Kasteel de Haar Reflected
Origins of De Haar Castle
The origins of De Haar Castle can be found in the Middle Ages. The medieval house was founded in the 14th century. In the 15th century the castle was destroyed and rebuilt with its still existing pentagonal floor plan. During the 18th and 19th century the castle was abandoned and fell to ruin. The young owner baron Etienne van Zuylen van Nijevelt van de Haar acquired the ruin by inheritance in the late 19th century. He decided to rebuild and restore his ancestral home with grandeur. Baron Etienne gave the assignment to the famous Dutch architect Pierre Cuypers. Piere Cuypers was well known for the construction and design of Amsterdam Central Station, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam and more than 90 churches.
Restoration and Rebuilding
The enormous project started in 1892. The 15th century walls were restored and integrated in the new design. In less than 20 years the impressive building arose, complete with towers, moats, a drawbridge and more than 150 rooms. The new building was built in the Neo-Gothic style which was very popular in the 19th century. Inspired by the Middle Ages but with modern luxuries. A central heating system, a lift, a modern kitchen, hot and cold running water in most rooms and electrical lighting provided all the luxury the baron and his guests needed during their stays.
The most remarkable aspect is that the castle was restored and rebuilt in a way unseen in Europe. The vision of Cuypers and baron Etienne didn’t stop with the building itself but also included the interior design of the building, the surrounding gardens, chapel and even the village Haarzuilens. This “Gesamtkunstwerk” (integrated work of art") was a creation of a unique world.
The park and gardens
The gardens directly surrounding the castle were designed in the French Geometric style, like the gardens of Versailles. The rest of the 135 acre park was designed in the English Country Style with winding paths, beautiful vistas of the castle in the distance, bridges and beautiful, impressive trees.
The chapel was almost entirely gone when baron Etienne first arrived in the 1880s. Cuypers rebuilt the chapel based on the still visible floor plan and the remains of the wooden barrel vault.
The village Haarzuilens
Approximately at the place where the Roman Garden lies, the medieval village Haarzuilens was situated until 1892. The village didn't fit in the plans for the park and gardens so baron Etienne decided to relocate the residents and village. An entirely new village was build on the outskirts of the park. The residents moved there in 1898, accompanied by great festivities.