Kasteel De Haar – The Netherlands

De Haar is the largest castle in the Netherlands located just outside Utrecht, in the town of Haarzuilens, half an hour’s drive from Amsterdam.

Few of Holland‘s castles can match De Haar for the ideal image of a medieval fortress with towers, moats and gates. Like a real fairytale castle it rises majestically from the park with impressive trees, old gardens and ponds and is among the top 20 most visited tourist attractions in the Netherlands.

The current building was built at the end of the 19th century on the site of an old medieval castle. The De Haar family received the castle and its surroundings in 1391 and remained in possession until 1440, when the last member of the family died without issue.

Architect Pierre Cuypers (who designed the Rijksmuseum and Amsterdam Central Station) restored and rebuilt De Haar for Baron Étienne van Zuylen van NyeveltThe reconstruction lasted from 1892 to 1912 and was a unique project of its kind in all of Europe.

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Cuypers‘ grandiose design encompasses not only the castle’s architecture, but also the gardens, the chapel and even the village of Haarzuilens. The architect has created a charming oasis of harmony where the gardens, ponds and canals have their own charm regardless of the season they are visited. Around the castle are no less than 7,000 trees and a French garden modeled after those at Versailles.

In case you end up visiting the castle, you can buy tickets online or even at the entrance. The park is open between 9:00 and 17:00, and the interior can be visited between 11:00 and 17:00; the price to visit the park is €6/person, and for the interior €17/person (the price includes the park). If you arrive by car, the parking lot is in front of the castle entrance and costs €6/day. 

If you arrive in the Netherlands, I recommend you visit some of the wonderful castles, especially those in the south of the country where you can also stay, being transformed into hotels. 

(Kasteel De Haar – June 2019)

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