Dutch royals call Paleis Het Loo home

Paleis Het Loo

Dutch royals feel at home in Paleis Het Loo. Since its construction in 1684, generations of the Dutch royal family live, work and unwind in the palace. The first Dutch royals to call Paleis Het Loo home are King-Stadtholder William III and his wife Queen Mary. Over the next 300 years, Dutch royals make the palace a home.

The Orange family tree | Paleis Het Loo
The Orange family tree at 'The House of Orange' exhibition

Dutch royal family have close ties with Paleis Het Loo

Paleis Het Loo is alive with memories for the royal family of the Netherlands. King Willem III and Queen Emma reside in Paleis Het Loo during the summer months and see it as their escape from the hustle and bustle of The Hague. The Dutch royals marry in 1879 – he’s aged 62 and she’s aged twenty. In 1888, they retreat to Paleis Het Loo permanently. Two years later, King Willem III dies, and his daughter Wilhelmina becomes queen.

Because Wilhelmina is only ten years old when her father dies, her mother Queen Emma serves as regent for her until she turns eighteen. The mother and daughter continue to live primarily in Paleis Het Loo. It is Wilhelmina’s favourite place to be as a child, queen and former queen. She always calls Paleis Het Loo home.

Queen Wilhelmina’s drawing room | Paleis Het Loo
Queen Wilhelmina’s drawing room

Dutch royals grow up in Paleis Het Loo

Queen Wilhelmina marries Duke Hendrik of Mecklenburg-Schwerin in 1901. Princess Juliana is born in 1909 and is the royal Dutch couple’s only child. Princess Juliana spends her childhood and youth in Paleis Het Loo. You can see her nursery and childhood with the original furnishings in Paleis Het Loo. Prince Bernhard proposes to her at Paleis Het Loo, and the Dutch royals marry in The Hague in 1937. The couple takes up permanent residence in Paleis Soestdijk in Baarn, but they remain connected with Paleis Het Loo for the rest of their lives.

Princess Juliana’s salon-bedroom | Paleis Het Loo
Princess Juliana’s salon-bedroom

Dutch royal family life in the palace

Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard have four daughters: Beatrix, Irene, Margriet and Christine. While the Dutch royal family live at Paleis Soestdijk in Baarn, they spend a great deal of time at Paleis Het Loo as the official summer palace. The Dutch royals have private chambers in Paleis Het Loo. Queen Wilhelmina’s apartments on the main floor are converted into apartments for Queen Juliana. This is where she works and receives guests, officials and dignitaries while in residence at Paleis Het Loo.

Prince Bernhard has his apartments on the floor below. He stays in Prince Hendrik’s former apartments. He converts Prince Hendrik’s bedroom into his reception room. He chooses modern furniture and soft furnishings for this space where he welcomes guests, dignitaries and captains of industry. You can see this room with the original furnishings in the refurbished Paleis Het Loo.  

Gardens | Paleis Het Loo
Dutch baroque gardens

Dutch royal family life returns to the palace

Princess Margriet marries Pieter van Vollenhoven in 1967. The newlywed Dutch royals move into the East wing of Paleis Het Loo. So Paleis Het Loo is once again home to Dutch royals. Princess Margriet and Pieter van Vollenhoven have four sons: the princes Maurits, Bernhard, Pieter-Christiaan and Floris. The family lives in Paleis Het Loo until 1975, making them the last Dutch royals to live in Paleis Het Loo.

Dutch royals in front of the palace | Paleis Het Loo
Princess Margriet and her family in front of Paleis Het Loo

Dutch royals remain at the heart of Paleis Het Loo

After Paleis Het Loo becomes a museum in 1984, the Dutch royals remain closely connected with the life of the palace. The Dutch Royal Family frequently stays at Het Oude Loo Castle as a holiday residence. Queen Beatrix officially opens the National Museum Paleis Het Loo on 20 June 1984. The Dutch royals go on to open numerous major exhibitions at Paleis Het Loo. Princess Beatrix opens several exhibitions at Paleis Het Loo through the years including ‘Chapeaux! The hats of Queen Beatrix’ in 2017 and ‘The Garden of Earthy Worries’ modern sculpture exhibition in 2019. Queen Maxima opens the major exhibition on Anna Paulowna in 2016. King Willem-Alexander attended the grand opening of the renovated Paleis Het Loo in March 2023. He says: ‘It feels like coming home.’

Dutch King Willem-Alexander | Paleis Het Loo
Dutch King Willem-Alexander at the grand opening of the museum in 2023. Photo: Frank van Beek

Royal family The Netherlands: House of Orange permanent exhibition

Want to find out more about the history of the Dutch royals? Visit ‘The House of Orange’ permanent exhibition at Paleis Het Loo. Using objects, images and animations, the exhibition tells the story of the history of the Dutch royal family from William of Orange to Amalia, the Princess of Orange. Professional guides give 15-minute introductory talks on the history of the Dutch royal family every Saturday and Sunday. They are provided on a rolling schedule between 11 am and 4 pm.