The Kasteel De Haar is the largest castle in the Netherlands. Few castles in The Netherlands can equal Kasteel De Haar for its ideal image of a medieval fortress with towers and ramparts, moats, gates and drawbridges. Like a real fairy-tale castle, it rises majestically from parkland with impressive trees, old gardens and ponds.
How to get to Kasteel De Haar
The problem with this beautiful castle is, it is located outside the Utrecht city with not so frequent public transport. It is a bit difficult to reach here by public transport.
From Amsterdam first you have to come to Utrecht Central by train. From Utrecht Centraal catch another train to Vleuten station with destination Den Haag Centraal. Amsterdam to Utrecht and Utrecht to Vleuten train connections run frequently.
- From Vleuten train station catch Bus 127 to Breukelen and get down from the bus in Haarzuilens village. It’s a 20-minute walk from the village to the castle.
- If it happens to be Wednesday, catch bus 111 from Vleuten train station which will directly drop you in front of Kasteel de Haar.
If you are coming by your own car there is plenty of parking space just 5-minute walk from the castle entrance. The parking fee is €6 per car. GPS coordinates 52.118325, 4.983909.
About its history
Kasteel De Haar has a history that dates back to 1391, at which point the property was transferred to the De Haar family as a fiefdom. Over the years, the castle has been destroyed and restored as it passed through many hands. In 1890, baron Etienne van Zuylen van Nijevelt inherited the impressive ruins of De Haar Castle. He had always been fascinated about his family history and had fantasized about rebuilding De Haar Castle on a grand scale as a monument of his family history. In 1887 when he had married the French baroness Helene de Rothschild his dream came true.
In 1892 the rebuilding of the castle started with Rothschild money under the direction of the famous Dutch architect PJH. Cuypers who also built the Rijksmuseum and Amsterdam’s Central Station. The construction of the castle completed in 1907.
The village of Haarzuilens had been situated around the castle at that time. For the decoration of the park, the village Haarzuilens, except for the town church, demolished and rebuild 1.5 kilometers away.
Park and inside castle
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 with more than 7,000 trees were transplanted into the park. The main attractions are Rose Garden and the Roman Garden. The grounds of this beautiful property are breathtaking. The castle looks very impressive surrounded by water and gardens. It’s a picture-perfect place.
After exploring the Gardens, we went inside the castle. At the entrance hall there is a free locker facility to store your belongings.
In every room there are staff members who can guide you and help you with information. most of the information about the place is written on cards, in every room, in both English and Dutch.
There is also a television screen, playing the video about the complete history of this castle. You will visit The Hall, Ball Room, Dining Hall and the old Kitchen. The interior is also furnished with many antiques from around the world. This tour inside the castle takes less than an hour. Although there are around 200 rooms, visitors are allowed to see only a handful of the rooms.
There are few restaurants, which are in the former stables of the castle, near the entrance. There is also a souvenir shop along with the ticket office.
The castle is used as a museum throughout the year, except in September of each year when its privately inhabited by the Van Zuylen van Nijevelt family, hosting an array of the rich and famous.
This castle is a perfect wedding destination and many couple book this place for their biggest event. So before planning your visit check online or by phone for any wedding or function that may restrict your entry to the castle. To enjoy the castle garden visit in summer or during a day with clear weather.
How much it cost
Like most other European palaces and castles there are 2 type of tickets available at Kasteel De Haar. One is for Garden only where you need to pay € 6 and another is for Garden and Castle both. Children less than 4 year are free For Adults ticket costs € 17,00 and for Children between 4 – 12 years costs € 11,00.
Castle Park is open every day between 09.00 – 17.00 Hrs. Castle is open every day between 11.00 – 17.00 Hrs. Last access to castle at 16:15 Hrs.
Although this is not an entirely medieval castle, but I do recommend to visit it.