So in my last post, I mentioned Kasteel Het Nijenhuis as a great place to explore if you are spending a day in the Dutch city of Zwolle and today I am going to tell you more about why! This ‘castle’ is beautiful in and of itself, but the quirky sculptures both inside and throughout the garden take it to the next level. Located just outside Zwolle, this is a must-visit if you have the time while exploring Overijssel.
About Castle Het Nijenhuis
While it’s called a castle (or kasteel in Dutch) Castle Het Nijenhuis is technically a beautiful manor house dating from the middle ages. Now it is part of the Museum de Fundatie, a visual arts museum in Zwolle; it was actually both the original location of the museum and home of the museum’s founder Dirk Hannema. The main museum is now located in the former palace of Justice in Zwolle, while Kasteel Het Nijenhuis is located about half an hour outside of Zwolle in between the villages of Heino and Wijhe. The manor house itself is beautiful, with gorgeous gardens and canals surrounding it, along with a café and shop, and, of course, more than 90 different sculptures spread throughout the grounds and castle interior.
The Castle Interior
The interior of the castle/manor is interesting to explore and mixes the traditional architecture and art with more modern pieces. There are lots of odd little rooms and tiny staircases, and the entrance-way is particularly grand with a large marble staircase. It was interesting to explore although I was more taken with the outside sculpture garden, to be honest! Still, the interior is worth having a look at and the entrance ticket includes both the interior and exterior so you’d be mad to miss it. I did enjoy the many tiny doorframes, Dutch people were obviously not as tall back in the day!
The Sculpture Garden
We were blessed with some pretty incredible weather on our visit to Het Nijenhuis, which made exploring the sculpture garden even more fun. There are 4.5 hectares of ornamental gardens, lawns and even forest area, meaning there was lots to explore all around the manor. I particularly enjoyed that some of the sculptures actively encouraged you to touch and even climb on them, like this awesome red piece that had a sign saying you could climb all over it!
Really, the entire place is a photographer’s dream, with so much cool art to see. It’s also a lovely place to walk around and enjoy the art in all the different areas around the manor. The manor itself is beautiful, while not exactly a castle it definitely gives off some princess vibes. Here are some more photos of the different areas to give you a taste of how cool this spot is to explore! It really is a very eclectic mix of modern and classical style art, a must-see for anyone who loves castles and sculpture of any kind.
How to Get There
By car, it’s about a 22-minute drive from Zwolle to Castle Het Nijenhuis. There is free parking a couple of hundred metres away from the entrance. You can also easily get there by public transport by taking a train from Zwolle to Heino (about 27 minutes) and then it’s about a 20-minute walk to the castle from the Heino station. Entrance costs €12.50 for adults and this includes both the interior and exterior of the castle. While the grounds are pretty flat and accessible there are a few steep staircases inside the castle so the interior is not very accessible to those with limited mobility. You could definitely still enjoy the sculpture gardens though!
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Have you ever visited a sculpture garden as cool as the one at castle Het Nijenhuis? Let me know about it in the comments or pin one of these if you plan to visit this one for yourself!