Castle de Haar

Rising majestically above the trees, deep in the center of the Netherlands, the towers of Castle de Haar glisten in the morning sunlight.

This is no ordinary castle.

It is the largest in the Netherlands, and one of the most luxurious in Europe.

From Humble Beginnings

To go from this in 1892 …

De Haar House, before restoration
De Haar House, before restoration

… to this by 1912 …

Castle de Haar aerial view. Credit Jan Koning
Castle de Haar aerial view. Credit Jan Koning

… required big money.

Rothschild money.

Castle de Haar. Credit Jim van der Mee, flickr
Castle de Haar. Credit Jim van der Mee, flickr
De Haar Castle near Utrecht Holland by Reijer Zwart on 500px.com
De Haar Castle near Utrecht Holland by Reijer Zwart on 500px.com
Sunset at Castle de Haar by Marcel Tuit on 500px.com
Sunset at Castle de Haar by Marcel Tuit on 500px.com

In 1391, the family De Haar was granted rights to the original castle and surrounding lands that existed on the same site as the current castle.

Changing hands to the Van Zuylen family in 1440, then burned down and rebuilt in the early 1500s, the castle had fallen into ruins by the late 17th century.

Castle de Haar Main Hall. Credit Daniel Mennerich
Castle de Haar Main Hall. Credit Daniel Mennerich

Eventually, De Haar was inherited by Etienne Gustave Frédéric Baron van Zuylen van Nyevelt van de Haar.

Try saying that with a mouthful of Edam.

Etienne married Baroness Hélène de Rothschild in 1887—and the money connection was forged.

Restoration on a Grand Scale

20-years of restoration has created one of the world’s most beautiful and romantic castles.

Castle de Haar. Credit Bert Kaufmann, flickr
Castle de Haar. Credit Bert Kaufmann, flickr
De Haar Castle by Amit Kirpane on 500px.com
De Haar Castle by Amit Kirpane on 500px.com

Fully financed by Hélène’s family, the Rothschilds, the famous Dutch architect Pierre Cuypers  set about building 200 rooms and 30 bathrooms.

Well, you never know when you’ve got to go, do you?

Installing all the mod-cons of the late Victorian and Edwardian Eras, the castle had electrical lighting running off its own generator and steam-based central heating.

A large collection of copper pots and pans adorns the kitchen that was very modern for its day, having a 20 ft-long furnace heated with either coal or peat.

Castle de Haar Kitchen. Credit Arjandb

Decorated with fine detail throughout, the kitchen tiles have the coat of arms of both the De Haar and Van Zuylen families.

Castle de Haar Kitchen. Credit Arjandb
Castle de Haar Kitchen. Credit Arjandb

Richly ornamented woodcarving reminiscent of a Roman Catholic church adorns the interior along with old Flemish tapestries and paintings.

Castle de Haar Main Hall. Credit Arjandb
Castle de Haar Main Hall. Credit Arjandb
Castle de Haar Main Hall. Credit Arjandb
Castle de Haar Main Hall. Credit Arjandb
Castle de Haar Bedroom. Credit Arjandb
Castle de Haar Bedroom. Credit Arjandb
Castle de Haar interior. Credit Arjandb
Castle de Haar interior. Credit Arjandb
Castle de Haar Cuypers Room. Credit Arjandb
Castle de Haar Cuypers Room. Credit Arjandb
Castle de Haar Bathroom. Credit Arjandb
Castle de Haar Bathroom. Credit Arjandb
Castle de Haar Bathroom. Credit Arjandb
Castle de Haar Bathroom. Credit Arjandb
Castle de Haar interior. Credit Arjandb
Castle de Haar interior. Credit Arjandb

Formal Gardens

Reminiscent of the French gardens of Versailles, the surrounding park contains many waterworks and 7000 trees.

Castle de Haar aerial view. Credit Johan Bakker
Castle de Haar aerial view. Credit Johan Bakker
Castle de Haar aerial view. Credit Jan Koning
Castle de Haar aerial view. Credit Jan Koning
Kasteel de Haar by Emiliano Quintela on 500px.com
Kasteel de Haar by Emiliano Quintela on 500px.com
De Haar Castle by dmarchitan on 500px.com
De Haar Castle by dmarchitan on 500px.com
Rose garden at Castle de Haar. Credit Ewald Zomer
Rose garden at Castle de Haar. Credit Ewald Zomer

Elf Fantasy Fair

Attracting some 22,500 visitors every year, the Elf Fantasy Fair held in April at Castle de Haar is the largest fantasy event in Europe.

Next to fantasy, there are also themes from science fiction, gothic, manga, cosplay and historical reenactment genres.

Two fairies at the Elf Fantasy Fair at Castle de Haar. Credit Juvarra
Two fairies at the Elf Fantasy Fair at Castle de Haar. Credit Juvarra
Three participants in the Elf Fantasy Fair at Castle de Haar. Credit Hans Splinter, flickr
Three participants in the Elf Fantasy Fair at Castle de Haar. Credit Hans Splinter, flickr

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