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Latest update: 7 May 2022

Doornenburg, a small town in Gelderland, the Betuwe. I drive on narrow dikes, and around me, I mainly see meadows and water. But hidden in between, there’s plenty to experience: a castle, a fortress, and a Michelin-starred restaurant.

In the vicinity of Doornenburg, hikers and cyclists are in their element. So take a stroll through Doornenburg or take the ferry and discover the wider area. I’m with two good friends to make up for our delayed Christmas dinner. And while we are here, I, of course, want to get a sense of the environment.

Visit Fort Pannerden

Fort Pannerden is part of the New Dutch Waterline. You walk a little over the dike from the parking lot, or you ride with the free tuk-tuk. The fortress is well sheltered under grass and moss. It was already built in the 19th century to prevent attacks on the Netherlands from the Waal. During wartime, soldiers were stationed here, but later the fort became vacant. It attracted squatters at one point, but now it is a museum.

When you visit the fortress, you’ll get an audio tour that will take you through the building. It gives you a good idea of ​​the fort’s size and history. Then, a volunteer explains how cannons worked with a recreated cannon, including sound effects and smoke. Great fun for kids! The route continues along various interior spaces, and you also have a beautiful view of the spot where the Waal and the Pannerdensch canal split.

But this is not the only way to visit the fortress. You can play an Escape Room there, with a guide who tells tall tales on the way, or on an expedition with the children. So be sure to check out the activities in the fort.

Back to the Middle Ages in Doornenburg Castle

It is a crazy sensation to drive out of the village center and see the castle looming. It is pretty special to have such a beautiful castle part of the town. Some runners do laps around the castle, and other people walk their dogs. A herd of sheep grazes next to the castle, and some goats graze by the moat.

The castle consists of the main castle and an outer bailey. You can always see the facade, but you can only visit the main building with a reservation. It is not always open, so plan your visit well. You can follow a route through the medieval castle by yourself or with a guide.

Fun fact: Doornenburg Castle is where the Floris television series was filmed. That was way before my time, but I know the actor Rutger Hauer. You can watch the episodes on the castle site.

Sleep like a prince (-es) at B&B Kasteel Doornenburg

Since 2021 you can also sleep in the outer bailey of the castle! Because we will eat at the Michelin-starred restaurant Rijnzicht in the evening and plan to go all the way(aperitif, wine arrangement, bring it on!), we spend the night in B&B Kasteel Doornenburg. When we discover that we can sleep in the outer bailey, we are convinced this is THE place to be.

When we park the car, we doubt for a while whether we are really sleeping in the castle. Do we have to go through that beautiful gate and into the courtyard? The B&B is really IN the outer bailey: it is not marketing talk.

Two befriended couples run the B&B with gusto. We are welcomed with a drink and a chat by Resi and Matthias. That makes it extra personal. We catch the last rays of the sun and chat a bit about the B&B. There are six luxuriously furnished rooms with comfortable beds. We fall for the Von Delwig (beautiful blue) and the Van Heek (cow wallpaper!) room. Such luxury! The following day the couple serves us breakfast in the coffee room of the inn. We do our best, but it is impossible to finish the extensive breakfast.

It is best to book directly at B&B Kasteel Doornenburg.

Restaurant Rijnzicht: cozy chic

I’m always a little scared at fancy restaurants – will I feel out of place? Is it too neat and too formal for me? However, that concern is quickly gone when I enter Restaurant Rijnzicht. We did dress up a bit, but I don’t think anyone would have been surprised if I had just walked in wearing jeans.

The service is very correct but above all nice. Now I just said that we would go all the way with the drinks, but after Dry January, I have to say that the alcohol is a bit more intense than before. We, therefore, opt for the half-glass wine arrangement, and I thank myself for that the next day.

We go for the whole menu, including truffle, cheese, EVERYTHING. I don’t eat at a Michelin star restaurant that often, so I want to have it all. And it’s delicious. The kitchen considers my food intolerances perfectly, and every dish is so beautiful. At the end of the evening, I am stuffed. Fortunately, the restaurant takes us to the B&B, and I can roll into my princess bed.

Reserve your dinner here.

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