Discover the treasure trove De Haar Castle and its imposing park and gardens, one of the Netherlands’ top five castles. As you step into the grandeur of this medieval landmark and explore the 55 hectares of castle grounds, you’ll get to experience De Haar’s historic charm and the enchanting stories it has to tell.
The De Haar Castle is located only 18 km from Utrecht and 30 km from popular destination Gouda. Built in the 13th century, the castle underwent a tumultuous history. The estate as it is today was established within three decades, (1891-1919) when Baron and Baroness Van Zuylen commissioned architect Pierre Cuypers to transform it into their country estate. When you drive up to the castle it appears as a beacon in the quaint provincial landscape and you’re instantly in awe of its grandeur and magnitude. A draw bridge leads you to the stable yard, in the past used for horses carriages and cars, but now serving as the reception area and restaurant. The Baroness Van Zuylen was in fact the first woman holding a drivers license in Europe.
Rose Garden and Boxwood Garden
From the stable yard it is only a short stroll to the rose garden and boxwood garden with the mighty castle as a backdrop. The rose garden was redesigned in 1912 as a memorial for the Baron and Baroness’ eldest son Helin who died in a car accident at the age of twenty-four. With over seventy-five different rose varieties, it is a dazzling spectacle with sensations of different colours, fragrances and shapes. The boxwood garden is in baroque garden style laid out in a pattern of sweeping rows of box hedges.
Elegant Flower Gardens
A stroll in the Roman Garden treats you to a green oasis with geometric gardens, filled with flower beds, trees, shrubs and stunning vistas. Dispersed benches in the shade offer a welcoming cool retreat on hot summer days and a resting place to take in the grandeur of the estate. Gates and drawbridges lead you to a gothic chapel, the flower garden and entrance of the castle. The round shape of the so-called Grand Cour faciltated carriages with six horses. Stately stairs lead up to the entrance door where a story-filled tour of the interior awaits you.
Walking the estate
Beautiful tree lined avenues and serpentine pathways wind their way across the park to the forest, deer park, picnic area and former tennis court. There’s even a maze as there was so often at castles where one would meditate and reflect. Although the castle and estate are best visited in spring and summer when the gardens are in all their glory, a visit in autumn might be attractive as well.
Inside the castle
In 2000 the ownership of the castle was transferred to foundation Castle de Haar and transformed into a museum and event venue. There are 200 rooms of which a few are accessible and decorated in the original style to display how the castle would have looked like in yesteryears.
To find out about visiting hours, admission fees and how to get there, visit the Castle de Haar website