Paleis Het Loo Nationaal Museum © RVD

Het Loo Palace

Het Loo Palace was built in 1685 at the behest of Stadholder William III (later King William of England). It is located on Het Loo Royal Estate, which is also the site of Het Oude Loo Hunting Lodge.

The palace has long been used by the royal family, among other things as a summer residence for Queen Wilhelmina, while it was state property. After their wedding in 1967, Princess Margriet and Professor Pieter van Vollenhoven lived for a time in a wing of the palace.

On the grounds of Het Loo Palace stands Het Loo House, the present home of Princess Margriet and Professor Pieter van Vollenhoven.

The palace today

In 1971 it was decided that Het Loo Palace would be turned into a museum, showing how members of the Royal House lived in the palace over the years. The stables house a large collection of carriages from the holdings of the Royal Stables.

One wing of the palace is devoted to the Museum of the Chancery of the Netherlands Orders of Knighthoods, where a collection of Dutch and international medals and decorations is on display.

The museum regularly hosts new exhibitions. In 1998 Queen Beatrix celebrated her 60th birthday at the palace. Prince Maurits and Princess Marilène had their civil marriage ceremony there. Some of the youngest generation of the royal family were baptised in the palace chapel.


The museum draws around 400,000 visitors a year. Exhibitions are held there on a regular basis, sometimes featuring pieces from the collection of the Royal Archives. A substantial proportion of the permanent collection is from the House of Orange-Nassau Historic Collections Trust.

The palace and garden are open to the public from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10.00 to 17.00.


The palace was designed by Jacob Roman.

Stadholder William III bought the medieval castle Het Oude Loo in 1684 and erected a hunting lodge on the property. The lodge was mainly used as a country house for his wife, Mary. After William III became King of England, he had the palace enlarged in 1692-93, replacing colonnades with pavilions. The colonnades were moved to a newly laid out garden. The interior was designed by Daniel Marot.

19th and 20th centuries

In 1807 Louis Bonaparte had the palace remodelled in Empire style, while retaining the work of Marot.

During his reign, King Willem I had the garden redone in the English landscape style. King Willem III had a number of extensions built. Queen Regent Emma modernised the palace in a number of ways, for example, installing electrical power. Queen Wilhelmina took the initiative to remodel part of the palace in the fashion of the 17th century. In 1911 the government paid for a new floor to be added, along with a grand dining room. After this Queen Wilhelmina did not attempt any further restorations. She used Het Loo as her summer palace, and moved into an apartment in the west outer pavilion after her abdication. After her death in 1962 she lay in state in the palace chapel.

Princess Margriet and Professor Pieter van Vollenhoven were the last residents of the palace. They lived in the east wing. In 1975 Queen Juliana decided that the palace should be converted into a museum. In 1984 the palace was opened to the public, after a thorough restoration and reconstruction of the garden, which followed the 17th-century design.

Het Oude Loo hunting lodge

Het Oude Loo hunting lodge is located on Het Loo Royal Estate in Apeldoorn. It is used by the royal family as a country house and guest residence. Het Oude Loo, which is a listed building, has been state property since 1968. The King rents Het Oude Loo from the state of the Netherlands.

History of Het Oude Loo

The oldest reference to Het Oude Loo is from 1439, when it belonged to a certain Udo Talholt. Stadholder William III bought the hunting lodge in 1684 from Johan van Ulft and built a new palace on the grounds, Het Loo Palace.

In the French period Het Oude Loo became state property, and French soldiers were billeted there. When Louis Bonaparte became King of Holland, he had the canal around the lodge filled in. When he was a child, it had been prophesied that he would drown, and he did everything he could to prevent that prediction from coming true.

After the French period King Willem III spent much of his time at Het Oude Loo. Queen Wilhelmina had the property restored by J.P.H. Cuypers in 1904. The canal that had been filled in was redug. In 1968 C.W. Royaards was hired to carry out a further restoration, in which he undid much of Cuypers's work. After Royaards's death J.B. Baron van Asbeck completed the restoration of both Het Oude Loo and Het Loo Palace.

Het Loo House

Het Loo House in Apeldoorn is the home of Princess Margriet and Professor Pieter van Vollenhoven. The house, which is located next to Het Loo Palace, is their private property.

Het Loo House was built in the early 1970s under the direction of the Amsterdam architect M. Evelein. Princess Margriet and Professor Pieter van Vollenhoven moved in in 1975. The house consists of three connected parts: a private wing, an official wing and an office wing which was completed in 2010. The arboretum onto which Het Loo House looks was laid out at the behest of King Willem III (1817-1890).

Het Loo Royal Estate

Het Loo Royal Estate is the collective name for the vast woodland area consisting of the Royal Domain proper (6,700 hectares), Hoog Soeren (3,000 hectares, state property) and Het Loo Palace Park (650 hectares, also state property). Collectively, these properties form what were once the extended grounds of Het Loo Palace. Het Loo Palace borders on the Palace Park, and Het Oude Loo Hunting Lodge is located in the grounds of the Park.

The Royal Domain is administered by the sovereign (the King), while Hoog Soeren and the Palace Park are formally administered by the State Property and Development Agency (RVOB). From the perspective of landscape management and the protection of irreplaceable local flora and fauna, these properties constitute a single wildlife area. This is why the daily management of both domains falls to the Royal Forest Department of the Royal Household.

Het Loo Royal Estate has been connected with the House of Orange-Nassau for over 300 years. The use of the Royal Domain is reserved for the King. To ensure that this three-part property would remain a single entity, Queen Wilhelmina entrusted the Royal Domain, which was then her private property, to the state in 1959.

Royal Forest

The Royal Forest is part of Het Loo Royal Estate. The majority of the Royal Forest, 6,700 hectares, is for the use of the sovereign. It was purchased between 1900 and 1915 by Queen Wilhelmina. In 1959 she sold her private share to the state of the Netherlands, on the condition that the sovereign would retain usufruct. A smaller area, 3,000 hectares, is state property and falls under the State Property and Development Agency (RVOB) of the Ministry of Finance.

The Royal Forest Department manages the Royal Estate. As the head of this department and steward of the Royal Estate, the Chief Forester is responsible for the management of all flora and fauna in the Royal Estate.