De Haar Castle. Utrecht. Netherlands
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De Haar Castle, locally known as Kasteel de Haar, lies next to the village of Haarzuilens in the province of Utrecht in the Netherlands.
De Haar Castle is probably the most visited castle in the Netherlands, after Muiden Castle. This Gothic fairy-tale castle we see today however was built from 1892 till 1912 with incorporation of the large 15th century ruins of the original castle.
De Haar Castle was founded in the 14th century on sediment deposits along a blind arm of the river Rhine. It was first mentioned in 1391. Originally the owner of De Haar Castle was a member of the Van de Haar family, who as a manservant of the Prince-bishop of Utrecht, had enough prestige to have a fortified residence built for himself and his family. What this residence looked like was never registered. In 1449 the castle became property of the Van Zuylen family through the marriage between Josyna van de Haar and Dirk van Zuylen. It probably got its pentagonal shape after the castle was destroyed in 1482 as a result of the quarrels between the bishop and the city of Utrecht.
The castle is now surrounded by a large park but this wasn't always so. From medieval times until 1898 the village of Haarzuilens had been situated around the castle. The entire village was torn down and rebuild 1.5 kilometers to the west. The village chapel however was rebuild and incorporated in the new park. This park, which had to be a full-grown park as soon as possible was created by transporting 7000(!) 40-year-old trees to De Haar Castle from all over the province of Utrecht.
August 17th, 2013
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