Gouda Castle, locally known as Kasteel van Gouda, lies in the center of the city of Gouda, in the province of South Holland in the Netherlands.
Gouda Castle was built between 1361 and 1384 on the orders of the John II of Châtillon, Count of Blois. It replaced an earlier motte castle. The castle was an integral part of the town walls and controlled the shipping on the Hollandse IJssel river that flowed beneath its walls and also the entrance to the harbour of the town. It encompassed a rectangular walled area with 6 towers; 2 square and 2 round corner towers, and 2 round towers in the middle of the curtain walls.
Between 1425 and 1428 the castle was the base for Jacqueline, Countess of Hainaut, in her fight against Philip the Good, who contested her Dutch inheritance. Gouda Castle was never the permanent residence of a lord, it was always kept by stewards. The last official owner of the castle was Philip II of Spain.
In 1438 the town of Gouda suffered a big fire which also damaged the castle.
In 1572 the town of Gouda choose to side with William I, Prince of Orange. Then, in 1577, the town council illegaly demolished the castle. Officially to prevent the Spanish from retaking Gouda Castle but in truth to get rid of this stronghold from which the count could exert power in the town. Only 2 towers were left standing. Later an earthen bastion was built next to the site of the former castle.
In 1777 one of the 2 remaining towers was demolished, followed in 1808 by the last one. Thus Gouda Castle dissappeared. Excavations in 1938 uncovered the foundation of a round tower next to the houses built on the former castle terrain.
In the local folklore it was said that there should be remains of flight tunnels on the former castle terrain, going from there underneath the river to the other shore. Here and there parts of tunnels were indeed found on the former castle terrain but not under the river. In the late 20th century two inhabitants of houses on the site were very curious and started digging in their basements. They discovered several subterranean walls, tunnels and spaces. These turned out to be exterior walls and castle cellars.
At present the tower foundation is situated in a public park, the cellars are private property. Until last year these could be visited during National Heritage days. Although the website still claims they can be visited, when I visited the owner told me that this was the last time he would open them for visitors. I really loved visiting these very interesting remains!