Though small, over the course of the centuries, Wittem welcomed many illustrious figures. Luminaries such as Charlemagne, Emperor Charles V, William of Orange and Peter the Great stayed here. Its renown can be put down to Wittem’s favourable location in relation to the cities of Aachen, Maastricht and Liège.
The first owner of the castle was a Liègeois family called De Julemont, also known as the Scavendriesch. They built a large stone tower alongside the stream, the Sinselbeek. These were the beginnings of Kasteel Wittem. The family coat of arms contained a serrated cross, which can be found in the castle’s logo today.
The circular tower had a key role to play whenever there were local skirmishes. For that reason, the owners constructed large protective walls, to form a major stronghold. At the time, the castle had 7 towers, only one of which still survives intact.
Later, the castle came into the hands of the counts Van Waldeck Pyrmont. Because of mounting debts however, they were forced to sell up and vacate the property. The castle them passed into the ownership of Count Van Plettenberg. However, after the French revolution, the castle fell into a state of ruin. The tenant of the adjoining farmstead, Simon Merckelbach, bought what remained of the castle and turned it into a residential neo-gothic chateau. His son, Jan Mathys, continued his work and laid the castle gardens.
In 1958, Valkenburg-based hotelier, J. Rooding, opened a hotel & restaurant in the castle, which was taken over by the Ritzen family ten years later. On 1 March 2011, Ronald and Silvia de Meij – Rooding reopened its hotel doors to visitors.