A pink castle seems like something ripped from the pages of a fairytale. In fact, fairytales are the reason for this medieval castle’s shocking hue. It was a hallmark feature of a now-abandoned children’s theme park.
The Land van Ooit was more than a popular children’s theme park. Created in 1989, it was its own little fairytale world, complete with a rich tapestry of stories and characters. One particular character, Kloontje the Giant Child, spawned its own television show that was a major part of many Dutch millennials’ childhoods.
The whole park felt like a giant theatrical stage, with various people, props, and visitors playing a role in the story. In this world, the visiting kids reigned supreme. Actors strolled about the park pretending to be various characters and greeting their young guests. Whimsical sculptures and rhyming signs dotted the earth. For a while, the park was famous for its riveting knight fights, though these ceased after one of the actors was tragically killed after one of the duels.
Adding to the fairytale feel was the giant pink castle perched atop the land. This particular prop was the real deal. It was built in the 1200s and named Kasteel Steenenburgh. By the late 1700s, was given its French name. Despite the laws banning French nobles from having property, it was kept in the possession of the family that owned it.
In the 1980s, the castle was purchased by the creators of Land van Ooit. It was then that it received its eye-poppingly pink color and became nicknamed the Roze Kasteel.
In 2007, the theme park went bankrupt and shut down. Most of the attractions were removed, though the castle still stands in all its pink glory. The land was later sold to the local government, who reopened it as a public park called Poort van Heusden. Now that the local municipality has taken over, it’s unclear how much longer the castle will retain its unusual color.
Update June 2019: The pink color has since been removed, and a new purpose is being found for the castle.
Update July 2020: The pink color is now being restored.
Know Before You Go
There's free parking near Kasteellaan and you'll need to walk the rest of the distance to reach the metal door that leads into the Poort van Heusden.
The castle is no longer open for visitors.