A Family Castle on the River Vecht
Zuylen Castle in Oud-Zuilen, near Utrecht, is a 16th-century castle built on the remains of a 13th-century donjon alongside the Vecht river. Adam van Lockhorst bought it in 1617 for use as his summer residence, and in 1656 he left the castle to his granddaughter, who in 1665, at the age of 12, married the child from her stepmother’s previous marriage, her second cousin Hendrik Jacob van Tuyll van Serooskerken. This way the Van Tuylls managed to keep the estate within their family, and they successfully continued to do so for nearly three centuries, until 1952, when Zuylen Castle became a museum. The Van Tuyll family moved elsewhere, but they left most of the original furnishings behind, including their family portraits in the dining room, marking the castle as theirs forever.
In 1739, Hendrik Jacob’s grandson Diederik Jacob married Helena Jacoba de Vicq, a teenage orphan of good family & fortune, whose inheritance enabled him to upgrade his castle to a country house in 1752, in the French style that was in vogue at the time. Today, the place looks very much like it did in the late 18th century. The castle’s pièce de résistance is the Gobelin Room, which features a 75-m² verdure tapestry from 1670 by weaver Maximiliaan van der Gucht from Delft, but the rest of the house is really nice as well. The audio tour of the house takes 60–75 minutes and is available in Dutch only; information sheets in English, French & German are available for those who do not master the vernacular. The castle garden, which is noted for its 120-m-long serpentine wall from around 1742, is not included in the audio tour, but that shouldn’t stop you from taking a pleasant stroll in the park.slotzuylen.nl