It's rather logical to start with the town hall, it being the most outstanding building in this place.
For centuries the town council had its meetings here. In the cellar was the Meat house or Weigh house which is now used for expositions and small functions.
In the "Burgerzaal" there are weddings but this is where the town council used to meet. There is no glass in the windows behind the red shutters so the citizens could listen in.
In this house Jan van Riebeeck is said to be born in the beginning of the 17th century. Certain is that his grandfather lived here.
Jan van Riebeeck was founder of the Dutch colony (Cape colony / Kaapkolonie) in South Africa.
What else can be said about this house? Its name is De Fonteyn (Fountain) and it was built about 100 yrs before Van Riebeeck was born. It was then owned by a family Van Gaesbeeck for the impressive period of 200 years. The Van Gaesbeecks were important seafarers and overseas traders who worked for the VOC (Eastindian Trading Company) which was the world's first multinational. Many family members sailed to The Cape and to Indonesia.
Behind this house you can visit a herb garden.
A gate from the 14th century but only the lower part is still from that age. In 1557 (still respectably old!) the gate was topped with a tower and belfry.
It is a lovely way to enter Culemborg through this gate with left and right a narrow canal with a lovely see through scene (see next tip).
The Kasteeltuin (castle garden) is a garden which used to belong to the castle of which only foundations are left.
It is only open on Saturdays from 1 April to 1 October or on appointment. There is an exhibition space where you can see foundation finds.
The orphanage was set up out of the heritage of Elisabeth van Culemborg and it now is a museum and library.
Elisabeth van Culemborg and her husband Anthonis van Lalaing were Lord and Lady of Culemborg.
The permanent exposition at the museum is about the social care in Culemborg some 50-100 years ago.
This is now a theatre but was built in 1846 to house a school for the poor. It was also meant to be used as flood location where the citizens could find safe refuge if the city was flooded. One of the doors is built halfway the wall, so that you could get a boat alongside and step right in.
There are only foundations left of the castle. Johan II, Lord of Culemborg started this castle around 1350. The last of his line was Lady Elisabeth who died in 1555, childless. The castle then came into the hands of the Pallandt family (1555-1639) and then it was turned over to the Waldeck Pyrmont dynasty (1639-1724). During the Pallandt rule, Culemborg became a duchy.
In 1748 the duchy was given to the Orange family and so Queen Beatrix is the 16th Duchess of Culemborg.
In 1672 the castle was taken by the French and they virtually broke it down. Already in those days restoration proved useless and the castle was demolished in the 18th century. The following Dukes went to live in the empty cloister Mariencroon which was from then on known as the Nieuwe Hof (New Court).
The castle garden was walled with stones from the old castle.
When you look right of the Binnenpoort before you go through it into the town center, you'll see this lovely little see through. Note the window and how it rests on wooden beams.
But there's more (see next tip).
At the Culemborg Orphanage Museum, the Protectors' Room, this is where the Protectors of the orphanage would meet to discuss matters of interest. Portrets of benefactors, and antique furniture.
According to one anecdote, a Protector would sometimes enter the orphan's dining hall while the children were having dinner, and they were then made to stand up for more than an hour, so that the food was cold by the time they were allowed to sit down and resume their meal.
Bird watching in the moat that runs along the ancient city walls. This is an Egyptian goose (Alopochen aegyptiacus), in Dutch it is called 'nijlgans'. We didn't know anything about this animal. It turns out that it is not indigenous in the Netherlands, but we've read that a couple of these birds were held in captivity in the 1960s and escaped. They were considered sacred by the ancient Egyptians.
On the right side of the Binnenpoort you will see these commemorative stones showing how the water height and floods. Dykes would often break around Culemborg.
The Culemborg Lion in front of the town hall. I'll grade this one for ferocity, in my opinion it's a grade B.