Royal Palace Het Loo

Before you say 'That's a crazy name!', please take into account that the double 'o' is actually pronounced like the single letter 'o' in Dutch, making the word sound more like 'low' than like the British water closet you're thinking of. Thus, 'Het Loo' is pronounced as 'Hat Low'. Better, right?

In 1684 William III purchased the hunting lodge 'Het Loo' which is currently called 'the old Loo', the old lodge still on the premises. He built a new building and made it a summer palace.

In 1806 it became part of Louis Napoleon's  property, who was made King of the Netherlands by Napoleon I. He made quite some changes to the gardens and plastered the buildings white. It became known as the 'White Loo'. 

In 1815, when the royal family returned from exile,  it was decided that from then on, the palace was designated as summer residence for the head of state. 

In 1911, Queen Wilhelmina added an entire floor to the middle section of the building and extra buildings on the east side, which caused some of the symmetry of Het Loo to get lost.

During the 2nd World War the building was occupied by the Germans. Queen Wilhelmina returned to Het Loo and passed away here in 1962. The last occupants were Princess Margriet and her husband (and aunt of the current King) who vacated the palace in 1975. 

In 1970 is was decided that the palace would be turned into a museum and in 1977 the work started. The intention was to return Het Loo to its former glory from before Napoleonic times. The white stucco was removed as well as the extra floor and the garden was returned to its Baroque style. It opened in 1984. 

Besides Het Loo and the Palace garden, there is an entire Royal Estate initially purchased by William III in the 17th century. Situated around the Old Loo, the area is over 1600 acres and accessible to the public. It is home to deer, wild boar and smaller animals like badgers and foxes, not to mention birds.

The website has it's entire information in English and is identical to  the Dutch  site. The information is here. If you want information about the palace park, check out the tab 'gardens'.

Sadly, as of January 7, 2018, the inside of the palace will be closed for renovations for 3 years so visiting the palace itself will not be an option. The 'Old Loo' is still being used by the royal family and also not accessable to the public but the gardens are open to the public in April and May.

 Nederlandse Rhododendron vereniging

Dutch chapter of the ARS