Located in Utrecht (near Amsterdam) in the Netherlands, De Haar castle is the result of a marriage between a long-standing Dutch and a more recent European noble families. The estate had been in the Van Zuylen clan for centuries and passed on to the last heir Etienne who could not afford to renovate the ruin. Luckily, coming from a wealthier family, his wife Hélène de Rothschild financed the whole restoration to bring splendor to this middle-aged legacy!
The initial building dates back to the 14th century but was remodeled by Albert Cuypers in 1892. The Dutch architect was then already known for his two other neo gothic achievements in Amsterdam: the Rijksmuseum and the central station.
After 15 years of restoration, De Haar became an holiday home for its owners and friends for two weeks in September every year, the rest being spent in Paris. Since this period, the castle was turned into a movie and series location and is now open to the public every day between 11 am and 5 pm.
The visit inside starts with the main hall around which several reception areas are located: for dinner, pooling, smoking and dancing. The ostentatious decoration does not lack details of all sorts: religious and family signs, onerous tapestries, a crocodile-made clock or even a stone-carved wall showcasing the abduction of a princess by her lover. One thing’s for sure, Mr Etienne could be very romantic with his wife’s money.
Upstairs we’re led through the baroness bedroom (pictures below), the baron’s and a guestroom. All the bathrooms are made of the ultimate state-of-the-art fashion and technology from back then. Yet, the toilets remain medieval…an interesting clash of styles. The castle reportedly owns 200+ bedrooms so it’s a bit of a bummer that we cannot see more of them…
Outdoors the huge domain offers a good walk and the opportunity to see deers up close. As it’s possible to access the park separately from the castle, we will definitely be back ! 🙂