The Castle and lords of Brederode

The origin of Brederode Castle

The House of Brederode was a noble family, who descended from the Lords Of Teylingen, who would again descend from the Counts of Holland. Dirk van Teylingen (also called Dirk I van Brederode, a younger son of Willem van Teylingen, is seen by historians as the founder of the House of Brederode, although this is not entirely certain. He was appointed in 1226 as a landdrost at the court of the Earl of Holland and, in the absence of the count, was his first substitute.
The counts of Holland continually fought against the surrounding regions and also against West Frisia. Count Willem II was killed in that battle. His son Floris V takes revenge, defeats the West-Frisians and builds a number of strong castles to nip further rebellions in the bud.

One of those castles, Brederode, is built at the end of the 13th century by Dirk van Brederodes son Willem (2nd Lord) and his wife Hillegonda van Voorne. The castle is located in a strategic position, near the house in Aelbertsberg. This hunting lodge of their leenheer count Floris V, probably was at the present Caprera at Bloemendaal. Willem was, as well as many of his male offspring, Bailiff (a senior civil servant) of Kennemerland.
His granddaughter Catharina married Jan I van Polanen and became a breeding mother of the House of Orange. One of the titles of King Willem-Alexander is still lord of Polanen.

John Valentine

Willem I van Brederode, photo House of Hilde, Castricum

Brederode Castle

Brederode Castle

The Castle devastated

Around 1350 a battle broke out to the county of Holland between Margaret of Bavaria and her 13-year-old son Willem V. This is the beginning of the Hoekse and Kabeljauwse twists. Dirk III (5th Lord) chooses a party for Margaret and becomes the captain of de Hoeken. Dirk is defeated and captured and Castle Brederode is destroyed. Three years later Dirk is released and in 1354 he builds up his castle again. But the Hoekse and Kabeljauwse twists continue until the end of the 15th century and in 1426 the castle is destroyed again. This time by the Haarlemse Kabeljauwers.

From 1414, the Lords of Brederode live on Batestein Castle in Vianen, which was held by the marriage of Walraven I (8th Lord) with Johanna van Vianen.

Brederode becomes a ruin

In 1464, Reinoud II (9th Lord) makes castle Brederode in slimmed-down form again habitable as nobleman’s mansion. After his death, his widow Yolande van Lalaing, who was the daughter of a stadtholder from The Hague, engages the castle. She is the last housekeeper until 1492. The castle is damaged by German mercenaries during the ‘Opstand van het Kaas en Broodvolk’. Habitation is no longer possible. The final blow for the castle is in 1573 after the siege of Haarlem by Spanish soldiers during the Eighty Years ‘ War. The castle turns into a ruin.

Brederode as Edelmanswoning

Marius Bruijn, 2018


The Lords of Brederode, however, continue to play a major role in the Netherlands. HENRY II the Great Geus (12th Lord)is the leader of the rebellion in the Low Countries against the Spanish KING Philip II, even before William of Orange mixes himself in the battle. In Batestein Castle The supplicator of the nobles is drawn up against the Inquisition and offered by Hendrik to the Guardians Margaret of Parma, the half-sister of Philip. The nobles are made out for Gueux (French for Beggars). From that moment on, ‘ Geus ‘ is used as an honorary title in the Netherlands. It is the advance of the Eighty Years ‘ War, which erupted in 1568 two-year-later. The half-brother of Henry II, bastard Lancelot van Brederode, fights during the siege of Haarlem on the side of the insurgents. Haarlem holds seven months, but is forced to capitulate by famine and Lancelot has to open his opposition to death, he is beheaded.

The Last Lords of Brederode

The most powerful and richest Brederode is Johan Wolfert (16th Lord). In the 17th century he was commander-in-chief of the State Army and brother-in-law of the Prince of Orange, Stadhouderskade Frederik Hendrik. During the Eighty Years ‘ War, Johan Wolfert had a large share in the conquest of a number of cities on the Spaniards, including’s Hertogenbosch. Between 1630 and 1655 he was governor of this city. The land ownership Castle Brederode gives Johan Wolfert access to the knighthood of Holland. He thus receives a voice in the states (then the Government of the Republic of the seven United Netherlands).
The Brederodes live alternately on their estates scattered throughout the Republic. In The Hague they live first at the Lange Vijverberg and later in the court of Brederode – at the place where the Royal Theatre is now – the meeting point of the Hague Society.

John Wolfert of Brederode

Coat of arms of Brederode

Johan Wolfert’s youngest son Wolfert becomes the 18th and last Lord. In 1679, at the age of 29, Wolfert dies childless. There are no legitimate male succession successors, whereby the Brederode sex dies out. The shield with the coat of arms of Brederode is broken and laid in its grave. The ruin of Brederode becomes the property of the States of Holland and later of the Dutch state.

Brederode becomes a national monument

In the 19th century the ruin of Brederode is one of the first national monuments of the Netherlands where experience with restoration is gained. The restoration is carried out by Pierre Cuypers, known from the Rijksmuseummay Building and the central station, both in Amsterdam. Because one did not know exactly how the castle once looked, there were also mistakes made. For instance, the courtyard was dug out too deeply, because it was wrongly thought that there would be cellars. There are also loopholes in the walls around the courtyard that originally never sat.

Today, many descendants of the Lords of Brederode still live, but only in the female and bastard lines, see The ruin has been in the possession of the monument propertysince 2016, is managed by the volunteers and managers of Stichting Heerlijkheid Brederode and is to be seen from March to October.

Top view ruin of Brederode

The 18 Lords of Brederode

1st – Dirk I (1180-1236)
2nd – Willem (1226-1285)
3rd – Dirk II (1252-1318)
4th – Henry I (OVL. 1345)
5th – Dirk III (1308-1377)
6th – Reinoud I (1336-1390)
7th – Jan (c. 1370 – 1415)
8th – Walraven I (1373-1417)
9th – Reinoud II (1415-1473)
10th – Walraven II (1455-1531)
11th – Reinoud III (c. 1492 – 1556)
12th – Henry II (1531-1568)
13th – Reinoud IV (1520-1584)
14th – Walraven III (1547-1614)
15th – Walraven IV (1596-1620)
16th – Johan Wolfert (1599-1655)
17th-Henry III (1638-1657)
18th – Wolfert (1649-1679)