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.
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.
Each year the tours focus on a particular aspect of the abundant collection. Previous exhibitions included family portraits and the relationship between Duivenvoorde and the House of Orange Nassau (Dutch royal family). This year the exhibition Upstairs, Downstairs tells the story of life on the estate in an around 1900.
Duivenvoorde castle retains its residential character. The historic interiors are fully furnished: reception hall, sitting rooms, bedrooms, dining room, library and laundry room. One can imagine the rustle of gowns, the chatter of children’s voices and the household staff as they move about the house. Walks were taken in the park all year round. Just as one can to this day. Aristocratic homes such as Duivenvoorde tell us a story. A story about noble families and their staff above and below stairs. For Duivenvoorde ca 1900 that means the Steengracht and Schimmelpenninck van der Oye families. Their presence can still be felt. In the summers they enjoyed a well-deserved rest together with family and friends. For this to happen good staff was essential. Especially on such an estate. Tasks such as farming, cleaning, cooking, washing and chauffering.
With the “Upstairs, Downstairs” exhibit, the furnishings and collection (including costumes) of Duivenvoorde combine to bring the past to life. This includes the original kitchen, which has been been brought back to life especially for his occasion. The exhibit extends to the park as well. Three of the family carriages are on display in the coach house. The exhibit is interwoven with the existing historic interiors and forms an integral part of a visit to Duivenvoorde.
The lived-in feel of the castle allows us to imagine what life was like for the aristocratic residents and their staff. One can imagine the rustle of dresses, the chatter of children’s voices and the staff busying themselves throughout the house. One could enjoy a relaxing stroll in the park throughout the entire year, just as one can today.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com. 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.
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).
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.