During the rainy days and with the current restrictions, my only consolation is writing about magical places I discovered in the past months in Netherlands. The subject of this post is De Haar Castle, a place rich in stories!
|The joy of exploring this flamboyant castle|
De Haar is the largest castle in the Netherlands, once the private residence of the Van Zuylen family, whose descendants still stay there yearly. In the last century, the castle also frequently hosted members of the international jet set with their lavish lifestyle; from Coco Chanel to Roger Moore, they too left their mark on the sumptuous rooms of the most opulent spot in Utrecht.
I visited the castle a couple of weeks ago, together with my dearest friend, Ioana, and it was a lovely Sunday, even with some warm sunshine!
This year I bought Museumkaart which allows free entrance to about 400 museums in the Netherlands, De Haar Castle included! Despite the months when the museums were/are closed, I got to use it a couple of times to return the investment! Without Museumkaart, the entrance ticket is 17 EUR for adults and it gives access to the castle rooms and the park.
Before starting the virtual tour, some indications how to get there. By car is always easier to get anywhere, but if you want to use the public transportation, like us, you need to take the train to Vleuten station and from there bus 111 to Kasteel de Haar. Be patient if you choose the public transportation! From Amsterdam it took us approximatively 1h30 to get there.
Let's start the tour! Be prepared to be amazed!
|Panoramic view with the entrance |
|The main hall|
The imposing central hall or Main Hall is the former courtyard of Kasteel de Haar. It was covered during the restoration (1892 - 1912). The wooden vault, 18 meters high, is richly decorated with gold leaf. Large country houses were also given a Hall around 1900, but a space like this cannot be found anywhere else in the Netherlands: half gothic cathedral, half luxurious hotel lobby. Everything there revolved around the glory of the Van Zuylen family, but also the comfort of the guests.
I guess due to COVID-19 measures, we had to follow the designated routes through the castles. I wish every castle, palace or museum to have those routes no matter what. Maybe I like too much things to be neatly arranged.
Anyway, let's go back to our story! From the main hall the guests are invited to the dining room.
|The dinning room|
Thirty-four guests were able to take a seat at dinner in the regal dining room at De Haar. Hospitality was a top priority for Baron Etienne, reason why this space is one of the richest and most festive in the entire castle. His son Egmont and his son, Baron Thierry, have followed his example with dedication. There they celebrated movie stars, artists and fashion icons.
The next room visited is the library, but I didn't take many photos there.
|The only bookcase in the library, which is more of a reading or study room than a library|
From the library room there is a passage to the Knight's Hall. This room impressed me the most!
Before moving to the next room let's study the details from the Knight's Hall. Firstly, check out the chandeliers. Yup, you see golden knights mounted on horses adorning the chandeliers. Secondly, on the beams you can notice the star of David. Baroness Hélène came from a wealthy Jewish family. Thirdly, at the end of each beam there is a golden spike. The legend says it was used to scary away the ghosts and bad spirits!
Enough about haunted rooms, let's dance! The next room is about partying.
Balls and parties were part of the noble life. Etienne van Zuylen and Hélène de Rothschild loved it; According to tradition they got to know each other at a masquerade ball, where Etienne, dressed as Hercules, impressed her with a mace. The decorations in the Ballroom are mainly about love and pleasure. And some of the most extraordinary art treasures that the Baron and Baroness collected during their many travels are on display in that Ballroom.
The last room from the bel étage is the hair saloon. Having a bad hair day? No worries they were ready to fix your hair in no time!
|The hair salon|
At the first floor are located the sleeping quarters.
|The main hall viewed from the first floor|
I remember we visited a lot of bedrooms but I didn't took photos in every one of them. I don't even remember how many there were. The two bellow are the Baron's and Baroness's separate bedrooms.
|Her dressing room|
The staff quarters are on the second floor, but when we visited the castle, they were not open to the public. Beside this, there is also the basement opened for visit where are the old kitchen and the dishwashing area. I didn't take any picture from there.
Save some energy and enthusiasm also for a walk in the park surrounding the castle. The park is over 55 hectares!
Lanes and winding routes traverse the park and gardens in different ways. The park forest and the former menagerie offer an attractive private walk. In addition, the maze, the large deer park, the romantic covered bridge and the picnic meadow by the pond also offer attractive destinations. The geometric gardens - such as the rose garden - provide a diverse fragrance, shape and color sensation.
No matter the season, De Haar Castle is always a lovely destination for a Sunday!
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