parking spaces at the bottom of the castle drive. There is a wheelchair lift by the steps to enable access to the ground floor of the castle. N.B. the tower can only be accessed via the stairs.
Huis Bergh Castle is one of the largest castles in the Netherlands. Discover the roots of our royal family and enjoy the extensive art collection. Click here for more information on opening times and ticket costs.
Give your guests a royal welcome at Huis Bergh Castle in ‘s-Heerenberg, with flags flying, a royal reception on the drawbridge and a warm welcome in the majestic entrance hall.