Kessel Castle, locally known as Kasteel Keverberg/Keverborg or just Kasteel Kessel, lies in the village of Kessel, in the province of Limburg in the Netherlands.
Kessel Castle is a typical shell-keep and motte castle. It is situated on the end of a sand ridge at the left bank of the Maas river. It was probably preceded by a wooden strength which stood at this site around 1000 AD. That wooden structure was replaced by a stone one around 1100 and belonged to the Counts of Kessel. Between 1150 and 1200 the construction of the presently remaining, oval enclosure was started by Count Hendrik II. The enclosure measures about 28 by 24 meters. The wall was equipped with a wall walk resting on arches and battlements. In those times the entrance to the castle was between two, small, projecting towers at the northside. The castle was probably more used as a refuge in times of peril while people lived on the bailey.
In 1250 a residential building was built inside the enclosure at its northside. This led to relocating the entrance to the castle to a new gate building at the eastside. Under the new wing came a barrel vaulted cellar.
In 1279 Kessel Castle and all its rights were sold by the last Count of Kessel; Hendrik V, to the Count of Gelre. Around 1320 a massive, rectangular, projecting keep (7.30 by 4.60 meters) was built on the northeast corner. Its 1,5 meters thick walls were made of brick and were, from the second floor up, faced with marl.
During the 80 Years War the castle was damaged by fires and in the beginning of the 17th century it was repaired and rebuild. By then the castle consisted of four residential quarters within the oval enclosure.
In 1798 Kessel Castle was inherited by the Keverberg family, after it had been in the possession of the Van Merwijck family for over two centuries. In 1875 the castle came into the possession of the Congregation of the Sisters of Divine Providence who used it as a convent and girl boarding school. They even had the castle renovated in 1927. In 1944 however the castle was blown up by German troops after which the remains burnt down. It has been a ruin ever since. Since then there have been some consolidation works and excavations by the well-known (well, in the Netherlands anyhow) Dutch professor JGN. Renaud. Since 1954 the ruins are property of the local council.
This is one of the oldest remaining castles in the Netherlands and comparable with Leiden Castle.
Kessel Castle is a very nice ruin. In 2014 however a partial rebuilding started. We will see how that will turn out.