Castle de Haar (in Dutch: Kasteel de Haar) is a castle located in the Utrecht province near Haarzuilens. The castle that stands today was not the original structure, but was built in the very same location. Its restoration took place in the late 1800s and was funded by the Rothschild family.
The Original Castle
The first account of a building being located where the castle stands today dates all the way back to 1391. During this time, the De Haar family inherited the castle and the land surround it from Hendrik van Woerden. The castle remained in the family until 1440 when the last male heir died without having any children. The property exchanged hands with the Van Zuylen family, but would eventually burn down in 1482. The castle was rebuilt in the 16th century, but would fall into ruin once again in the mid-1600s. After being inherited by the husband of Baroness Helene de Rothschild, the family hired architect Pierre Cuypers to rebuild De Haar castle in 1892. The entire project took 15 years to complete.
Castle de Haar Restoration
Inside of the castle, there are many details that can be attributed to the Rothschild family, including the David stars on the balconies inside the knight’s hall. The family’s motto is also on the hearth in the knight’s hall and the family’s coat of arms beneath the library’s hearth. The interior of the castle is decorated with rich ornamented woodcarvings.
A beautiful park sits outside of the castle walls, which was designed by Hendrik Copijn. The castle grounds cover more than 135 acres of land and are worthy of a visit. More than 7,000 trees were imported into the park. Many waterworks and formal garden areas can be found on the castle grounds. Unfortunately, many of the original gardens were lost during World War II. Today, these lost gardens have been restored to their former glory.
Visiting the Castle
The castle is open to the general public, but can only be visited through guided tours. Fairs and concerts are also held on the castle grounds throughout the year.
Visitors can meander their way through the castle’s park along paths lined with towering trees. Beautiful lakes and bridges can be found scattered throughout the property as well as a maze.
The castle is open daily from 9AM until 5PM except for New Year’s Day and Queen’s New Year’s Eve.