The ruins of Huis te Merwede
Every second weekend (Saturday and Sunday) of September The ‘Heritage Days’ take place in the Netherlands. A good reason to tell you a bit about “our neighbors”. Only a stone throw from the head office of Kapp, you can find Huis te Merwede. Behind our property we have a view of the old ruins, which was once a castle, with all the bows and whistles, a moat, drawbridge, battlements and towers.
For over six hundred years Huis te Merwede has stood as an abandoned ruin on the river with the same name, the Merwede. These days, people from Dordrecht know the ruin mainly as a great place for a relaxing walk or a picnic. Although the area is now not as romantic, the oldest building of Dordrecht brings medieval history to life.
Huis te Merwede went through two phases of construction. The ruins are part of the second residence, which was built around 1350, and looked somewhat like the better-known Castle Loevestein. The noblemen, who played a role in the political administration of the county of Holland, lived here. They were allotted lands with specific administrative rights and a defensible residence. Power struggles in the fifteenth century caused lots of damage. The St. Elisabeth flood of 1421 caused Huis te Merwede to be surrounded by water, and the area became uninhabitable. Only a remnant of the residential tower, the keep, remained intact. This land was only reclaimed in the twentieth century, returning the ruin to dry land, on the banks of the river. There were extensive excavations during the war years. The numerous discoveries now form part of the collection of the Regional Archives.
Hundreds of years after the construction, the area surrounding the castle is bustling once again. The surrounding offices are not as beautifully constructed as Huis te Merwede once was, but to us this place is the heart of the organisation, as Huis te Merwede was once for the lords of the castle.
Source: VVV Dordrecht / Rijksmonumenten.nl