De Haar Castle is one of the largest and most beautiful castles in the Netherlands. Situated about a 30-minute drive south of Amsterdam, this fairy-tale castle can trace its roots back to the 12th century but the current structure was built in the 19th century. Commissioned by Baron van Zuylen van Nyevelt (who married into the Rothschild family; one of Europe’s wealthiest families), De Haar Castle and the adjacent village of Haarzuilens were designed by Pierre Cuypers, who was also responsible for some of Amsterdam’s iconic landmarks such as the Central Station and the Rijksmuseum.

De Haar Castle.

De Haar Castle – a fairy tale castle near Amsterdam

With its towers, moats, drawbridges and gargoyles, De Haar Castle truly is an enchanting sight. I highly recommend taking a tour of the castle – the guides tell fascinating stories about the origins of the castle, interesting anecdotes about the van Zuylen/Rothschild family and offer an intriguing peek into life as an aristocrat in the 19th century. You’ll also learn about the celebrities who have stayed at De Haar Castle over the years such as Elizabeth Taylor, Brigitte Bardot, Roger Moore and Coco Chanel.

In addition, the interior of the castle is absolutely stunning – if the central foyer doesn’t grab your attention, the ballroom will! I also recommend a stroll around the extensive gardens with its centuries-old trees, lakes and statues. Purchase entrance tickets to the castle and gardens here. Or join a half-day tour to De Haar Castle from Amsterdam.

Entrance to the castle grounds.
De Haar Castle in Haarzuilens with its impressive moat.
A side view of the tallest castle tower.
The front view of the castle.
The entrance of the castle with its gargoyles.
Ceiling – interior of Castle De Haar.

The ornamental gardens at the castle.
The other buildings on the castle grounds are in a similar style.
Extensive parklands and lakes surround the castle.
There are lots of beautiful trees in the park.
You’ll also find lots of deer in the park.
Ornamental pond at the castle.

Read about a culinary treat at a gorgeous village near this castle or things to do in Utrecht, a historic city a short drive away.

De Haar Castle is located in the charming village of Haarzuilens (map), a 20-minute drive south of Amsterdam. There’s ample parking (paid) just outside the castle. The office in the castle sells tickets for the grounds or castle and grounds, and there are frequent tours of the castle. If you came by car, ask to include the parking charge with your ticket.


Read other Velvet Escape posts on The Netherlands


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