Whilst in the Netherlands we managed to drive to the beautiful grounds of De Haar castle near Utrecht, which is not too far away from Amsterdam which this makes the place an excellent day trip away from the Dutch capital. This castle is one of the more modern ones we have come across in Europe, recently built in 1892 and on the site of the original castle which fell into ruins and has stood there since the 14th century.
The castle we saw today, it’s Neo-Gothic design is of the work of famous Dutch architect P.J.H. Cuypers. Not only did he design the facade but also equipped the building with all the current technology and gadgets in the late 19th century like electrical lighting and a central heating system (powered by steam). Even the kitchen was very modern and whilst checking it out, the original copper pots, pans and furnace are still on display to visitors. `
Like most European castles, there is plenty of rooms to walk around and to see, such as beautiful bedrooms, giant halls and corridors and even the cold looking bathtubs. We spent about an hour walking around the self-guide route (we could have taken the audio guide with us but we didn’t really want to keep a device next to our ears whilst we were checking out the pretty design of the buildings and all the artwork on display).
The grounds of the castle are equally impressive where there are many waterworks and woodland to explore. However, most of the woodland which was originally here when the castle was rebuilt was torn down as the wood was used to light fires and the gardens were ruined because the soil was used to grow vegetables. After the war many trees were replanted and the gardens were restored to their original design.
The castle is worth a visit and isn’t too expensive to get into but the grounds of the estate is free to enter. It was so nice to see a different side of Netherlands, to get away from the cities and crowds and enjoy this beautiful setting with a beautiful castle. This is one destination worthy of a Dutch day trip away from the cities.
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