Valkenburg Castle, locally known as Kasteel van Valkenburg, lies in the town of Valkenburg, in the province of Limburg in the Netherlands.
The first fortifications at this site were probably built around 1115 by Gosewijn I, Lord of Valkenburg. They consisted of a rectangular keep surrounded by wooden structures. After a few years, in 1122, the castle was largely destroyed after a siege by Emperor Hendrik V.
In the following centuries the castle was rebuild and enlarged. In 1329 a new siege followed by the Duke of Brabant, Jan III, which destroyed the castle.
And again it was rebuild. And it are the remains of this castle that we see today. In 1378 the castle became the property of the Duke of Brabant.
After repeated sieges and takeovers, in 1465, 1568 and 1632, an almost total destruction followed in 1672 by the troops of King-Stadtholder Willem III. They blew up the castle to prevent it to fall in the hands of the French troops. The castle fell into decay and was never rebuild again.
From then on the castle ruin was used as a quarry by the local people. In 1795 the ruin was confiscated by the French troops of Napoleon. In 1797 they sold the ruin to Maximilian, Count of Hoen of Neufchateau, Lord of Schaloen. Until 1919 the Lords of Schaloen kept the castle ruin in their possession. In that year the castle ruin was bought by the Valkenburg Catacomb Foundation. The castle had already become a tourist attraction since 1863. In 1924 the castle became the property of the Valkenburg Castle Foundation.
In 1937, during restorations, workers discovered secret underground passages hewn into the rock beneath the castle. The medieval knights used these passages as escape routes and for breakouts during sieges. The rock consists of marl. The passages gave access to the Velvet Cave. This cave originated due to the mining of marl inside the rock. As a result of ages of mining there is a labyrinth of passages inside the rock. Inside the rock a chapel is hewn, which was used during the French occupation. Also in September 1944 the Velvet Cave was used as a hideout for the people of Valkenburg when the American troops were combating the German troops.
This is a very nice castle ruin and unique for the Netherlands as it is the only elevated castle in the country. Valkenburg Castle can be visited for a small fee.