Dutch Pensioner Builds Five-Storey Castle in Backyard Over 34 Years

Gerry Halman, 76, built a Roman-style castle in the Netherlands over 34 years, featuring a dragon made from recycled metal and ornate decorations. The self-financed castle, a testament to his creativity and passion, attracts tourists from around the world.

author-image
Trim Correspondents
New Update
Dutch Pensioner Builds Five-Storey Castle in Backyard Over 34 Years

Dutch Pensioner Builds Five-Storey Castle in Backyard Over 34 Years

In the tiny village of Blesdijke, Netherlands, a remarkable structure rises from the flat fields - the Olt Stoutenburght Castle, built single-handedly by 76-year-old Gerry Halman over 34 years. This Roman-style castle features knights, damsels, and a shimmering dragon made from recycled metal.

Halman, also known as Lord Gregorious, has dedicated a significant portion of his life to constructing this medieval-inspired masterpiece. Despite lacking any architectural or building experience, he has sourced materials from dozens of countries, drawing inspiration from China, the Roman Empire, and ancient Egypt.

The castle's towers reach an impressive 26 meters (85 feet) high, with a dragon made from hundreds of pieces of recycled metal coiled atop. Inside, visitors can find a metal chandelier from Istanbul, ornate Jugendstil iron railings from Libya, and a wooden bar taken from the Orient Express dining wagon. The library is equipped with hundreds of books about art and history, a duelling pistol, and an Indonesian ritual suicide dagger.

When asked what drove him to embark on such an ambitious project, Halman replied, "One morning in 1990, I said to my wife, 'I'm ready. I have a complete picture. I know what the building looks like, from the bottom to the flag.'" He added, "I've always been a fan of the fantasy world since I was a kid, not the real world."

The castle is self-financed, but Halman has no idea what the total cost is. "Don't ever ask how much it costs, otherwise you would never dare do it," he advised. Local authorities initially refused planning permission, but eventually granted it after much back-and-forth, on the condition that the castle was lower than 28 meters.

Tourists come from all over to admire the castle, with many expressing amazement at its beauty and uniqueness. Halman's granddaughter, 16-year-old Sara van den Kamp, described the castle as "pretty cool" and "very unique." Monique Meijer, a 55-year-old nurse, praised the castle's beauty and imagination, saying, "It's just fantastic."

Halman's motto is, "You can always improve on beauty," and he sees his castle as a perpetual work-in-progress. He cites Spanish artist Salvador Dali, saying, "The only difference between me and a madman is that I'm not mad." Halman's three children will carry on his life's work when he dies, ensuring that the Olt Stoutenburght Castle remains a testament to his creativity and passion for years to come.

Key Takeaways

  • 76-year-old Gerry Halman built Olt Stoutenburght Castle in Netherlands over 34 years.
  • The Roman-style castle features knights, damsels, and a shimmering dragon made from recycled metal.
  • The castle's towers reach 26 meters high, with a dragon on top and ornate interior decorations.
  • Halman self-financed the project, but doesn't know the total cost, saying "don't ask".
  • Tourists come from all over to admire the castle, praising its beauty and uniqueness.