Castle De Haar is located near Haarzuilens, in the province of Utrecht in the Netherlands. The current buildings, except for the chapel, date from 1892 and are the work of Dutch architect P.J.H. Cuypers.
The oldest historical record of a building at the location of the
current castle dates to 1391. In that year, the family De Haar
received the castle and the surrounding lands as fiefdom from Hendrik
van Woerden. The castle remained in the ownership of the De Haar
family until 1440, when the last male heir died childless. The castle
then passed to the Van Zuylen family. In 1482, the castle was burned
down and the walls were torn down, except for the parts that did not
have a military function. These parts probably were incorporated into
the castle when it was rebuilt during the early 16th century. The
castle is mentioned in an inventory of the possessions of Steven van
Zuylen from 1506, and again in a list of fiefdoms in the province
Utrecht from 1536. The oldest image of the castle dates to 1554 and
shows that the castle had been largely rebuilt by then. After 1641,
when Johan van Zuylen van der Haar died childless, the castle seems to
have gradually fallen into ruins. The castle escaped from total
destruction by the French during the Rampjaar 1672. In 1890, De Haar
was inherited by Etienne Gustave Frédéric, Baron van Zuylen van
Nyevelt, who was married to Hélène Caroline Betsy, Baroness de
Rothschild. They contracted architect Pierre Cuypers in 1892 to
rebuild the ruinous castle, which took 15 years.
In 2000, the family Van Zuylen van Nyevelt passed ownership of the castle and the gardens (45 ha) to the foundation Kasteel de Haar. However, the family retains the right to spend one month per year in the castle. In the same year, the Dutch society Natuurmonumenten bought the surrounding estate of 400 ha. An extensive restoration programme of the castle and the gardens was initiated in 2001 and is projected to be finished in 2010.
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