Today we started to make our way home. On our way back up to the Hague, where we’re spending 2 days, we stopped off at Castle de Haar, the largest castle in the Netherlands. It’s a medieval fortress with towers and ramparts, moats, gates and drawbridges. There are several other buildings too such as a chapel, stables and a tennis pavilion. The castle originally dates from the 13th century but fell into disrepair, and was rebuilt between 1892 and 1912.
Castle de Haar was once the private residence of the Van Zuylen family, whose descendants still stay here yearly, in September. In the last century, the castle often hosted members of the international jet set at lavish house parties hosted by the baron and baroness. Famous guests included Coco Chanel, Roger Moore, Yves Saint Laurent, Joan Collins and Brigitte Bardot.
The rooms inside the castle are very opulent with no expense spared, and there the attention to detail is amazing… the tiles, the stonework, the furnishings… It amazes me to think of people living in the castle until relatively recently!
The castle is surrounded by 135 acres of beautiful gardens and parkland with impressive trees and avenues, ponds and pretty bridges. It was lovely to wander round and luckily it didn’t start to rain until we were back in the van having a cup of tea.
Now we’re staying at a campsite 5 kilometres outside The Hague. The King’s birthday is celebrated each year on 27th April in the Netherlands and is a public holiday (although the public holiday is the 26th this year because the 27th is a Sunday). To mark the event there’s a music festival in the city tomorrow evening, followed by further events on Saturday including lots of street markets. Apparently everyone dresses in orange! We plan to cycle in to join the festivities. Should be fun!