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After living here in the Netherlands for a couple of years, I can tell you that I’m quite surprised when I read about something truly abandoned in the Netherlands. After reading about the Roze Kasteel (Kasteel D’Oultremont) in Drunen, I was curious about this abandoned amusement park and castle in the Netherlands. This post will discuss how to visit the now closed Land van Ooit, now known as the Poort van Heusden, and what it is for my readers who aren’t familiar with 2000s Dutch television.
What was the Land van Ooit?
The Land van Ooit for those who didn’t grow up in the Netherlands was a popular children’s amusement park created in 1989 by the previous direct of Efteling. One of the key concepts behind the park was that “children are the boss,” with actors who would interact and bow to all the children in the park.
The amusement park was well-known for its live action knight fights although unfortunately one of the duels resulted in the death of one of the actors in the late 1990s. In 2007, the park shut down due to financial problems, which some attribute to waning attendance.
What’s left of the Land van Ooit?
To be fair, a lot of the former amusement park is now gone. In 2009, the former amusement park was sold to the local government, which has turned it into a public park. When I was there, there were numerous families and couples walking their dogs. It wasn’t exactly what I had in mind when I read about an abandoned castle.
The main building (De Roze Kasteel) has remained in tact although it’s in the process of being restored at the moment. It’s not possible to enter, however you can peek inside the windows. (The cost of the restoration has been quite high!)
The soldiers of Napoleon who are enchanted in the former Land remain although some of the heads are in less than ideal condition with a few that have disappeared compared to previous images. Similarly, there’s also the green corridor that now leads to a parking lot. Beyond this, most things that were part of the former amusement park are gone at this point.
The history of the Roze Kasteel
The Roze Kasteel actually was called Kasteel Steenenburg. This castle came under the control of the Duke of Brabant, however a later marriage of a descendent resulted in the castle being renamed Kasteel d’Oultremont after her husband’s surname. Even after the French Revolution, this land remained with the family.
Much of the original castle burnt down in the late 1700s, although the southern wing of the castle has been preserved given the castle’s unlucky history. It was reconstruction at a later point in time, however it only gained the infamous named “De Roze Kasteel” after the bricks were dyed pink when the castle became part of the Land van Ooit.
What will happen to the Roze Kasteel now?
At least for now, the Poort van Heusden will remain a nice park for walks although you should take the opportunity to visit while you can as there’s many swirling developments ongoing about what will happen to the Land van Ooit next.
The entire estate is supposed to become part of a high tech medical campus where numerous apartments and plots will be constructed Negotiations are still ongoing, however supposely the castle will remain although it will be painted back to a more normal color from its current pink color. Supposedly, the castle will remain and will be given to the developers for free provided that there’s upkeep to help restore it. It’s said that the Roze Kasteel will become a hotel in the future.
What is it like visiting the Poort van Heusden?
I actually found the whole experience visiting very serene although a bit strange. The park is a lovely walking around although we weren’t sure how much we’d find of the original amusement park. I did not grow up with Dutch television, but friends have educated me about Kloontje being an essential part of their childhood.
We spent maybe about an hour walking around the grounds and it was relaxing. Given what is about to happen to the park as well as the castle, I’d encourage you to visit soon as the castle is further renovated and the land is sold. That said, I’m looking forward to revisiting the Roze Kasteel after its full renovation.
How to legally visit the Land van Ooit
If you’re driving, it’s fairly easy to reach the Land van Ooit. You can route yourself to Kasteellaan 1, 5253 AM Nieuwkuijk. As soon as you turn off, you’ll see a parking lot where you can park your car. From there, you’ll want to walk until you reach the gates of the former amusement park. You’ll walk through the metal door.
Alternatively, you can take the 301 or 136 bus from Den Bosch. It should take about 20 minutes from the station to reach one of the nearby bus stops.