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Castle's foundations remain part of river dike

Discovered, dug up and buried again

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

POEDEROIJEN, the Netherlands - Construction of a new river dike along the Meuse near this ancient village has revealed the exact location of a castle torn down in the 17th century. Further excavation bared surprisingly intact foundations, floors and other features. The need to finish construction of the dike however made short shift of the archeological research. The site has been covered since and remains part of a larger feature in the landscape.

The Poederoijen site - in the Land Between the Big Rivers - is located a few kilometers southeast of the historic Loevenstein Castle from which in the 17th century Hugo Grotius' made his famed escape. Around 1,000 years ago, a first stronghold was built in the highly-contested area and over the centuries it was destroyed, rebuilt, destroyed again and rebuilt in a series of moves by the local gentry or conquering troops.

At one time or another, it was owned by Brabant Count Charles, by the army of Burgondy and by famed warlord Maarten van Rossem in 1518. His tenure did not last either as the castle was captured and destroyed ten years later. Indications are that Van Rossem rebuilt his property, which then - against all odds - withstood the ensuing wars until 1672 and the war with France.

Archeologists now excavated a site which not only showed the size of this 17th century stronghold, but also exposed parts of its kitchen, a courtyard, part of a tower and two ovens. The exact location had eluded historians until now. Record high rivers levels in 1993 and 1995 had necessitated a comprehensive widening and raising of all river dikes. Such construction led to the discovery. After the dike construction is completed, all that reminds tourists of the castle is a marker. The remains of Van Rossem's castle again lie buried, as they had for 327 years.