Kasteel De Haar - My First Castle of the Trip!

Haarzuilens Travel Blog

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As we made our way towards Eindhoven, Brett made a stop off with a surprise for me!  A castle in the Netherlands!  How exciting!  Kasteel De Haar is apparently the largest castle in the Netherlands, located in Haarzuilens.  The castle was in possession of the Van Zuylen family and it is believed the castle dates back at least 1391.  There were repeated attacks on the castle and multiple restorations took place, but it was left in ruins for many years.  In 1890, the owner Baron Etienne van Zuylen married a French-Jewish Baroness (a member of the De Rothschild family) and with her dowry, rebuilt the castle again. 

When the rebuilding of the castle started in 1892, it was under the guidance and direction of famous architect Cuypers, who built the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

  He tried to follow the original layout of the castle based on what remained and the rest he used his own interpretation of an ideal medieval castle. 

Sadly, the castle was not open to tour but we were able to pay a small fee and wander the grounds and exterior of the castle which was definitely worthwhile.  The gardens are beautiful and although Brett was occupied for much of our wandering with a phone call *ahem*, we had a really enjoyable time.  :-)  The gardens are definitely worth a visit as historical accounts indicate the entire town of Haarzuilens was originally situated around the castle and then torn down and relocated to make room for this park area.  Thousands of trees were hauled from all over Utrecht to facilitate this area.  Much of the garden area was destroyed during WWII but has been restored to its earlier glory.  I would imagine during the spring when flowers are blooming, the gardens are even more spectacular!

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photo by: inkie1010