Famous residents and guests

Royalty, Hollywood stars and literary luminaries have all stayed in the beautiful castles and country estates of the Heuvelrug. Although the well-maintained structures were originally built for the Dutch nobility, they have provided accommodation for a variety of famous guests throughout the centuries. Nowadays, many Dutch castles and country estates are open to the public for tours and visits, allowing you to discover the secrets of these castles.

Imperial, royal and noble visitors

For the crowned heads of Europe Soestdijk Palace was a regular destination, because the House of Orange was connected with many noble houses of Europe through marriage. Tsar Peter the Great stayed in the Netherlands for some time and acquired possession of Museum Oud Amelisweerd, which he wished to transform into royal quarters. And did you know that Tsar Alexander II visited his aunt Anna Paulowna at Soestdijk Palace in the 19th century? But the palace was not permanently occupied until 1937, when Princess Juliana and Prince Bernhard took up residence after their marriage.

Film stars, political and scientific figures

When Emperor Wilhelm II decided to abdicate in 1917, he went into exile in the Netherlands. He initially enjoyed the hospitality of Amerongen Castle, after which he settled definitively in Huis Doorn, where numerous international guests visited him. English writer James Boswell spent some time at Slot Zuylen and artists and writers such as Karel Appel and Cees Nooteboom were regular guests at Groeneveld Castle.  And did you know that the De Paltz estate was designed by landscape architects Copijn en Springer, and is now also home to none other than Herman van Veen.

Royalty and famous people

The list of famous people who visited Dutch castles and were seen at country estates is long and illustrious, and more new names keep being added, for example at De Haar Castle. Every year in September, Baron Étienne van Zuylen van Nyevelt and Baroness Hélène de Rothschild would receive many members of the jet set, including Brigitte Bardot, Coco Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Maria Callas and Roger Moore. 

Actor, director and programme maker Ursul de Geer grew up at  Kerckebosch Castle and in 2015 handed over the keys of his ancestral home to its new occupants. 

And did you know that De Hooge Vuursche Castle was purchased by Heineken in 1975 and that a wing of the castle served as a safe house for the since deceased Freddy Heineken?

Would you like to know more about the history of these famous occupants and their guests? Then go on a bike excursion or walk that takes in these amazing castles and country estates and explore the stories yourself!