“Egmond aan Zee” is a popular seaside resort about 40 km north of Amsterdam. There are three villages called Egmond. In “Egmond Binnen” is an Abbey well-known for its beer and accommodations. In “Egmond aan de Hoef” you find the remains of the castle of the Counts of Egmond. It once was the most impressive castle on the Continent. Its history is tragic and heroic. Let me tell you about the castle first and let’s have a monk’s brew after on the beach.
History of the Castle of Egmond.
The Castle of Egmond was founded in the year 1170 as a fortress from which the Church controlled economic life. Gradually the knights living in the Castle took over the power from the church. First, every tenth fish had to be ceded to the monastery but when things were changed every tenth fish went to the knights in the castle. The Castle bathes in wealth. In the 15th century it is Hollands loveliest castle with an impressive tower of 28 meters. In 1486 the knight Jan the Third receives the title of Duke of Holland. In his footsteps the star of his son Lamoraal van Egmond rises till a conflict with Spain starts.
Holland is a colony of Spain in 1568. The Dutch revolt against the high taxes which the Spanish King Philippe imposes. When the Count of Egmond stands up for his people and resists the Spanish King he takes a fatal risk and he is beheaded in Brussels. This tragic event marks the beginning of the “Eighty Years War” between Holland and Spain. During this war the Castle of Egmond is destroyed by Dutch resistance (Geuzen) attacking the Spanish army in the back when the nearby city Alkmaar is under siege. It was strategically too great a risk that the Castle fell into the hands of the Spaniards. Thus the curtain fell for what was once Hollands loveliest Castle. A Castle we lost in our battle for independence 400 years ago. Now the foundations of the Castle and the Chapel from the year 1229, devoted to the holy Catherina, are open for visitors. The Chapel and the ruins are a romantic hotspot for young lovers. Falling deeper in love on the ruins and finally getting married in te Chapel.
How to get there: Take the train to Alkmaar – the Intercity is the fast train – and from Alkmaar Bus 165 to “Egmond aan de Hoef”. The bus driver will drop you off at the Castle.
Abbey near the beach of Egmond
(To be continued)