Huys ter Horst Castle
Huys ter Horst Castle, locally known as Kasteel Huys ter Horst, lies north of the village of Horst, in the province of Limburg in the Netherlands.
The first mention of Huys ter Horst Castle is in 1326. This oldest castle had a peculiar outlay; it had the shape of a irregular pentagon with a, partially remaining, square tower at a point where two walls connected. The foundations and the walls were constructed of big blocks of marl. It had an entrance at the east side of the keep. At the south- and westside of the enclosed courtyard lay living quarters fitted with small (later bricked up) windows, niches for lamps and a fireplace in the southwall. There was probably a bailey at the north side of the main structure which was strengthened in the 15th century with a gatehouse and a drawbridge. Its defensive character was enhanced by an embankment. There was a moat circling the site.
Before 1461 the complex seems to have been enlarged with new residential wings built against the outside of the original outer walls. After a siege in 1472 the castle was severely damaged. Around 1530, under Johan de Oude van Wittenhorst, this damage was repaired. The round tower at the southwestern corner probably dates from around that time. In 1579 however the castle was pillaged by roaming troops. From then on the castle deteriorated until 1660, when rebuilding started under Willem Vincent van Wittenhorst who thoroughly modernized the castle into a castelated mansion. The changes to the castle were mainly made at the north- and westside.
At the end of the 18th century the castle passed into the hands of the Westphalian family Von Furstenberg after which the castle fell into disrepair. In 1827 the castle was partially torn down.
After WW II the ruins of Huys ter Horst Castle, together with all the other Dutch possessions of the Von Westerholt family, the last private owners of the castle, were confiscated. In 1962 the town of Horst became owner of the castle ruins which had been suffering from vandalism and overgrowth. Between 1969 and 1978 the castle's architecural history was extensively examined. In the 80's the ruins were cleared of debris and consolidated. Lately the castle was again consolidated and partly restored.
I visited this castle several times. The overgrown ruins had more charm, but were inaccessible. At present they are accessible but, also due to the steel constructions, they miss charm, in my opinion.