Real Tennis history in Europe


  • Castle, open tennis court, probably built by Godard Adriaan van Reede, or his son Godard Jr. (1644-1704), first Earl of Athlone, in the employment of William III, King of England. The court was roofed in the early 20th century and consequently used as coach house. Now serves as reception hall.
Amerongen Castle
Amerongen CastleOn the bottom right an open tennis court, now coach house.


  • Prinsenhof Castle, first record of tennis court in 1539, probably built by Charles of Egmont, Stadtholder of Guelders, a very keen tennis player. Court was restored in 1549 for visit by Philip II, the future King of Spain. It was converted in 1718 and pulled down shortly afterwards.


  • Castle, built in c. 1560 when William of Orange resided there. According to plan c. 27 x 8 metres. Was used as theatre between 1739-1766. Served as stables until 1948 when it was pulled down. Now only a street called De Kaatsbaan bears witness to this princely court.
Engraving of the Spanish siege of Breda Castle in 1581 (with tennis court on far right).
The tennis court at Breda Castle before it was pulled down in 1948.
Breda castle, plan of stables and tennis court (letter c).


  • s’Heerenhof, was the first tennis court in Holland, built in c. 1480 at the residence of the Lords of Voorne. The lady of Voorne, Margareth of York, widow of Duke Charles the Bold of Burgundy had a caetspel built that according to the accounts was “styled, ruled and stretched” with wooden boards that had been manufactured out of no less than 22 fir trees. There is no mention of stones or bricks, so we may presume that the tennis court at Brielle was entirely wooden.


  • Castle, open tennis court built in sixteenth century, by Floris van Pallandt. Visible in Bleau’s bird’s eye view of 1649.
Culemborg Castle, with open tennis court (no. 8).


  • Castle, constructed at the same time as Honselersdijk (1648), by William II. Tennis court cost as much as 22,000 guilders. Bird’s eye view of 1654 shows the Kaetsbaen as a remarkable building. Which part was used as the tennis court is not clear. Nothing remains of the castle.


  • Huis ter Kleef, one of three kaatsbaan buildings that have survived, was built by Hendrik van Brederode, Holland’s famous rebellion leader.
  • Built at about the same time as the court at Breda, with similar measurements, according to plan of 1625. May well have been built as an open court, but was roofed when the 1625 plan was made. Tennis court served different functions through its long history. On 1 February 2006 the Real Tennis Club Huis ter Kleef has received formal permission from the owner of the monument, the City of Haarlem, to acquire funds to have the building restored to its original function.
Huis ter Kleef 1910

The Hague

  • The Binnenhof Castle, an open court built in c. 1500 when Philip the Fair resided at the castle as the sovereign lord of Holland. At first completely wooden, but with masonry walls from 1530. Completely restored in 1561 by William of Orange, measurements c. 30 x 11 metres. Demolished in c. 1650. At present only a stone plaque with inscription “Here lay Holland’s first tennis court (caetsbaen) 1500-1650” on original site, behind the Ridderzaal.


  • Castle Bergh, this kaatsbaan was built in c. 1560 by Count Willem van den Bergh, in the gardens, near an earlier Kaetzspoel. In 1630 the building was extended with a gardeners house. The tennis court building (36 x 12 metres), which was divided into apartments in 1943, still survives.


  • Castle, tennis court commissioned by Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange, but built under his son William II. The castle has not survived.




  • Castle ter Horst, tennis court in 17th century. Nothing remains.


  • Castle Batestein, by Hendrik van Brederode, kaatsbaan was built before 1567, when court and three rackets are mentioned in inventory drawn up after Henrik’s death. A building with a tower, very similar to the Huis ter Kleef kaatsbaan, near the castle´s main courtyard, can be distinguished in 1649 view of Batestein.


  • Castle, first mentioned in 1527.