Many consider de Haar Castle the most spectacular castle in The Netherlands. I can’t judge it since I haven’t seen them all… just yet. Nevertheless it is the biggest one in the country and it’s definitely stunning and worth a day trip from Amsterdam.
The first mention of the castle dates back to 1391 but since then almost its entirety has been destroyed on various occasions. The present look is the effect of a 15 year restoration project by Pierre Cuypers, the same man that has built the Central Station and Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. It sounds like a very long time but then again, a house with 200 rooms and 30 bathrooms can’t be created overnight. His vision and talent extended also on the surrounding gardens, chapel and even the nearby village Haarzuilens.
What is there to see?
You can see a great part of the interior of the castle including some of the rooms, bedrooms, office areas and even the old kitchen. Outside there is a giant park to visit with a Rose Garden, Chapel and a long canal in the end of which there is a quite a stunning view on the castle.
The park is a great place for a picnic or a nice afternoon with a book. There is even a small café to buy coffee and snacks.
The Castle also organizes various exhibitions all year round for example about celebrities visiting the baron and baroness. It’s a well-known tradition of the Van Zuylen family to stay at the castle for the month of September and throw parties. Even though since the year 2000 they are not the owners of the property they still kept that right. In the past the events were attended by for example Roger Moore, Coco Chanel and Yves Saint Laurens.
How much does it cost?
Admission to The Castle costs 16 euro. If you want to visit the Park it’s an additional 5 euro.
How to get to De Haar Castle?
I have to admit the best way to get there is by car… However with a bit of patience and time at hand, it’s possible to reach it with public transport within 1.30 hr. First you would need to take a train from Central Station in Amsterdam to Utrecht and then bus number 9 that goes to Haarzuilens, so the nearby village. From there it’s just a short walk to the castle.