We leave Leeuwarden to drive to Rotterdam where my mum’s cousin has invited us to stay with her family. It’s only a short detour from the highway to visit De Haar Castle. After seeing photos of its fairy tale shape online, we just have to visit. The castle is set in the countryside near Utrecht amidst the typically Dutch green grass, canals and dairy cows.
A castle has existed on this site since 1391. As is the story with many castles, fire and war damaged the castle over the centuries. It passed from family to family and generation to generation until, finally, in the late 1800s the castle was handed down to Etienne Gustave Frederic Baron van Zuylen van Nyeveldt van de Haar. The castle was in great disrepair at that time but, fortunately for us, Etienne married Helene de Rothschild of the famous and rich Rothschild family. As a result he came into money and engaged Pierre Cuypers as his architect to rebuild the castle. Etienne and Helene have passed away. Their daughters inherited the castle but couldn’t afford the hideously expensive upkeep and inheritance tax so passed ownership of the castle to a foundation tasked with its upkeep. They still have the rights to stay at the castle in September each year.
The castle and its grounds are so beautiful that no words are required and I’ll leave you with the photos.