Anonymous: Bird's-eye View of Castle Vredenburg in Utrecht (1550-1599)

(Rijkmuseum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

This castle used to stand in the center of the city of Utrecht. In the 12th century there was a monastry of the Hospitaller Order dedicated to Saint Catherine of Alexandria (the monastry was therefore called 'Catharijneconvent'. When the Holy roman Emperor Charles V annexed the independent episcopal principality of Utrecht, he ordered the contruction of a castle in Utrecht so he could have a better control over his new lands. The monastry of the Hospitaller Order was closed (the monks were transfered to the carmelite monastery on the Nieuwegracht/Lange Nieuwstraat in Utrecht. The new castle (shown here in the situation of 1540) was called 'Vredenburg' and soldiers were permantly stationed here. When the Dutch war of independence (1568-1648) broke out, the castle was attacked by the Dutch citizens of Utrecht. After some fighting an agreement was reached with the Spanish garrizon and the soldiers were allowed to leave. Fearing another occupation, the citizens of Utrecht quickely dismantled the castle. Today the place is called the Vredenburg square. Painting from 1550-1599