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HISTORY

Brabant’s most beautiful castle is almost a thousand years old. The rich history of this powerful monument can be experienced in and around the castle. Heeswijk Castle occupies a prominent position in the Aa valley near Den Bosch, at the stunning heart of the Heeswijk Estate. It was from here that the lords of Heeswijk-Dinther surveyed their realm. The last owners, the barons Van den Bogaerde van Terbrugge, had ties with the Royal Family. The castle is now a museum.

1000-1100

Sometime around 1080, the inhabitants of the Aa valley decided to build a fortress at the location where Heeswijk Castle now stands to protect themselves from robbers and other invaders.

1100-1200

Count Almericus of Heeswijk was the first known lord of the castle, and was mentioned in old documents dating from 1156.  He died at the age of 30.

1200-1300

At the end of 1200, his great-great granddaughter Agnes van Heeswijk married Walraven van Bentheim, Lord of Dinther. They united the villages Heeswijk and Dinther.

1300-1400

Until around 1359, Heeswijk-Dinther was independent, after which it was granted to the Duke of Brabant. Around 1370, a war broke out in the region between the Dukes of Brabant and Gelderland.

1400-1500

In 1405, the knight Hendrik van der Lecke became Lord of Heeswijk Castle. His estate included many villages and castles from Moergestel to Asten.

1500-1600

The Habsburg family expanded their hereditary lands in the Netherlands (including Brabant) but met resistance from the Duke of Gelderland. The Guelders army attacked Antwerp in 1543 and plundered the Brabant countryside. The defences of the castle were put to the test. In the end Gelderland was incorporated in the Habsburg Netherlands.

1600-1700

The 17th century is the most renowned era in the history of Heeswijk Castle. This is the century of great wars, of the princes Maurice and Frederick Henry, of the family of Orange, and Jan ‘t Serclaes, Mathijs van Asperen and the French Sun King Louis XIV. Brabant did not escape the war, Heeswijk Castle was a much desired prize and served as military headquarters.

1700-1800

Europe was caught in the grip of a long period of unrest. Powerful monarchies contested their legacies. The southern part of Brabant was in Spanish and Austrian Habsburg hands, the northern part was occupied and exploited by the Dutch Republic. Heeswijk Castle was neglected by its owners.

1800-1900

The heirs of the Speelman family put up the castle and estate for sale in 1826. A painting (details above) in the castle clearly shows how it looked around 1800. The buyer was the Belgian baron André Van den Bogaerde van Terbrugge who in 1830 was appointed as the King’s Governor to North Brabant. He restored Heeswijk Castle and made it the family’s residence. The famous collection of art and antiquities made the castle famous as Musée de Bogaerde.

1900-2000

A bizarre will stated in 1895 that the great-grandson of baron André  was not allowed to inhabit the castle until his 80th birthday in 1963. The heirs however put the famous museum collection on sale in 1897 and 1903. Numerous weapons, armour, paintings, furniture, statues, porcelain, ceramics, silverware, ironwork, several thousand bottles of wine, thousands of cigars, etcetera, which had once been the castle showpieces, were scattered around the world. Whatever was not sold remained in the castle.

2000 – today

In 1997 the last baroness died and a foundation took care of the castle. The garden and buildings were restored, the castle was opened as a museum, a restaurant and café completed the new function of this monument. Now the castle receives numerous visitors and many cultural activities are organized.