DUTCH CASTLES DUCATS (2020-2023) by Koninklijke Nederlandse Munt

We have to go back to 1586 for the birth of the Ducat coin in the Netherlands and to 1659 for its introduction in silver and today, centuries later, they’re still being produced with the same weight, composition and general design, although now for collectors. Spread around the world by the dominance of Dutch international trade, it’s an icon of numismatics. The Royal Dutch Mint has long issued modern silver ducats, often in themed sets and following ‘Twelve Provinces’ comes ‘Dutch Castles’

These are fundamentally different in design to Twelve Provinces. That series was based around a historical figure holding a shield bearing the coat-of-arms of the represented region. Here, we have a depiction of the castle in question. There remains an armoured figure holding a shield in smaller form, and the shield also carries relevant heraldry, but the figure remains the same across this series. Sporting a quite monumental mullet, Godard de Ginkell, a military man of some repute, does the honours.

A common inscription “MO.NO.ARG.REG.BELGII.” (the Latin abbreviation for “Moneta Nova Argenta Regni Belgii”, New Silver coin of the Kingdom of the Netherlands), surrounds the central image, and added onto the end is the name of the region the castle is located in.

The coins are still produced in the unusual 0.873 fineness silver and with a weight of 28.25 grams. They’re struck to a proof finish, and the mintage has been reduced from 4,000 pieces, to just 2,000. Another interesting series, raising awareness of national history in a way that numismatics do so well. As we publish, the next series, called ‘Dutch city gates and access roads’ has just debuted. There’s also a special two-coin set with a unique medal available for this series, available here.



To visit De Haar Castle, whether to admire its park, its rich history, the exhibitions, gardens, deer or for a wedding, is to be immersed in a different world. Behind every door, every detail, every flower in its colorful gardens is a story. A story about earlier times, different cultures and interesting characters. De Haar is the largest castle in the Netherlands, once the private residence of the Van Zuylen family, whose descendants still stay here yearly.

In the last century, the castle also frequently hosted members of the international jet-set with their lavish lifestyle; from Coco Chanel to Roger Moore, they too left their mark on the sumptuous rooms of the most opulent spot in Utrecht. (Description of this, and all castles below, are by the Royal Dutch Mint)


In the wooded area nearby the city of ‘s-Hertogenbosch (North-Brabant, the Netherlands), Heeswijk Castle is a prominent image. The castle reflects almost a thousand years of power, pride and culture representing the elite from the Dutch province of North-Brabant. Heeswijk Castle has a turbulent history which leads us back to the year 1080. It started out as a wooden stronghold, became an impressive fort and eventually turned out a dignified country seat. The castle was regularly besieged, damaged, restored and remodeled. The seventeenth century, the century of the Eighty Years’ War in the Netherlands, was one of the most illustrious centuries in the history of the castle.

In the year 1672, in Dutch history known as the Rampjaar (“disaster year”), it was in Heeswijk Castle that the French King Louis XIV and the English envoys signed the plan to divide the conquered Netherlands. In the nineteenth century the estate and castle were bought by baron Van den Bogaerde van Terbrugge. He and his sons transformed Heeswijk Castle into a luxury and romantic palace and filled it with an extensive collection of artworks and antiques. After the death of the last baron the castle was turned into a museum. Now everyone can explore the halls, corridors, chambers, basements and towers. Heeswijk Castle is one of the most visited castle-museums in the Netherlands and Flanders.


Wikipedia Commons (cropped) by Sir Gawain

Hoensbroek Castle is one of the most beautiful castles in Europe. The castle has over forty authentically decorated rooms: from a beautiful and elegant ballroom to a dark, lurid dungeon. Save for a few periods, Hoensbroek Castle was inhabited for seven centuries. Its history starts in the fourteenth century with knight Herman Hoen, the first lord of the Van Hoensbroeck family. For almost six hundred years the castle was wandered by knights, counts and marquesses.

All residents together form a colourful lineage of noble ladies and gentlemen. Famous Dutch writer and poet Bertus Aafjes and his family resided in the castle between 1951 and 1973. The castle has served many purposes, two of the most important being a defensive castle and a residential building. The immense medieval tower is a landmark in the scenery and draws you towards the castle. As soon as you enter, its splendor is stunning. It is as if time stood still.


The grand Amsterdam Castle Muiderslot is one of the most famous castles in the Netherlands. Fun fact: it is known as the residence of Sinterklaas when he visits the Netherlands in November and December. The castle has a long history. In 1285, the Muiderslot arose with a sole purpose: to defend! The castle was commissioned by Floris V (1254 – 1296), Count of Holland. After his death, parts of the castle were destroyed. Through the centuries the castle has been used, inhabited, taken, demolished, rebuilt and spruced.

The castle was also expanded. The Dutch poet and writer Pieter Corneliszoon Hooft (1581–1647), better known as P.C. Hooft, moved into Muiderslot Castle in 1609. He was responsible for the construction of the gardens. In 1878, the castle became one of the first national museums (“rijksmuseums”) in the Netherlands. It was renovated thoroughly by the architect Pierre Cuypers, famous for his work at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and Amsterdam Central Station. The architect was however also responsible for the current exterior of the beautiful De Haar Castle in Haarzuilens, Utrecht.


Loevestein Castle plays an important role in one of the most famous stories in Dutch history: the escape of Hugo Grotius in 1621. The castle celebrates the 400th anniversary of this special event this year. Around 1361, knight Diederic Loef of Horne (Dirc Loef van Horne) had a blockhouse built at a strategic location where the Meuse (Dutch: Maas) and Waal rivers converged. Within ten years he extended it, turning it into a castle. In the 16th century, the Provinces of the Low Countries were embroiled in a bitter struggle with the Spanish king. William of Orange had Loevestein Castle fortified and discovered that it would make an excellent prison.

Almost all rooms were used as a cell. The large hall on the second floor is still called the “Staatsgevangenis” (State Prison) to this day. Prisoners included political and religious dissidents, as well as prisoners of war. Its most famous prisoner was writer and jurist Hugo Grotius (Hugo de Groot) who put Loevestein on the map with his spectacular escape in a book chest. During his imprisonment, Hugo regularly received a chest filled with books. The guards thoroughly inspected the chest every time, but as nothing out of the ordinary was ever found, they became more careless in their inspections each time. Hugo’s wife and their maid devised a plan to help Hugo escape inside that notorious book chest. With great success! In 2021, Loevestein Castle celebrates the “Hugo Grotius Year” to commemorate this grand spectacle.


Wickipedia Commons (cropped) by Akbar Simonse

Westhove Castle, situated in Oostkapelle, has a turbulent history of many owners and renovations. It is not known exactly when the castle was built, but this must have been sometime before 1300. Around that time the castle was part of the abbey in Middelburg. The abbey was enormously powerful at that time and the castle was a means to maintain that power. Medieval castles were, after all, intended as defensible homes. In the fifteenth century, it was no longer necessary for the castles to be used and the castle was used by the abbots as a summer residence.

In 1559 Middelburg became an episcopal city and thus the bishop owned Westhove. During the Siege of Middelburg in 1572, the castle was occupied by the “Watergeuzen” (Calvinist Dutch noblemen who opposed Spanish rule during the Eighty Years’ War), led by Groningen nobleman Bartholt Entens van Mentheda. He set the castle on fire, destroying much of the original structure. Hereafter, the castle has been in the hands of many private individuals who each left their mark on the castle. Gardens were planted and the castle was expanded with many outbuildings, including an orangery. From 1899 the building was used as a convalescent home for children. Today, the castle and its coach houses function as a youth hostel. The Terra Maris Museum has been housed in the orangery since 2004.


Wikipedia Commons (cropped) by M. Minderhoud

Duivenvoorde Castle, located near The Hague, was built in the 13th century as a defense tower. Remnants of this tower can still be seen in the facade and the front house of the castle. Over the years, the castle’s defensive function has virtually disappeared and the building has primarily been given a residential function. Gradually, many halls and wings have been added to the main structure. The castle has always been owned by families: it has never been sold, only acquired by inheritance.

As a result, the castle has been home to the Van Wassenaer family (13th-18th century), the Steengracht family (19th century) and finally the Schimmelpenninck Van Der Oye family (20th century). In 1960 the last owner, Ludolphine Henriette Baroness Schimmelpenninck Van Der Oye, placed Duivenvoorde into a foundation. The castle has been open to the public since 1963. Entire rooms remain intact and there are many personal belongings with historical value, making a visit to the castle feel like a journey through time.


Wikipedia Commons (cropped) by Erik Jan Vens

The Fraeylemaborg is located on an estate in Slochteren in Groningen, in the middle of a large park laid out in the English landscape style. The original “borg” (meaning a castle from the province of Groningen) building was founded more than seven centuries ago as a stone house. Over the centuries it grew into an impressive building with influential residents. The building was inhabited until 1972, after which it was sold to the Gerrit van Houten Foundation. The Fraeylemaborg was then restored and opened its doors as a museum.

The rooms show images of the time up to the middle of the 20th century, the last phase of private habitation. The Great Hall is used for concerts and receptions, while the Small Hall is used as a wedding hall. There is also a restaurant on site in the former “schathuis” (or cattle shed) and a museum shop in the former coach house. In addition, there is an orangery, where a playful presentation can be seen about the development of the park, from the Ice Age to the present.


Wikipedia Commons (cropped) by Jan van Galen

Coevorden Castle is the only castle in the province of Drenthe: and they are very proud of this historical fortress, build in the 11th century. The former fortress laid between the Hanseatic Cities of Münster and Groningen and therefore had a great strategic importance. Over the years, the castle has had many residents. After the last resident, Karel van Gelre, the castle came into decay. In the 20th century, Coevorden Castle was restored and is now being used as a hotel.

The castle started as a small castle, a special enforcement on an artificial hill, to guard the road between Germany and Groningen. The toll collection for this passage through the swamps of Coevorden, gave a lot of conflict between the castle lord of Coevorden and the landlord of Utrecht. Around the castle, a small settlement started to grow into the city of Coevorden.


Twickel Castle can be found in the hamlet of Deldenresch, in the township ‘Hof van Twente’ and province Overijssel. The castle is surrounded by a moat, a magnificent park and several gardens. The estate is almost seven centuries old and has a size of 4,500 hectares. The first mention of Twickel Castle dates from 1347, when Herman van Twickelo buys the castle, which is then called House Eysinck. Through the centuries, the castle is inhabited by members of the Van Twickelo family. As of 1953, the castle is owned by the Twickel Foundation.

Twickel Castle is one of the most beautiful castles in the Netherlands. This is partly due to the interior, that characterizes itself because of the many paintings, the big library and gorgeous salons. The castle is also known for the splendid gardens and the park. The orangery, the garden shed and ice house have become historical. Through the years, several changes have been made to the gardens. These castle gardens are accessible for a fee. It’s also possible to follow a paid tour through the castle.


Wikipedia Commons (cropped) by Goodness Shamrock

A characteristic gatehouse, the stunning 16th century crow-stepped gables, the breathtaking beauty of the gardens: welcome to Poptaslot in Marssum, Friesland. The castle was built in 1512 by the Heringa family. This is where the original name comes from: Heringa State. This name is kept when the noble Van Eysinga family gets hold of the castle trough an inheritance. The modernization carried out by this family can still be admired today. The beautiful, 17th-century interior is still intact. Is this how the nobility lived? The stunning view of the castle leaves enough room for your imagination…

In 1687, the Heringa State again gets a new owner: dr. Henricus Popta. This means the name changes to Poptaslot Castle. Popta, a lawyer, initially only intends to use the house as a summer residence, but still makes sure that everything remains in excellent condition. This can still be noticed today! The Poptaslot Castle is open to the public in July and August: it is then possible to take a guided tour.


Just over the border of the youngest province in the Netherlands, Flevoland, is a bridge. And it’s not just a bridge. There are sources from the 12th century that speak about a bridge, the stronghold in Kuinre. In the 15th and 16th century, the area around the stronghold is referred to as “canals, a bridge, several living quarters, a gate, outbuildings and various defenses”. During a big investigation in the 40’s of the 20th century, the foundations of a stronghold are found. This stronghold was the home of many different lords, known as the Lords of Kuinre. One of the first known residents of Kuinderburcht was Hendrik the Crane, a lord that executed raids in Friesland, resulting in various conflicts.

The Kuinderburcht Bridge was mostly known for the swampy ground in the area. That is why the lords manly lived from hunting and fishing. The hunting area got significantly smaller during the years, which caused the lords to shift their attention to levy toll on shipping on the Zuiderzee (the southern sea). The lords of Kuinre then proceed to control several trading routes that would go through the rivers Kuinder, de Vecht and de IJssel. Since 2020, many spots in the area of the bridge have special transparent panels with drawings on them. This makes it possible for people to see an object or happening that took place in the past and is no longer visible.


COMPOSITION 0.873 Silver
WEIGHT 28.25 g
SIZE 40.0 mm
PACKAGING Box, Set packaging for all 12 coins available

The obverse is common to the series, and carries over from earlier ranges of Ducats. The main visual element is the National coat of arms of the Netherlands with the Royal Crown between the year of issue and the inscription “CONCORDIA RES PARVAE CRESCUNT”, which translates as ‘Unity makes Strength’, The mint mark and the privy mark occupy the space to the left and right of the shield.

As with the Twelve Province Ducat series, the mint ran a subscription for the coins inside the Netherlands. In that case, the box was given free with one of the coins. That’s also the case here, but fortunately, the box is also available to purchase separately, for €39.95. It actually looks excellent in the images, shaped like the shield that’s a core part of the Ducat design ethos. A must buy for us.

The individual coins come in small metal tins with a themed lid. These are decent, of course, but like all containers made of metal, are prone to denting.