In this late 17th century castle the rooms breathe the atmosphere of three centuries of habitation with an exceptionally rich collection of furniture, paintings, wall tapestries, books, porcelain and glasswork from the 17th through to the 20th century. In the kitchen, hall, library, grand hall, dining room and bedroom the layout has remained intact since the departure of the last inhabitants. The 12 meter high gallery with many family portraits is spectacular. The park and gardens are open to the public, so that a visit to the castle can be easily combined with a walk along the borders, the rosarium, a children?s house and beautiful trees, including a 300 year old oak.
De Haar Castle
There are few castles in Holland that come so close to fulfilling the ideal image that people have of a medieval fort as does Castle De Haar. Like a true fairy tale castle, it rises above a heavily wooded park, surrounded by old gardens and ponds. The medieval house was built during the 14th century on higher ground along a dead arm of the Rhine. What makes De Haar unique is the fact that under supervision of the Dutch architect Cuypers, the castle was reconstructed over one hundred years ago in the restoration style of that period. The architecture, the interior, the gardens and even the church and the village took on a new shine as a result.
Duivenvoorde castle is situated near The Hague, between Voorschoten and Leidschendam. A tree lined drive brings you from the road to the manor. Duivenvoorde originates from a 13th century moated tower. Its present style dates from major restoration works in 1631 and 1717. The manor always remained in the same family and was never sold.
Since 1960 it has been in the care of a trust and open to the public as a museum. A guided tour shows the magnificent rooms, furnished as if they were still lived in. Duivenvoorde also boasts a unique collection of family portraits, silverware, Delft earthenware and Chinese and European porcelain. The great hall can be seen in its original splendor.
Temporary and permanent exhibits on forests, nature and landscapes are held in the castle, which was built around 1703. The exhibits focus on the Dutch landscape and the changes occurring in it; on water and everything related to it; on former residents; on the Dutch forests. There are art exhibits in the castle and in the garden. Castle concerts are held on a regular basis.
Huis Doorn Castle
Huis Doorn Castle, which was completely rebuilt at the end of the 18th century, is situated in a lovely wooded park. It owes its fame to the last resident, ex-kaiser of Germany, Wilhelm II, who lived there from 1920 until his death in 1941. This fine palace is now open to the public.
Visitors are guided through the beautiful Victorian interiors and get an impression of the grand living culture from around the turn of the century. Beautiful commodes, rare tapestries, works of art of German court painters and French rococo masters, valuable porcelain and silver are silent witnesses of the glorious past of the Hohenzollern’s.
Castle Loevestein in the little town of Poederoyen in Gelderland is located at the junction of the Meuse and Waal rivers. Loevestein is a water fortress. It was built in the period 1357-1368. The six-hundred-year-old castle was originally built as a penitentiary. If you visit Loevestein, be sure to take a look at the room where Hugo de Groot was incarcerated for two years. Virtually every Dutchman knows him. This Rotterdam scholar and Pensionary managed to make a spectacular escape from Castle Loevestein in 1621 by having himself smuggled out hidden in a bookcase. De Groot had been sentenced to life in prison.
After a thorough restoration from 1925 to 1967, Castle Loevestein is now open to the public daily from April through October. The towering castle lies in a unique nature reserve. A visit to Loevestein combines well with a walk through this lovely area with its various plants and birds.
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By Claudia Miclaus