Visit the Middle Ages at Amsterdam castle Muiderslot
Twenty minutes from Amsterdam by car, Amsterdam castle Muiderslot is a perfect destination for a day trip with your (lady) knights, princes and princesses. We took our knight and princess for a guided tour and the Knight route at what is called Amsterdam castle. This must be a name carefully chosen for foreign visitors, for Muiden definitely is outside of Amsterdam. But a pretty town, nevertheless. We chose the car for a family visit to the Muiderslot, but I saw some tourist rental bikes at the entrance. It’s a 18 kilometer bike ride, so maybe not a bad idea on a sunny day. The castle’s website even offers a bicycle route from and back to Amsterdam (as a download). If you decide to come by car, take some time to find a space or park outside of the town centre. Parking is limited in Muiden.
17th Century luxury
The Amsterdam castle Muiderslot is definitely worth a visit, but it is rather pricey. If you a tourist – or should I say traveler – it might be a good idea to buy an IAmsterdam card. Card holders can enter for free as do holders of the Dutch museum card. Without discounts, adults pay € 13,-, children 4-11 pay € 9,- and children up to 3 years can visit for free.
The Muiderslot was built around 1285 by Count Floris V, an ally of King Edward and later of the French Court. While hunting with falcons one day in 1296, Floris was captured by his nobles and imprisoned in his own castle. In their flight from the advancing hordes, he was brutally murdered in the vicinity of Muiderberg. Over 300 years later, Pieter Corneliszoon Hooft took up residence in the Muiderslot. This ‘Dutch Shakespeare’ is the castle’s most famous resident. Hooft was named bailiff of Muiden as well as bailiff of Gooiland in 1609 and held that position for almost 40 years until his death in 1647.
By scanning your tickets at a booth on the castle grounds, you can reserve a spot for a thirty-minute guided tour. This tour is suitable for kids and can be conducted in English. You will be shown the living room, kitchen and bed room of P.C. Hooft who lived at the castle in the Dutch Golden Age. Be sure to tell your children not to touch anything, but hopefully they will be too busy listening to the stories of how children lived in the 17th century. Ours were and enjoyed the story on how children used to drink beer for breakfast in the 17th century. If you start your visit at Muiderslot with this tour guiding you through 17th century luxury, you can continue choosing one of the self-guided tours for children.
Free app with guided-tours
There are four different self-guided tours for children that guide you through the medieval parts of the castle. You can buy booklets at the entrance for € 2,-, with the extra benefit of your children being able to add stamps in it. And they receive a Muiderslot medal in the shop after finishing the tour. But the Muiderslot free app will do just fine, because the tours themselves will be a lot of fun. The free app – available in iTunes and Android store – is in English, German and Spanish. We did the Knight tour (Ridderroute), which you start off with climbing 83 steps. You can dress up as a knight or a princess in one of the rooms. In the next room you can try out your knight skills in interactive horse riding came and wear a knights helmet. Clearly set up to appeal to children, this route is family proof. On the other hand, adults can pick up some knowledge on the medieval period of the Muiderslot. Outside, at the back of the castle, there is a rather out-of-place construction, which educates visitors on the history of the (water) defence line of Amsterdam (UNESCO World Heritage). Strangely enough, our children voted this ‘water shield’ the best part of our visit. To demonstrate that water is one of the Netherlands most dangerous enemies, you can hide behind a rather spectacular curtain of rain. I cannot describe it any better, I guess you have to go see for yourselves…