11:00 – 17:00 uur
€ 2,50 (incl. coffee/tea)
Twee plaatsen in de gemeente Tholen bezitten een bijzondere band met de Oranje’s: Sint-Maartensdijk en Scherpenisse.
A special connection with the Orange’s
The Hotel Het Raedthuys is the Orange Room.
On King’s Day 1996, Beatrix visited the small town of St. Maartensdijk. Since his ascension to the throne in 2013, King Willem-Alexander bears the title ‘Lord of St. Maartensdijk’. The relationship with the Oranges has been ongoing for centuries. The oldest son of William the Silent, Prince Phillip William was the first ‘Orange’ to engage in conflict with the Spanish King Phillip the II in 1558. This happened shortly after his mother Anna van Egmond en Buren, first wife of William I, Prince of Orange, had passed away. This glory of the centuries had been handed down in succession through the families of Overbordene and Van Borssele and was acquired by the Van Egmond family in 1485.
None of the Oranges have lived in St Maartensdijk, despite maintaining a significant castle there. However, they regularly visited their ‘glory’. The steward took care of the castle and other property when the gentlemen were away.
The castle of St. Maartensdijk was situated near the town bearing the same name. The oldest part of the castle dates back to the 13th century. Gradually, the building underwent further expansion. Next to the most aged part, the ‘opperhof’ upon which stood a stone tower ‘donjon’, a farm castle ‘nederhof’ was built. Prince Frederik Hendrik, in particular, spent much money on restoration and further expansion of the castle. In 1632, he built a chapel on the lower court. In the decades that followed there was little money spent on maintenance, causing the castle to decay gradually.
In 1812, the former Steward of the Domains bought the castle only to sell it six years later for demolition. Up until 1970, the last remains of the original castle could still be seen on the castle grounds, including the gardener’s house containing the prison and hostage room. In the 1960’s archaeological research was undertaken on the castle site. Today, only a small part of the castle is left to be admired.
Prince Frederik Hendrik spent his fortune not only his castle but also the town itself. In 1628, he made a significant financial contribution to the conversion of the dilapidated town hall of St. Maartensdijk. The town hall was provided with a new facade which referred to Frederik Hendrik’s contribution toward its construction. The building was restored thoroughly around 1964, and from 1979 to 2008 it served as a town hall for the merged municipality of Tholen.
There still exist touching reminders of the historical ties to the family of Orange. An important remnant of the presence of the Oranges in St Maartensdijk is a series of painted portraits dating back to about 1625. There are various members of the stately family depicted in them. Most likely these paintings come from the former castle. Today, 12 of these portraits adorn the walls of the council hall in the new town hall in Tholen.
In addition to the glory of St. Maartensdijk, the Oranges also held the nearby glory of Scherpenisse. Willem-Alexander still bears the formal title of ‘Lord of Scherpenisse’. Here too, the influence of the Oranges is still visible. The courthouse was built during the time Maria van Nassau conducted her management of the domains for her brother Phillip William. In addition, they founded the existing Kloveniersgilde in 1595.