In 1350 Dirk van Herlaer ordered Castle Ammersoyen to be built along a branch of the river Maas. Contrary to other medieval castles, Castle Ammersoyen was built according to a fixed plan. Four wings were erected around an inner-court with four heavy towers at the corners.
In 1386 the van Herlaer family lost Castle Ammersoyen to the duke of Gelderland who captured the strategically situated castle.
The Duke gave the castle to his illegitimate son, who sold it to Johan van Broekhuyzen, Lord of Waardenburg, in 1424. In the next four hundred years Ammersoyen only passed into other hands by inheritance.
In 1496 Walrave van Broekhuyzen married Otto Van Arkel, member of a well-known family. Under the succeeding five generations of this family Castle Ammersoyen was given its final structure.
In 1574 the Spanish followed. Most damage however was done by a fire in 1590.
Because of a shortage of money the Arkel family was not able to restore the heavily damaged castle until the 17th Century. At that time the necessity to rebuild a medieval defensive structure no longer existed. The castle’s outline remained, but the living quarters were made more convenient: smaller and lower rooms were built, windows enlarged, new chimneys and stairs were added. The medieval flights of stairs between the walls were bricked up. The castle’s interior greatly changed: the hall of knights was divided and a wide staircase was added to lead to the upper floor.
In 1672 the French came to Holland and burnt down many castles. Thomas Van Arkel paid them 7000 guilders to save Ammersoyen, so the castle survived but Van Arkel remained heavenly in debt and unable to finish his redecoration plans for Ammersoyen. At his death in 1693 the last member of the Van Arkel family died and the castle was inherited by another family.
The poor Clares moved into the castle in 1876 and founded their second convent in the Netherlands.This ended a period of more than five hundred years of private ownership and the castle now became inaccesible to the outer world.
In 1957 the Gelderland Castle Trust bought the decrepit castle, started an extensive restoration two years later and completed the work successfully in 1975. During which the old wall staircases appeared behind the plaster as well as chimneys, wall-cupboards, window-openings and loopholes. Thus the castle was given back its medieval character without many difficulties.
On February 20th 1976 HRH Prince Claus opened the restored castle and many people have visited it since.
One ghost, dubbed “The Lady in Bleu” has been experienced by several people. One of the sons of the manager of the castle, couldn’t stay in one of the rooms without feeling sick. He blamed it on the ghost, and the manager and family tried to have the ghost removed from the premise, ever since.
Two Argentina Ladies once felt the presence of a young couple, supposedly buried under one of the castle’s bridges.
There has been talk of the ghost of a vicar of Hedel (a small town next to Ammerzoden), making his presence felt within the walls of the castle. He died within Kasteel Ammersoyen.
Castle staff often feel uncomfortable in one of the tower rooms in the top floor of the Castle. One has had the feeling that there is something “wrong”, she can’t really explain it, but it’s as if somebody is with her, when in fact she is all alone.
A former employee of the museum always felt unpleasant while working alone in the castle. He was convinced of hearing footsteps, although no-one else was present.
First Broadcast: 5th October 2004