Many people must have watched Downton Abbey, a famous British historical drama series set in the early 20th century. Then we might get one glimpse of such noble family’s life.

The visit of Castle De Harr offers us a chance to look into the Van Zuylen family as the owners. De Haar Castle is the biggest and most luxurious castle in The Netherlands.  Few castles in The Netherlands can equal De Haar for its ideal image of a medieval fortress with towers and ramparts, moats, gates and drawbridges.

Like a real fairy-tale castle it rises majestically from parkland with impressive trees, old gardens and ponds. I was completely amazed by the breathtaking splendor that surrounded the international rich and wealth of history and art.

In 1890, De Haar was inherited by one Baron Etienne , who had married Baroness Hélène de Rothschild in 1887. Together with Hélène, he contracted architect Pierre Cuypers in 1892 to rebuild the ruined castle, a project which took 20 years. The castle has 200 rooms and 30 bathrooms. For the interior Cuypers made extensive use of cast iron and richly ornamental wood-carving, and the castle was equipped by Cuypers with the most modern gadgets, such as electric lighting with its own generator, and central heating by way of steam.

For the period, the kitchen was very modern with an enormous furnace, 6 metres long. The tiles in the kitchen were decorated with the coats of arms of the families De Haar and Van Zuylen. Cuypers even designed the tableware. The interior of the castle was furnished with many works from the Rothschild collections, including porcelain from Japan and China, Flemish tapestries and old master paintings. (Abstracted from Rothschild Archive @

What do you learn from the above? Isn’t it a same story like Downton Abbey, the revival of a declining noble family through marriage with daughter of giant capitalist. The slightly difference to the TV show is that the daughter here is with family name of “Rothschild”.

Furthermore,  for over a century, as tradition, the  family resided in the castle in September to host lavish house parties by the baron and baroness to entertain prominent international guests.

Yes, I didn’t write anything wrong and you didn’t read anything wrong. Such more-than-200-room grand palace only has been taken use of one month in a year. Rich people’s life we can never image…

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