Kasteel Hoensbroek in South Limburg
Kasteel Hoensbroek is known locally as the “the most lordly stronghold between the Rhine and Meuse.” It also has a reputation for being kid-friendly and is a part of the Museumkaart Program, so we had to go check it out. The castle sat on an important trading route near Maastricht, Aachen and Cologne existing in some form from 1225. The present-day structures are impressive and well preserved.
Parking at the castle is free and close to the entrance. The castle is not stroller friendly. There are many sets of steep stairs, so steep that the curators have installed traffic lights so you do not meet another party moving in the opposite direction. You should be prepared to use a carrier or carry small children.
The castle has a ton of kids activities. Weekends seem to be filled with special activities, so check before you go. We visited on Good Friday, a holiday in the Netherlands, so the castle was full but not overly crowded. We were given a tablet at the admissions counter, free of charge, but we did have to give our BSN numbers. The tablet played videos when QR codes were scanned. There were also puzzle pieces for the kids to collect around the castle, hidden in treasure chests.
We got a bit turned around entering the castle and did some of the tour in reverse. Tour markings are in Dutch but the tablet provided English subtitles. We climbed the old towers and entered into the more modern, renovated house before working our way back down through the castle. The kids loved discovering the hidden rooms.
The only disappointment was the cafe. It’s beautifully designed and sits in the castle cellar, however the offerings are small. It would be perfect to grab a coffee and slice of pie but it had limited lunch offerings. They had three types of tosties and two soups. On a return visit we would pack a picnic for the gardens or find a lunch option in town.