Day of the Castle
Pentecost Monday traditionally marks Castle Day. The theme for this year is "Disaster is of all times," with this June 6 event taking us back to the disaster year of 1672. We move that day to the time when the famous French Sun King Louis the Fourteenth (or Louis XIV) visited our castle.
Louis the Fourteenth's visit to Castle Heeswijk had a special reason. It was 1672 and Europe was pretty much in turmoil at the time. The French king wanted to make his kingdom invincible. To become even more powerful than he already was, Louis expanded his army and war fleet. A key opponent in his fight was the Dutch Republic. A small country with a proud people. The Dutch of the time were masters at sea and lived in a "Golden Age" with their wealth.
The Sun King
The Sun King felt far above the Netherlands. He made an alliance with the English king and with the princes of Cologne and Münster. Together they decided to break the power of the Republic and declare war at the same time.
Thus 1672 suddenly became a disaster year for the Netherlands. Our war fleet was able to defeat the French-English fleet. But a huge French army of 120,000 men? That was unstoppable when it entered our country in June of that year. In The Hague, the government was in a panic. Polders were flooded to isolate the province of Holland. The 21-year-old Prince William III of Orange was appointed commander-in-chief.
Plenty to discover
Prominently situated in the wooded country of Brabant, the monumental Castle Heeswijk, the most beautiful castle in Brabant shines.
Tractaet of Heeswijck
The French and English signed an agreement at Heeswijk Castle on July 16, 1672. In this "Tractaet van Heeswijck," they already divided the Republic as soon as it would surrender. The southern part would become French, the Zeeland ports English, and Prince William would govern the remaining part under the supervision of France and England. The Sun King and the high diplomats thought they would have a nice battle at Castle Heeswijk .
William III of Orange, however, thought very differently. He united the Dutch, raised his armies and fought back. With success, because eventually the Germans and French had to retreat. In 1674, England made peace with the Netherlands, followed in 1678 by France. Prince William III was the great hero in the Netherlands. In 1688, he would even depose the English King and take the throne in London! The Sun King had clearly made a mistake at Castle Heeswijk . Consequently, upon his departure, he left behind a badly damaged main castle.
During Castle Day, this event takes center stage. For children there is a fun scavenger hunt to experience: Help, the King is coming to stay! Want to know more about the Day of the Castle? Check out dagvanhetkasteel.nl