Far in the southern highlands of Holland, near the town of Valkenburg, lies Castle Geulzicht. My partner—Stella—and I had been on vacation, making our way up through Germany, Belgium, and Luxembourg… one medieval town after another. It was after dark and we had been searching for a resting place. Stella had once stayed in a castle near here, so we set our sights on Castle Geulzicht, her haunt of many years before.
We finally reached our destination, well into the late night. The gate of the castle spookily silhouetted against our headlights as we ascended the driveway.
Fortunately there were rooms available, our host—Willem—told us. He recommended room 10, named after the Holy Grail seeker, Sir Percival. All the rooms were named after medieval themes and characters, quite appropriate for the castle and its environs.
Room 10 was palatial… but then they all were. A woven portrait of a Dutchman in 17th Century garb hung over the marble fireplace. His eyes seemed to follow us across the room. A baronial bed graced the chamber and the huge bathroom sported a marble, Roman-style bath set deeply into the floor, large enough to hold an adult dolphin…or a couple of frisky adults.
Castle Geulzicht belongs to the younger generation of castles. Built as a private residence in the late 1800’s, it became a hotel in 1937. The castle was commandeered by the Nazi High Command from 1940-1945. Though owned by a Mr. Weinberg, the Germans never caught on that their host, “Uncle Joep”, was Jewish. He even managed to hide a few Jewish acquaintances in the castle, no doubt a safe bet, since it was unlikely that the local gestapo would want to disturb high-ranked Nazi officers.
Since 1982, the castle has been owned and operated once again as a hotel by the van Kuik family. For about the price of a mid-range hotel, in this part of Europe you can stay in a real castle! Only one disappointment… we didn’t see any ghosts.
All photos courtesy of George Burden and Stella van Der Lugt – All rights reserved.