• Exhibition: The seasons of Duivenvoorde

    April 8th - October 29th 2017

    In the Netherlands we are fortunate enough to enjoy all four seasons. Alhough we may be concerned about de climate and complain about the weather, none of us would prefer seasons of endless summers or winters. And so it has been for generations. ‘I took advantage of this first beautiful  spring day to go to Duivenvoirde’ Arent IX van Wassenaer wrote to his father-in-law Hans Willem Bentinck First Duke of Portland on October 11th 1709 after persisitant rainstorms.

    Indoors and Out
    The seasons in all their multicolored glory are a source of pleasure and wonder. Nature’s awakening in the spring, the endless summer nights, the brilliant autumn colors and the old-fashioned thrill of winter. Duivenvoorde has it all. Outdoors the English landscape park provides a sensory experience of the seasons : seeing, smelling, feeling and tasting. But indoors as well.  For years people have brought nature, and in doing so the seasons, indoors. The historical interiors and the estate’s collection are witness to this : floral and animal motifs on wall coverings, ceramics, books and prints, views of summer in family portraits or as images on their own.

    Nowhere has winter been better portrayed than in the painting ‘Schaatsers bij een Hollandse stad’ (‘Skaters near a Dutch City ‘) by Andreas Schelfhout (1857). Or in the seasonal elements of the four painted panels by Maria Vos commissioned by Hendricus Adolfus Steengracht in 1875. And who remembers which activities were unique to which months ? The series of twelve 18th century Delft Blue plates tell the story. In addition to the exhibition there is also an extensive Outdoor programme including events for the whole family organized by season.

    The Duivenvoorde Restoration Fund

    Duivenvoorde wishes to remain a living monument to nature and to our cultural heritage but is dependent upon its own resources. The Duivenvoorde Restoration Fund makes a tangible contribution to necessary restoration projects. The historical turret clock chimes once more (Project 2012), the gilding in the 18th century Marot Room is gradually being replaced (Project 2013-2014 project), the painting by Andreas Schelfhout ‘Schatsers bij een Hollandse stad’ (‘Skaters near a Dutch City’) formerly part of a family collection was acquired and is again ‘home’ (Project 2015) and the historical garden walls surrounding the Leidse Garden is soon planned for restoration (Project 2016).

    Let the clocks tick and the bells’ chime !
    The lived-in feel which characterizes Duivenvoorde is unique for the Randstad region. The castle (1226) has always remained in the family and in fact van Wassenaer descendents still reside in a portion of the castle to this day. Everything in and about the estate reminds us of its former residents ; so too the numerous clocks alluding to the passage of time. Unfortunately most of the clocks are now silent and in need of restoration. That is why Duivenvoorde has chosen the restoration of its clocks as the objects for this year’s restoration project. Let the clocks tick and the bells’ chime! A fitting project considering the theme of this year’s exhibition – The Seasons of Duivenvoorde. 

    Castle, Park and Estate: a Unique Ensemble

    Duivenvoorde is one of the oldest estates in Zuid-Holland province of The Netherlands and represents a unique ensemble of castle, park and estate. Duivenvoorde is a green oasis in the hectic day-to-day of its surroundings. The centuries old estate and 19th century landscape garden is located between Voorschoten and Leidschendam-Voorburg. The 260 hectare estate also includes three working farms.

    Duivenvoorde castle’s roots extend back to the 13th century and the castle remains partially occupied to this day.  The original square defensive tower underwent a major reconstruction in the 17th century, the result of which we see today. The spectacular Marot Room with an ancestral portrait gallery featuring prominent Van Wassenaer heirs dates to the 18th century and provides a breathtaking view of the landscape gardens. The present bridge dates back to the 19th century and forms a integral part of the English landscape garden, replacing the formal French baroque gardens of the preceding period.

    The Duivenvoorde estate has always been the domain of prominent aristocratic families. The first five centuries was dominated by the Van Wassenaer family, followed by the Steengracht family in the 19th century and culminating with the Schimmelpenninck van der Oye family in the 20th century. Neither Duivenvoorde Castle, the estate or collection were ever sold but always remained in the family through inheritance. The last owner of the estate, Baroness Ludolphine Henriette Schimmelpenninck van der Oye entrusted Duivenvoorde to a foundation in 1960. Following a major renovation in 1963 Duivenvoorde was opened to the public as a museum.

    Historic Interiors
    Duivenvoorde Castle has fourteen historic interiors, spanning the 17th through the 19th centuries, which are open to the public. Because Duivenvoorde was never sold but always passed on, collection and all, through inheritance the owners’ presence can still be keenly felt today. The historic interiors appear as if still occupied and exude an air of authenticity. Every room has its owns character.

    Castle Park
    The English landscape gardens surrounding the castle date back to the period 1841-1849. Landscape Architect Jan David Zocher jr. incorporated meandering paths, fountains, bridges, romantic woodlands and beautiful panoramic views in the new design for the park. Recently the park has undergone a major renovation. Goups of trees, lanes, footpaths, grass and water features were brought back from Zocher’s original design. In addition visitor accommodation and pathways were expanded.

    Weddings, Meetings and Celebrations

    Duivenvoorde is not just a museum, it is also a magnificent setting for gatherings of all kinds. Wedding photographs, wedding ceremonies or an entire wedding day.

    Duivenvoorde Castle also offers conference packages with catering as desired. Various rooms on the ground floor are available for meetings. The largest of which is the monumental 18th century Marot Room. For smaller gatherings the Dining Room, adjacent to the Marot Room and the Board Room on the first floor also offer elegant accommodation.

    If you are looking for a location for a celebration or special dinner then Duivenvoorde Castle can provide the ambiance you may be looking for. There are various possibilities for both large and small groups. Consider a High Tea or lunch, afternoon cocktails, an intimate dinner or festive evening. Lunch and dinner can be arranged for groups from 10 to 90 persons. Parties in an informal setting with standing tables and buffet are possible for up to a maximum of 150 guests. Gatherings outside the castle in the open air are also possible.

    We look forward to meeting with you personally at Duivenvoorde Castle to discuss the various possibilities. To set up an appointment please call 071-5623784 or e-mail at


    Opening hours
    Opening hours (during season): tuesday – saturday, only with a guided tour at 2 pm and 3.30 pm. Guided tours for groups on demand. Information: 071-5623783 or Foreign language guided tours on demand.

    € 10.00    Adults
    € 5.00      Children 13-16 years
    free           0-12 years
    free           Museumcard, ICOM
    free           Vereniging Rembrandt

    € 10.00    Groups (min. 10 and max. 20 persons); museumcard not valid
    € 13.50    Groups including coffee/tea
    € 15.00    Specials

    * per person. The admission fee for the museum includes a visit to the park.


    Opening hours
    The park is open all year from 8 am until sunset. Dogs are not allowed.

    € 1.00       Adults
    € 0.50       65+ and Children 0-16 years
    € 16.00     Annual ticket for families

    Admission fee is valid for walking on the estates Duivenvoorde and De Horsten (Ter Horst, Eikenhorst and Raaphorst).


    By Car:
    Duivenvoorde Castle is located on the provincial road N447 (Veurseweg) between Voorschoten and Leidschendam-Voorburg in Zuid Holland and can be easily reached by car. There is ample, free parking available.

    By Public Transport:
    Bus 45 and 46 stop near the entrance to the estate (Kniplaan). From there it is a further 800 meters to the castle.



Kasteel Duivenvoorde
Laan van Duivenvoorde 4
2252 AK Voorschoten

T: 071-5613752