RUURLO (pulled up wood) originated as an agricultural settlement around the junction of a number of trade routes. It showed a spread out of farmsteads. More development of Ruurlo was furthered by the near situated mansion, the present castle of Ruurlo. Persons with the name ‘Roderlo’ already existed in 1134.


            14th  century

in 1326 the castle is mentioned, being dwelled in by ‘Steven van Roderlo.


            15th century

in 1420 the ‘Van Heeckeren’-family bought the castle after the dying out of the ‘Roderlo’-family. Many alterations were executed in the next centuries. At least two times the castle gutted completely, so that it had to be rebuilt with sometimes a new wing or none-rebuilding of other parts.


            16th century

the present castle dates from this time, it is a brick house completely surrounded by moats (a castle is a medieval defendable building)


the middle part dates from the 16th century

in 1572 the big medieval defence-tower got its present form. Bricks and natural stone from Bentheim and Baumberg were used alternatively.


Windows were changed and above them came triangular sandstone frontispieces with shell-filling (Renaissance-style).

A sandstone cornice completed the body.


            17th century

1627 narrow square tower at the north-west-side

1686 Because of debts Ruurlo gets into possession of the ‘Schimmelpennninck van der Oye’-family, the eastern part was built.


            18th century


1708 the main-bridge was made of sandstone, it is still used with official opportunities and weddings.

1727 occupants Jacob Derk van Heeckeren en Van Lynden bought the castle in return.

The weathercocks on both of the towers bear the alliance-arms of Van Heeckeren and Van Lynden. Over the entrance at the front is a stone coat of arms with the arms of the Van Heeckeren and Van Lynden-families with in the centre the municipal arm.

All arms got the old heraldic colours.


1728 occupants: Assueer van Heeckeren was a.o.

burgomaster of Zutphen 1719-1767, counsellor, treasurer and deputy of the State of  Guelders, member of State-council and of knighthood Guelders, governer of Harderwijk-academy

married 1730 to v. Laer

The railing of the bridge shows the alliance-arms of v. Heeckeren and v. Laer.

1760 bell-tower (restored in 2001) with the bell on the roof (diameter 44 cm) strokes every half hour, it bears the year 1760, the old clock (1874) with face manufactured by Parisian clockworks of Borrel was fully restored in 1998 by Melchert Spaander, supplied by Clock Care with computerized winding-up and an automatic time-control out of Frankfurt makes the clock always run on time.


1768 occupants: Jacob Derk Carel v. Heeckeren en v.Wassenaer-Starrenburg

1795 occupants: Willem Hendrik Alexander v. Heeckeren en  Pabst v. Bingerden

            19th century

1816 municipal arm granted (jumping hound)


1847 occupants:  Baron Willem v. Heeckeren v. Kell

1879 building of Orangery


1880 the garden was changed from typical 18th century mode with rectangles into an English landscape-garden by garden-architect Petzold.


1880 stepped gables were placed and privy turrets build up


1890 the largest hedges-maze of Europe was made at the way to Hengelo (large 1 hectare, length of paths 1188 meter) by v. Heeckeren v. Kell-family (lady Sophie). It is an exact copy of one of the most well-known mazes of England, i.e. Hampton Court Maze.


1895 Lady Sophie passed away


            20th century

1914 Baron Willem passed away, Jacob Derk Carel v. Heeckeren inherits the House of Ruurlo.



1938 occupants: after decease of the last of the three ladies, Lady Sophia Wilhelmina van Heeckeren (1856-1938), Baron van Heeckeren has lived in the castle with his parents and younger brother.


During the war the baron’s father often did not sleep in the castle, but in the gardener’s lodge. In the moat at the backside was a sloop, at the front side a little ferry-boat.

1943 with an air-fight a number of bombs fell near the castle.

The Orangery was heavily damaged.

1944 the castle was claimed by 10th SS Armoured Division under Gen.Major Hans Harmel, known from the battle of Arnhem. Several big men of SS stayed there.


1945 at liberation 2 quick-firing guns were in the grand hall with the firing-line directed on Vorden. The Canadians entered Ruurlo from the opposite side. A grenade went through the wall in the Grand hall. There was a fire which quickly was extinguished.


All windows were broken by the war. The family came back at the castle. Much had been damaged and demolished. Pieces of art had been stolen and dinner sets thrown into the moat.

1950 the blinds of the castle were moved


1975 the maze went to Forestry commission

1976 funeral of the last occupant: baroness Georgine v. Heeckeren v. Kell – v. Limburg Stirum.


1978 municipality becomes owner of buildings and surrounding park (for € 340.000)

1982-83 restoration (€ 2,4 mln) by Woudenberg firm from Zutphen

01-04-84 begins the use as municipal hall    


04-10-84 official opening by provincial governor

De Bruijne of Guelders

1985 maze open to public


The family had many possessions a.o. restaurant Avenarius (±1878) a former part of the castle, under the name ‘Arm of Ruurlo’ serving as a guest-house, was built by a Swiss architect Nicolaas Hartman. The family owned it until 1957.

Almost the whole village belonged to the castle, the saw-mill ‘Agneta’ as well (since 1851, serving first as an oil- and peeling-mill, than in 1914 altered in a saw- and corn-mill). A large number of farms and landed estates also were among the possessions.


The baron still owns 19 farms.

The colours of the blinds are: dark green edges and clear red flat bordered in white, which are the colours of the castle-lord’s flag and arm.

In the middle ages oak blinds often were smeared with oxblood. The dried blood protected the wood from weather influences.

The farms are of the ‘hall-type’ named after the centre-part, (in Dutch: ‘halle’). The roof consists partly of thatch, the rest of tiles.

Baron Carel still is living behind the castle and controlling the estate.


Standing with your back tot the castle you can see lying in the border a hard stone arm-shield coming from House ‘The Cloese’ at Lochem.


The service entrance is situated at the backside of the castle.

Across the moat a new bridge was built (length

± 30 metres). This bridge was necessary because the stone main-bridge is not on the same level as are the main floor or the basement. As to its situation this new bridge is historically correct; it is visible on a still existing picture by C. Pronk from 1732.


The roofs have been covered with old glazed tiles.

Before restoration the roof bore slates, but pictures from the end of 19th century show tiles.


Only the towers kept slate roofs.



The Coach-house, dating from 1816 now is the municipal shop.

In the middle part (behind the three big doorways) the coaches used to be. It was one big room.



(not open to public) at the ‘Baakse Beek’ (a brook) is in the ‘Molenbos’ (Mill-wood).

It dates from before 1681 and in fact is a double underwater-mill. It has been employed until ± 1830, one part as an oil-water-mill, that grinded linseed into oil (restored property of municipality), the other part as a corn-water-mill (van Heeckeren property).

In the 2nd part of 19th century the then occupant of the castle rebuilt the mill for generating electricity, which made ‘House Ruurlo’ the first premises in the municipality to dispose of electricity.



Hothouse, rebuilt and being employed as a party-room since 01-04-2002.


GRAND ROOM (Council room)


Mainly in summer it was a reception room.


The perfect decorated plastered-ceiling, (1750) with rococo-ornaments and lying Venus (in W.W. II used by Germans as a target) has been completely renovated. Her pet birds: sparrow, pigeon, swan. She had her coach drawn by pigeons and swans. Preferred flowers and trees: rose, poppy, apple- and lime-tree.

The tiled-stove (from a Berlin firm in 1802) was completely renovated. It shows Vesta (goddess of stove fire) and 3 Vestal virgins (who served Vesta by keeping the fire on for 30 years, if it went out they were punished e.g. burying alive, if it kept on they got a life like heaven on earth).

The stove cannot be used anymore. It is nice to see the outlet-pipe being made functional for ventilation.

At both sides of the stove are cupboards in which the heating is placed. (Former bookcases). Fit with meander edges (link to maze?).


The window-seats (with wooden shutters) have kept their true meaning: they can be used for seats when it is crowded.

In the past the ladies Justine, Sophie and Marie would embroider, knit etc. sitting on the window-seats. Occasionally they annoyed themselves, so the maze was laid out (1890).


Bust of Beatrix, bought by order of burgomaster Ordelman, because of the legal obligation to have a picture of the queen in the council-room.


Vase on stove? Dating from before 1900 (presumably from the same time as the stove).


The panelling came from the auction of ‘house De Voorst’ (1847).


The brass lock on the door is very particular; the outside chiselling shows  a master hand. You see it upside down, because it was not made for this door as it comes from ‘house De Voorst. The knobs represent the crowns of King-stadtholder William III and Queen Mary of England.


The lock also comes from the auction of castle House ‘De Voorst’ (1847).


Next to the furniture is a big mirror with gilt empire frame.


Further an old French tapestry from 18th century, a ‘verdure’ with much green, made in Aubusson (little French town) after example of the work of the French painter J.B. Oudry (1686-1755). It was restored (2/3 wool, 1/3 silk) it is a pity the silk almost disappeared by aging.


At the window side you can see life-sized portraits of former occupants: Assueer van Heeckeren (1699-1767) and his wife Henrietta Johanna van Laer (1711-1756). A family portrait of them is over the door flanked by the parents of Assueer (left) a portrait of Jacob Derk van Heeckeren (1665-1749) and (right) a portrait of his wife Heilwich Charlotte van Lynden (1661-1728). The alliance arms of this couple are in red and gold in the forefront over the entry.


Notice to the particular lighting: indirectly via the ceiling.


Many cupboards, paintings and wall ornaments still are in possession of the family.




Strikingly is the size of the marble floor-tiles. (carrara).They were cut out of one piece of marble.


Both walls and ceilings have been plastered in a simple way.


On the back wall is a richly sculptured (wood-cutting) trumeau with marble top (down side imitated marble) and a mirror with gilt wooden Louis Seize frame.


Candlesticks too are Louis Seize.


At both sides of this piece of furniture are two doors of which the left one is no more functional because of the toilet and lift behind it. The doors have marvellous carved frames which came from the auction of interior in 1847 of castle ‘De Voorst’ near Zutphen.


Further a real Amsterdam mantelpiece clock (legacy of mrs. J.A.F.M. Jurgens).

Many years she spent her holidays in the surroundings and wanted to compensate the hospitality enjoyed in the Achterhoek.

She granted the clock because the castle as municipal building at certain times is open for public.

This under condition that the clock never is to leave Ruurlo unless for reparation and neither may be lent out.

This clock, built between 1750 and 1800, is unique in its kind. It was made by Gerard Pousjet at Amsterdam. (value app. € 50.000).


Over the doors are portraits of W.H.A.C. baron van Heeckeren van Kell (1774-1847) and his wife G.S.A. Baroness van Heeckeren van Kell van Pabst van Bingerden (1774-1866).

They had 8 children, of whom one was immortalized in the big portrait: Mr. Willem Baron van Heeckeren van Kell (1815-1914)

He was a.o. member of deputised states of Guelders, director of the king’s cabinet, minister of Foreign Affairs in 1877 and chamber lord in extraordinary service of king Willem I, II and III and of queen Emma.


And his wife Sophia Johanna Justine baroness Taets van Amerongen (1817-1861).

Paintings made by Hodges.

Charles Howard Hodges (1764-1837), English painter and graver. Was well known as a portrayer at Amsterdam and the Hague.  


You can also see a Venetian chandelier.

One can see the avenue with extended sight from the castle.


Outside is the stone bridge with two winding staircases to the basement-floor, where formerly stock was kept.




The ceiling wit hits flower decorations was completely renewed.

Here you can also see the doors of the former food-lift; the space behind it now is in use for technical instruments.




This room was being used in winter time when the large room was too cold.

The mantelpiece in Daniel Marot stile dates from app. 1700.


The room has a simple plastered-ceiling.


While it is so big the big mirror consists of two parts. Notice the different colours that are reflected.


The original wall-lining and ‘dessus-de-portes’ have been disappeared.


DRAWING-ROOM   (Tower room)


This room has got a precious plastered-ceiling dating from 1706 designed by Daniel Marot (did a.o. Garden and palace Hampton Court, staircase hall palace ‘t Loo, Treves room at The Hague Inner Court and both interior and garden of House de Voorst at Eefde) and executed by Coulon.

Daniel Marot (1660-1712), a French refugee is the creator of the Dutch Louis XIV stile and the most important architect in the 18th century. (in 1686 Willem II appointed him to be an architect). He designed interiors and whole buildings. For execution of his ideas he had to use well skilled men like Jean Coulon (1678-1760) who fled with his parents in 1685 from Marseille to Amsterdam. He was a master-carpenter.


Notice the alliance arms of Van Schimmelpenninck-Appeltorn (arm with 2 keys).


In this room also is a portrait of Luther Hendrik Walraven van Keppel (1681-1741).


(Henriette van Laer’s mothers’ brother).


Over the chimney is a painting representing the capture of Simson by Philistines.


Behind the door is a servants staircase.




This room has got a simple plastered-ceiling.


The mantelpiece (Marot) is particularly nice and dates from 1690.

Notice shell motif and arm of Ruurlo


At a burglary in 1977 a greater part of the sculpture was destroyed and stolen. Mrs van Heek, the wife of the daily clerk during the restoration has completed again the mantelpiece from old photo’s and drawings.


Between both windows is a nice mirror with carved frames.


Over the three doors are restored paintings called ‘dessus-de-porte’ , all signed by Habert.


WIG ROOM  (Betrothal room)


A snug little room with a marvellous dome-vault from 1717, ascribed to Daniel Marot.


Its chimney covers a corner.

The étagère was meant for Chinese porcelain.

The Scandinavian cast iron stove was replaced.



Sitting room of Mr. W. Baron van Heeckeren van Kell (last bedroom)


It has an old plastered-ceiling with vigorous details (1717) with a bold ‘mirror’ in the middle.


The nice mantelpiece with perfect French clock comes from House ‘De Voorst” just as the lock on the entrance door.                                                        


Here also over the door ‘dessus-de-porte’ (Lady Justine?)




The wall tapestry was offered by all of the women’s clubs in Ruurlo,


The cloth was made by 56 ladies in about 6 months and represents the municipal halls of Ruurlo in 1884 – 1954 – 1984. The municipal arm (the jumping hound) forms part of it. The execution is in tapestry (=embroidery in which different stitches have been used). The design came from mrs. A.J. Blikman-Stegeman, who also was in general charge of the execution.


In this passage a 17th century copper light crown is hanging.


The typing-room is the connection with the small tower.

Outside windows closed with bricks are to be seen (for fiscal reasons?).

In the inner court it is clearly to be seen that the part of the building between castle and tower has been raised because of the historic ton-vault beneath.



The wall ornament is a cloth with a fragment of a falconry.


Young nobleman’s room (Lodeweges)

This room has a simple fire place and plastered-ceiling with heavy frame.

The Scandinavian cast iron stove was replaced.


Sleeping room Lady Justine (Secretary’s room)

Notice the 18th century wall paintings. They were disclosed during the restoration; the greater part

still was reasonably intact. They were restored and completed.

It is nice to know that the brown color of thae background was made by using rolled up kale leaves (cloudy effect).

Left to the chimney a big part of it was renewed.


The oldest part of the paintings is right to the chimney.

Notice the mantelpiece being old in centuries but artfully made with imitation marble parts and the painting of the lady (on wallpaper!).


Further an ‘eggshell lamp’ is hanging.



Right on the wall is a present of German ‘partner municipality’ Fürstenau.


Further a portrait of Theodore Baron de Neuhof, King of Corsica.

Corsica room: He was a friend to the Bey of Tunis and with this person he made up a plan to have himself proclaimed as the king of Corsica. He landed on Corsica in March 1730 and stayed there for 8 months. He run short of money and returned. He persuaded Amsterdam merchants to give him money and tried again to become the king of Corsica, but he was not needed anymore and had to flee.  In 1736 he was in the castle of Ruurlo. (He was related to the dynasty Van Laer). As far as is known, here he slaughtered a servant, went off to England and there got in prison. Continued there in poverty and deceased in London.


Rooms (end of corridor) Before restoration this space had been divided in:

-     the ‘Corsica room’ (eastside)

-     the ‘Blue room’

-     lady Mary’s room

In 2001 these rooms were made into two offices and since then are no more accessible to public.


(Alderman’s room-1)

The ceiling shows this room has been a whole with the passage next to it. The upper part of the partition-wall was made of glass in order to keep the ceiling visually perfect.

Only a bosom with a shallow recess containing a historical hearth-plate remained from the mantelpiece that  earlier was standing in the middle of the room.


(Alderman’s room-2)


Before restoration these two rooms had been called the ‘Yellow and Red Cabinet’ , the passage had been forming part of them.

The during restoration surprisingly disclosed simple painting in farmer’s style on the wooden ceiling was wholly restored.


The portrait represents Lady Sophia Wilhelmina Baroness van Heeckeren van Kell (1807-1895), sister to baron Willem, a woman who was very good in and about Ruurlo (especially for the sick). The local music club has been named after her (Sophia’s Lust).



          Gallery of portraits



          (Burgomaster’s room)

This steeple-room has a perfect plastered-ceiling from 1706; also the mantelpiece is from that time.

(Asymmetric is Louis Quinze style).

The portrait is of  Mr Willem Baron van Heeckeren van Kell (1815-1914).

Splendid sight on watermill and the present Baron’s (Karel) house.

The window frames of the big tower are in the original rod-division.


Attic (not open to public)

Most of the attic is empty space, the telephone-exchange, heating and ventilation installations were built in.

Over the attic is a loft with the old clock-work.


Winding staircase

It is in the tower built in annex, which formerly was the closet-tower.


Hunting room / Kitchen



A huge forged stove has been in the kitchen. It was moved to Castle Warmelo at Diepenheim.


Pipe – from 1952 until 1971(every 3 years) ‘Karl May-open air plays’ were being held in the ‘Rijkenbarg-wood’ . When the railway was threatened to be terminated people went to the provincial house, disguised as Indians (even the train was forced to stop). After deliberation with the railway company the railway finally has been maintained and the ‘peace-pipe’ was smoked.

In 2003 a statue of Winnetou was placed in the village near the mill.


Notice the nice glass show-case with objects from which some were found in the moat during the restoration in 1982-83. Among them articles of use (pâtés-plates, weather-vane  1859). Further the old ring-system is hanging in this show-case)

Before the starting of the restoration the moat was being searched off to explosives, after removing the water a perfect pavement of cobbles was found on the bottom of the moat.


Cross-vaults are resting on an arch.


Wine cellar

          (Meeting room under tower)

Notice next to the nice shattered-windows two candle-recesses and indications of former loop-holes (stripes in the plastering).


Old stone cross-vaults


In the corridor, opposite to the lift still are the doors behind which the meals-lift used to arrive. Now it is a central place for electric wires.


Notice the illumination: it has been tried to keep the vaults perfect. Light now comes from the floor or the wal, the vault being a reflector.


Corridor with ton-vault


Cellar rooms

These consulting rooms have two old stone cross-vaults on a wide arch between.


Here were the former wash up kitchen and egg cellar.




During the digging-work for lift and toilets, various old foundations were found (on cow’s skins), further some perfect remnants of a medieval well, which have been covered under the floor without being changed. It is found somewhere under the round window between the entrance-corridor and the cloak-room.


(Luncheon room)

The luncheon room and corridor have been covered with a stone ton-vault. Because of this high ton-vault in the luncheon room the floor of the typing-room over it had to be raised to 1 meter higher than the other rooms on the ground floor.