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Castle Helmond

The old house

Helmond Castle was built nearly 700 years ago in the city of Helmond. This square structure with circular corner towers is something straight out of a children’s drawing. Its predecessor is the old house or in Dutch, ‘t Oude Huys. The most important inhabitant of ‘t Oude Huys was Maria van Brabant.

 

‘t Oude Huys
Before the Berlaer family moved into the castle, they lived in ‘t Oude Huys (‘the old house’), an outdated wooden castle with a keep located just a few hundred metres from the new castle in a moor in the Aa river valley. ‘t Oude Huys was a complex of wooden buildings. A wooden bridge led past a wooden palisade to the courtyard.┬áThis was the first castle in Helmond, built between 1170 and 1175. Maria of Brabant was the first resident of ‘t Oude Huys. She was the daughter of Duke Henry I of Brabant and briefly served as Holy Roman Empress following her marriage to Emperor Otto IV. After his death in 1218 she married Count William I of Holland. Maria was known as a deeply religious woman, a characteristic that sparked a local legend: Maria was hunting with her knights when her horse became stuck in a bog. She promised to open an abbey at this very spot if she were to be freed from her plight. She made good on her promise and established Binderen Abbey, the name inspired by her heartfelt cry when she was stuck in the swamp: ”k binder in’.