De Haar Castle, commonly known as Kasteel de Haar in Dutch, is a historic castle in Utrecht, Netherlands. It is not just the largest castle in the Netherlands but also among the largest and most historically significant castles in the entire world. It is one of the most renowned places in the Netherlands and among the most sought-after attractions in the Netherlands. Let’s look at some of the most interesting facts about it.
1. It was constructed around 1391, and the De Haar family was granted a fiefdom over it
The oldest historical record of construction at the location of the existing castle dates to 1391. In that year, the De Haar family received the castle and the surrounding lands as a fiefdom from Hendrik van Woerden. The castle remained in the ownership of the De Haar family until 1440, when the last male successor died childlessly.
After that, the castle was owned by the Van Zuylen family. It continued to be passed down through the family’s descendants generation after generation until it was eventually given to the government while retaining certain rights for the family.
2. It was burned down in 1482
In the year 1482, the castle was completely destroyed by fire, including the walls, with the exception of the sections of the walls that did not serve a military purpose. When the castle was reconstructed at the beginning of the 16th century, these components most likely became a part of the structure.
When the castle was reconstructed at the beginning of the 16th century, these components most likely became a part of the structure. The castle is listed in an inventory of the possessions of Steven van Zuylen from 1506 and again in a list of fiefdoms in the province of Utrecht from 1536.
3. The castle has 200 rooms and 30 bathrooms
The castle is said to have a total of 200 rooms and 30 baths. However, only a select few of the chambers on the ground and first floors are open to the general public for viewing. Cuypers positioned a statue of himself in a secluded area of the gallery that was located on the ground level.
Cuypers was responsible for outfitting the castle with the most cutting-edge technology, such as an electrical lighting system that ran off of its own generator and a steam-powered central heating system. This installation is internationally regarded as an industrial landmark.
4. The interior of the castle is adorned with intricately carved woodwork in a variety of designs.
The interior of the castle is decorated with lavishly ornate woodcarving, reminiscent of the interior of a Roman Catholic cathedral. This carving was done in the workshop of Cuypers in Roermond, who even designed the tableware.
The interior is furnished with many works from the Rothschild collections, including beautiful old porcelain from Japan and China and several old Flemish tapestries and paintings with religious illustrations.
The centerpiece is a carrier coach that belonged to the wife of a Japanese shgun. This coach is apparently one of only two in existence anywhere in the globe; the other is on display in Tokyo.
5. A park surrounds the castle
A park created by Hendrik Copijn and for which Van Zuylen ordered a total of 7,000 fully grown trees can be found all around the castle. Van Zuylen had to purchase a home in order to demolish it after he discovered that these items could not be moved through the city of Utrecht.
The park is home to a number of waterworks as well as an elaborate garden that is modeled after the Versailles gardens in France. During the Second World War, many gardens were destroyed because the soil and wood were needed to grow food for the war effort, and the wood was used to light fires. The majority of them have been brought back to their former form today.
6. The castle is currently owned by an organization known as Kasteel de Haar
The family of Van Zuylen van Nyevelt donated the castle as well as the 45 hectares of land surrounding it to the foundation known as Kasteel de Haar in the year 2000. However, the family retained the right to spend one month per year in the castle. In the same year, the Dutch organization Natuurmonumenten bought the adjacent area of 400 ha.
A significant repair program of the castle and the gardens began in 2001 and was finished in 2011. Upon the passing of the last male heir, Thierry van Zuylen, in 2011, his daughters sold the castle’s art collection as well as its furnishings to the new owners of the property.
7. The castle has nice employees, and its pricing is easy to pay
One has to pay 18 euros for the gardens and the castle, which is a good price, and the cafe pricing was also pretty regular. The employees were really nice, helpful, and patient, with great English. A Very well-kept castle with magnificent surroundings.
8. The staff is incredibly warm and conversational and pays special attention to children
A wonderful picturesque and tranquil stroll there with some great scenery on the approach. The castle also has many beautiful photo chances outside with several deers and a wide moat surrounding the castle and has a good few chambers displaying how the others live.
9. There are various hotels and eateries near the castle
There are various hotels and restaurants near the castle, including Carlton President, which is 2.22 miles away, Van Rossum Stadshotel Woerden 5.02 miles, Mother Goose Hotel 6.02 miles, Boerderij Hazenveld mini-camping B&B 0.90 miles away and Hotel Breukelen which is 3.27 miles away.
The restaurants near it include Koetshuis de Haar, which is 0.01 miles, t Wapen van Haarzuylen(0.50 mi), Restaurant Toetje (0.50 mi) Roberto Gelato(6.56 mi) and Kortjak which is 0.71 miles away.
9. The travel to the castle is hassle-free and not prohibitively expensive
The journey to the castle is quick and economical. To get to Vleuten Station from The Hague Central Station, take the sprinter train in the direction of The Hague Central Station. From the Vleuten Station, take Bus 127 in the direction of Breukelen and get off at the Brink in Haarzuilens stop. From there, the castle is about a 15-minute walk away.
You can also take an OV-bike for a 12 min bike ride in the countryside, check the next section for more details.
Parking passes can be purchased either in person at the ticket desk or online for a price of €6.00. The parking lot is situated just opposite the entrance gate in its own separate building. A parking ban applies to the direct neighborhood of the castle, which is carefully enforced by the police.
10. The castle landscape is commonly utilized for fairs and marketplaces, such as the Elf Fantasy Fair
The castle landscape is commonly utilized for fairs and marketplaces, such as the Elf Fantasy Fair. In the year 2001, work began on an extensive restoration project of both the castle and the gardens, which was finished in the year 2011. Following the passing of the last male heir, Thierry van Zuylen, in 2011, his daughters sold the castle’s art collection and furnishings to the new owners of the property.
This particular castle is not only one of the largest in the Netherlands but also one of the most popular tourist attractions in the entire world. It is one of the most well-liked tourist destinations in the world.