Dussen Castle

Dussen Castle, locally known as Kasteel Dussen, lies next to the village with the same name, in the North Brabant province in the Netherlands.

Dussen Castle didn't evolve out of an older building as many other castles did. We know its construction started in 1387 after Lord Arent van der Dussen got permission to build a fortified house, from Duke Albrecht. It was built as a square, with sides of some 28 meters, an entrance at its north side in between two heavy, round, projecting towers. The residential wings on the 3 other sides enclosed the raised courtyard. There probably was a square keep at the south east corner. The thickness of the walls of this keep and the outer walls of the castle varied from 2,7 till 3 meters. The eastern tower near the entrance gate had a pit prison.

This proud castle of Lord Arent van der Dussen was heavily damaged as a result of the flood of Saint-Elizabeth in 1421. Its rebuilding started half a century later in which the castle was significantly altered. During that, the outer walls were cut out on the inside, which reduced their thickness from 3 to 1,2 meters, to gain space. From these 15th century restorations not much remained because on April 7, 1573 Dussen Castle was besieged and taken by Spanish troops under command by Nicolaas and Harra Basta during the Eighty-Years War. This siege severely damaged the castle, especially its north west corner.

In 1607 the castle was sold to Lord Walraven, Baron of Ghent for fl 40.000,-. Lord Walraven partly rebuilt the castle; he didn't rebuilt the north western tower but did built an arcade around the courtyard. Due to financial needs Lord Walraven sold Dussen Castle in 1620 to Eduart Jacot van Axel from Alkmaar. Until the 20th century the castle remained in the possession of his descendants.

During the 18th and the 19th century the owners of Dussen Castle didn't reside there but in their properties in the Southern Netherlands (present-day Belgium). This caused the castle to fall in disrepair but also kept it from drastic renovations which would have destroyed its original appearance, as was the case with a lot of other Dutch castles in those days.

In 1901 the castle was handed over by the owners to a conventual order whose nuns resided in Dussen Castle until 1920. After that the castle stood empty for 4 years before it was bought by the Suringar family from Koudekerke. An eccentric female member of this family lived in the castle until her death in 1931. During nights she had herself guarded by 6 male residents of the village of Dussen and ordered that her donkey slept in a tower room while the guards slept in the arcade.

In 1931 the castle was put up for a public auction but because of a demolition ban, no buyers were found. In 1935 the castle was bought by the local authority of Dussen for fl 15.000,-. They started to restore the castle to make it usable as a town hall. These restorations were undone by heavy shelling in 1944; both towers were badly damaged and one wing collapsed. From 1947 until 1953 Dussen Castle was again rebuilt.

At present the castle is being used as a town hall.


Gallery

View the embedded image gallery online at:
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Dussen Castle

Dussen Castle, locally known as Kasteel Dussen, lies next to the village with the same name, in the North Brabant province in the Netherlands.

Dussen Castle didn't evolve out of an older building as many other castles did. We know its construction started in 1387 after Lord Arent van der Dussen got permission to build a fortified house, from Duke Albrecht. It was built as a square, with sides of some 28 meters, an entrance at its north side in between two heavy, round, projecting towers. The residential wings on the 3 other sides enclosed the raised courtyard. There probably was a square keep at the south east corner. The thickness of the walls of this keep and the outer walls of the castle varied from 2,7 till 3 meters. The eastern tower near the entrance gate had a pit prison.

This proud castle of Lord Arent van der Dussen was heavily damaged as a result of the flood of Saint-Elizabeth in 1421. Its rebuilding started half a century later in which the castle was significantly altered. During that, the outer walls were cut out on the inside, which reduced their thickness from 3 to 1,2 meters, to gain space. From these 15th century restorations not much remained because on April 7, 1573 Dussen Castle was besieged and taken by Spanish troops under command by Nicolaas and Harra Basta during the Eighty-Years War. This siege severely damaged the castle, especially its north west corner.

In 1607 the castle was sold to Lord Walraven, Baron of Ghent for fl 40.000,-. Lord Walraven partly rebuilt the castle; he didn't rebuilt the north western tower but did built an arcade around the courtyard. Due to financial needs Lord Walraven sold Dussen Castle in 1620 to Eduart Jacot van Axel from Alkmaar. Until the 20th century the castle remained in the possession of his descendants.

During the 18th and the 19th century the owners of Dussen Castle didn't reside there but in their properties in the Southern Netherlands (present-day Belgium). This caused the castle to fall in disrepair but also kept it from drastic renovations which would have destroyed its original appearance, as was the case with a lot of other Dutch castles in those days.

In 1901 the castle was handed over by the owners to a conventual order whose nuns resided in Dussen Castle until 1920. After that the castle stood empty for 4 years before it was bought by the Suringar family from Koudekerke. An eccentric female member of this family lived in the castle until her death in 1931. During nights she had herself guarded by 6 male residents of the village of Dussen and ordered that her donkey slept in a tower room while the guards slept in the arcade.

In 1931 the castle was put up for a public auction but because of a demolition ban, no buyers were found. In 1935 the castle was bought by the local authority of Dussen for fl 15.000,-. They started to restore the castle to make it usable as a town hall. These restorations were undone by heavy shelling in 1944; both towers were badly damaged and one wing collapsed. From 1947 until 1953 Dussen Castle was again rebuilt.

At present the castle is being used as a town hall.


Gallery

View the embedded image gallery online at:
http://castles.nl/dussen-castle#sigFreeIde23671e196