Located just 30km from Amsterdam is the breathtaking castle Kasteel de Haar, full of opulence and splendor, waiting to be discovered. Surrounded by an expansive garden and designed by Pierre Cuypers who famously designed Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum and Central Station, Kasteel de Haar makes for the ideal day trip from Amsterdam.

Kasteel de Haar

The first known building on this property dates back to 1381, under the de Haar family, who owned it until 1440 when it was taken over by the Van Zuylen family. The castle fell into disrepair until 1892 when it was inherited by Baron Etienne van Zuylen and his wife Baroness Helene de Rothschild (yes, the Rothschild family) , who combined his dream of restoring the castle with her deep wallet to create the most extravagant building in all of the Netherlands.

Kasteel de Haar
The entry… just wow!

Kasteel de Haar is by far the most grandiose castle in the Netherlands – this is really a castle as you would imagine it, despite that it was never actually used by anyone from the Dutch royal family. Most Dutch castles like Muiderslot or Loevestein served a functional rather than opulent purpose, so their designs are much more modest. At it’s peak, the castle was more advanced than even the royal palaces and residences, featuring central heating and elevators which was very industrialized for that time. While the Dutch are very famous for their modesty and humility (even when it comes to architecture), Kasteel de Haar was always seen as ostentatious and over the top by Dutch standards.

Kasteel de Haar

After 20 years of restoration, Kasteel de Haar became the place for the rich and famous from around the world to visit in the Netherlands. It hosted the likes of Joan Collins, Elizabeth Taylor, and Gregory Peck. It boasts 200 rooms and 30 bathrooms, and would host up to 24 couples as guests at a time. Van Zuylen and Rothschild would assign guest rooms based on the social status of their guests: the more important the guest, the likely they were to be accommodated on the ground floor.

Kasteel de Haar
Where the Baron and Baroness used to entertain the rich and famous
Kasteel de Haar
The Baroness’ room

A tour around the castle takes about an hour, giving you the chance to explore the entry, library, Baron and Baroness’s bedrooms, and the castle’s equally impressive kitchen. Don’t be afraid to ask the hosts in each room about how the room functioned – they all speak English and add special knowledge and information to the room cards.

When the flowers are in bloom (unfortunately they weren’t for us since we visited around Christmas), take a stroll around the castle’s huge gardens. One of the best stories about the castle is that the fully grown trees on the property were actually uprooted from the forests nearby the castle at the request of the Baron when it was being restored. Something like that could never happen today, of course, but its fascinating what you could do if you had the money back then!

Looking for other day trips from Amsterdam? Why not consider Rotterdam or The Hague?

How to get to Kasteel de Haar from Amsterdam

The easiest way to reach Kasteel de Haar is by car – so if you can drive, do it! It only takes about 30 minutes from Amsterdam. If you don’t have a car, no problem – it is reachable by public transport as well.

Departing from Amsterdam Central Station, take the Intercity train to Utrecht where you will transfer to a Sprinter train to Vleuten. From Vleuten take Bus 111 to Kasteel de Haar.

Kasteel de Haar
You are now entering the castle

I strongly recommend buying your tickets ahead of time, especially on weekend or in peak tourist season. Kasteel de Haar is also a hit with families with kids, so expect a lot of local tourists as well.


Explore the area

Kasteel de Haar is located close to the city of Utrecht, and adorable, almost mini-version of Amsterdam that deserves a visit as well. After touring around the castle, consider making a quick hop over to Utrecht for a few hours where you can wander around the Oudegracht (Old Canal), a special dual-level canal that is especially lovely in summertime when the terraces at canal level are packed with Dutchies enjoying the weather and sipping a beer.

Dom Toren

Utrecht’s icon is the dominating gothic Dom Tower, the highest tower in the Netherlands which dates back to 1321. Strolling under the gaze of the Dom Tower, taking in the charm of Utrecht is the perfect way to finish up your day trip from Amsterdam to the area.

Where to stay in Amsterdam

There are countless great places to stay in Amsterdam. Here are a few picks for each budget:

Budget

CityHub

CityHub is the ideal place to stay if you are on a budget but don’t want to stay in a hostel. The prices are nearly as low as a hostel, but you’ll still get your own modern, private pod. Toilets and showers are shared, but you won’t have the hostel vibe as this hotel caters to those looking for a step up from the hostel experience. City Hub is also located just around the corner from the Food Hallen, Amsterdam’s huge food stall hall complete with a cinema and local boutiques.

Mid-range

Student Hotel

This design hotel located in Amsterdam East (still within the ring and just 10 minutes walk from the city center) was founded as a global community to unite students, professionals, travelers and creative nomads. The Student Hotel has hotel rooms, co-living and co-working spaces.

Upper end

The Hoxton

The Hoxton is a famous boutique hotel chain known for its both its accommodations and for its restaurants. The Hoxton breathes hip-ness and is the must visit for those who like to be recognized for their taste.

Did you find this post useful? If so, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

19 Comments

  1. The castle standing in the middle of the water looks lovely. When you say they had operational purpose what do you mean? Were they used like holiday homes by royal family or were they used by the senior officers of the administration. Could it be they are just homes of rich and famous people of their times? Always interesting to see a building that has seen 7-8 centuries.

    • gab.grow@gmail.com Reply

      Hi Anu, the operational purpose of most castles was protection, actually. So typically there were not holiday homes, at least here in Holland, which is quite different from castles in the UK for example! This is the only one in the Netherlands built to be used just for pleasure

  2. Kasteel de Haar is so grand! I had no idea this was an easy day trip from Amsterdam (I’ve been to the city many times), so will have to incorporate it into my next Netherlands trip. They have done an incredible job at restoring it – 20 years speaks to how big of a project and property it is though!! Thanks for the tip on purchasing tickets ahead of time. Will be sure to spend time in Utrecht at the same time, also a spot I haven’t yet seen.

    • gab.grow@gmail.com Reply

      Ah great that I can add something to your next trip to Amsterdam – it is really worth visiting! hope you will enjoy it 🙂

  3. I like how the exterior looks so cute, but the interior is gorgeous! They’re so different from the castles in Japan (where I am). Hope to see this one day!

  4. Wow that was so beautiful, much prettier than Muiderslot IMO. Guess I’ll have to come back to the Netherlands since I didn’t get to come here last time.

    • gab.grow@gmail.com Reply

      I agree, it is much more beautiful! Muiderslot is also nice but… this one really takes the cake! Definitely a good reason for you to return :)!

  5. I cannot believe that I haven’t heard of this castle, it is SO gorgeous! I have been to Amsterdam and I did take a day trip to Rotterdam and Hague but if I knew then about this beautiful castle, I would’ve gone here instead! I am such a castle person, I can’t believe this didn’t come up in my research then 🙁

    • gab.grow@gmail.com Reply

      I know! I lived here for 7 years and felt like I’d been everywhere in the country but didn’t know how beautiful this was! It is a good reason for you to come back and visit though!

  6. Kasteel de Haar is so offbeat and like a new dimension to tourist map of Amsterdam. Looks GRAND!
    Thanks for the stay options in Amsterdam.

  7. Wow. Kasteel de Haar is breathtaking! The decor, and outlooks splendid and glamorous. This is a replica of luxury. And those accommodations you listed too looks really beautiful and comfortable. I’ll make it to this castle someday.

    • gab.grow@gmail.com Reply

      it is breathtaking! hope you will get to visit it if you are in Amsterdam!

  8. I’ve been meaning to visit Utrecht for so long, so this is another attraction nearby to add to my list! Kasteel de Haar looks like a fairytale from outside. And compared to some castles is relatively demure architecturally… but the inside looks so opulent – so much gold! I love the pink bedroom – I presume that belonged to the Baroness? Thanks for showing me a place I’ve never heard of before!

  9. I just adore castles and have visited many over the years throughout Europe but to be honest had no idea there were such places like this in The Netherlands and certainly not this close to Amsterdam. What an absolutely epic building time, any wonder it is so amazing. Always love to learn about new places like this.

  10. Kasteel de Haar looks incredible! I adore Dutch/Flemish architecture and this castle really hits the spot (I also thought the Christmas tree was really pretty!). I had never considered Utrecht for a visit before, but I’ll definitely check it out now. I especially love the Oudegracht!

  11. I’ve never ever heard of Utrecht… However, I now really want to go! Kasteel de Haar looks absolutely stunning. It’s interesting that Dutch castles don’t get the notoriety that other European country’s castles do. City Hub looks like a really cool place to stay. Do they have double beds? Like, for couples.

    • gab.grow@gmail.com Reply

      City Hub does have double beds! No worries, it is also suited for couples. So many people have never heard of Utrecht or other cities in the Netherlands, so I always really encourage people to visit outside of Amsterdam, cause it really isn’t representative of the whole country

  12. Wow! Kasteel de Haar seems truly astonishing. I will be in Amsterdam for the next days so I might get there. I’m so happy to have stumbled upon your post. Any tips I should know prior to going there?

    • gab.grow@gmail.com Reply

      ah great! welcome to Amsterdam 🙂 If you want any tips on Amsterdam in general I have quite a few other blog posts on it located here: http://www.boardingcallblog.com/category/amsterdam/ but I would definitely recommend to see more than just Amsterdam – if you visit Kasteel de Haar, check out Utrecht as well! and don’t forget an umbrella 🙂

Write A Comment

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons