When mentioning the Netherlands most foreigners think about Amsterdam, but don't know there's also a huge nature area with royal estates, historic summer mansions and castles, near the sea, just 30 minutes from our capital!
Ijmuiden is a somewhat raw city with the largest fishing port of the Netherlands, just a short drive from Amsterdam. It's also a city of contrasts, surrounded by nature, bordering National Park Zuid-Kennemerland. 38 square kilometers of protected nature reserve between Zandvoort, Haarlem and Ijmuiden, lined with country estates.
Zuid-Kennemerland is one of the 20 National Parks of the Netherlands, forming an oasis of tranquility near our country's capital. With extensive woodlands and dune areas it’s home to over 100 bird species, butterflies, deer, rabbits, but also wild horses, shetland ponies and Scottish highlanders, with a bige offering of hiking trails and cycling routes.
This is also the location of the castle hotel we stayed at a few weeks ago! Thé country estate of Amsterdam, with an exciting history of transformation from royal hunting lodge to atmospheric hotel near the North Sea, surrounded by nature.
Unique Dutch castle hotel in nature
Whether you’re looking for a quiet weekend escape, romantic hotel stay, the perfect place to celebrate an anniversary, staycation in a tranquil nature setting, classy venue for a meeting, business event or marriage. Or the perfect place for an atmospheric High-Tea or gastronomic dinner with a view, it’s all possible at Duin & Kruidberg Hotel and Estate!
With its extensive country house, stylish in-house restaurant and large estate with classic English garden, it forms the perfect setting for all of the above. Let me convince you in this blog through many of our own pictures of our romantic experience at this hotel.
History of Duin & Berg and Kruidberg estate
But first let me tell you the interesting story of this classy castle and estate, dating back all the way to the 17th century.
When Amsterdam started to flourish and wealthy merchants and noblemen wanted to flee the city more and more because of the stench of the canals, used as sewers, many looked for summer residences outside the city. The dunes around Haarlem and the beach areas of Noord-and Zuid-Holland were perfectly suited for that!
As it was the custom for these country houses to include a large piece of land for a decorative garden, stables, coach houses, orchard and orangery, the Duin & Berg and adjoining Kruidberg estate were in high demand among affluent Amsterdam residents.
From royal hunting lodge to hotel
Mid-17th century the original De Kruidberg country house was built and still forms one of the largest till date in the municipality Velsen and surroundings. In 1679 the mansion and estate were bought by the Prince of Orange, also known as William III.
He mainly used it as a hunting lodge and occassionally for secret meetings, with the estate forming a smaller version of his palace and estate Het Loo in Apeldoorn.
After De Kruidberg estate was neglected, when William died in 1702, it was sold, combined with the Duin & Berg estate and expanded in mid-19th century by a well-known politician.
Jacob Theodoor Cremer and his British wife Annie Hermine Hogan bought it in 1895 and are the founders of the current estate of Duin & Kruidberg.
In July 1907 the Cremers decided the rebuild the entire mansion. They assigned famous architects Van Nieukerken and Sons of The Hague who took more than 2 years to finish. In October 1909 the old building was demolished and new building officially completed. The classy English garden was added specifically by Mr Cremer to sooth his wife’s nostalgia for England.
After that, throughout the 1900’s, Duin & Kruidberg Country Estate was subsequently used as a Catholic church and presbytery for the Driehuis village, as accommodation for German officers in the war, after which it was reclaimed by Canadian forces. Also as a training center for nurses of the Red Cross and a reception centre for Dutch East Indies returnees.
In 1948 the mansion was leased to a hotelier for the first time. Sold in 1961 to the Dutch Trading Company who used it as holiday resort as extra perk for their employees in the form of recreation. After which it became a conference venue for ABN AMRO bank, by adding a conference center, meeting rooms and business center.
In 2000 an extra hotel wing was added and finally in 2002, Duin & Kruidberg Country Estate officially opened to the public as a 5 star hotel.
Affordable luxury stay near Amsterdam
Now, more than 100 years later it's a 4 star hotel with 31 luxury hotel rooms located in the original mansion and 44 spacious patio rooms in the new modern hotel wing. Each room has an English touch, furnished with high-quality materials and attention to detail.
The rooms in the mansion vary from classic, superior, deluxe, to different suites and family rooms, all varying in size, design and price. Rates start around €130 per night already, naturally depending on the day and time of year.
Find out more and book directly for the best rates on: Duin & Kruidberg Hotel
We stayed in a deluxe room with large balcony overlooking the estate. Formerly the dressing room of Mr and Mrs Cremer, including lovely authentic ceiling decoration. Uniquely styled with traditional upholstery, antique furniture and very comfortable king-size bed, as you can see in this gallery:
Facilities & gastronomy at castle hotel Duin & Kruidberg
We hardly wanted to leave the estate, as they have everything you need right there. The beautiful nature area around the hotel has plenty of space or long walks and to enjoy nature. And the country house is almost a museum, with much to explore as well.
It still has 5 authentic period rooms, each telling a different story of the Cremer family history with souvenirs of their travels from all around the world used as decoration.
Each of these rooms is stunning and different, forming the ideal setting for a stylish reception, lunch, classical High Tea or culinary dinner.
The in-house restaurant is situated on the ground floor with direct views over the park and pond. Open for lunch, high-tea, or dinner, served in a historic setting inside, or weather permitting, on the terrace overlooking the lovely English garden.
We had breakfast outside the first day, and on our room balcony the second, as they offer room-service as well. For dinner we had a delicious 3 course dinner with wine-pairing inside, overlooking the garden.
For the menu they mainly use locally sourced and seasonal produce and the dishes were original, well-prepaired, yet not too posh. See for yourself in this gallery:
The mansion also has 10 modern multifunctional rooms in the basement, used for dinners for up to 350 people, meetings and conferences. And a 350 m2 Spa and wellness area 't Princenbosch in a separate wing next to the mansion.
Access to the Spa is included in the room rate and has many options from different saunas to infrared cabins, a steam cabin and spacious relax and cooling zones. For an extra fee you can choose from a range of treatments and massages from skilled therapists.
Furthermore the hotel has a fitness area, plenty of free parking on the premises and offers regular and electric bike rental, which is highly recommended here!
Ijmuiden & surroundings - the Netherlands
Duin & Kruidberg Hotel and Estate is located just 30 minutes cycling from the harbors and beaches of Ijmuiden in Santpoort-Noord, the greenest part of the municipality Velsen. The estate itself stretches from Santpoort-Noord to the North Sea coast and turns north into the Landgoed Midden-Heerenduin and south into the Kennemerduinen nature reserve.
From here you can easily visit several unique sites and cycle through the historic villages nearby. Or explore the extensive nature and wildlife of Zuid-Kennermerland on one side and cycle to Spaarnwoude nature reserve on the other.
I will tell you much about this in my next blog, with more fun things to do in and around Ijmuiden.
I hope I was able to show you why Duin & Kruidberg Hotel & Estate impressed, and why we enjoyed it so much.
To us this castle hotel is the true definition of affordable luxury. The ultimate combination of 4 star hospitality, history, class, nature, relaxation and gastronomy.
If you’re looking for a unique castle hotel trip, a romantic getaway in a surprising area of the Netherlands, near Amsterdam, or classy staycation in nature, look no further!