14 May 2012


A few weeks ago I visited Soestdijk where the late Queen Juliana of the Netherlands lived (www.paleissoestdijk.nl). It became a royal residence in 1937 when major works were done and 1940s-style private apartments were added. Just above the fisherman you can see two large windows which forms part of this addition at the back of the palace.

Soestdijk is a state domain and the Dutch government is now deciding what should happen to it. Not easy: if your Dutch is any good, have a look at the different reports that have been produced for the Rijksgebouwendienst so far (www.rgd.nl). The site contains some interesting pictures of the 1937 refurbishment. Until a decision has been taken it is open to the public.  
Soestdijk started in 1650 as a hunting lodge for the mayor of Amsterdam. The son of Stadtholder V acquires it in the early 19th century and when he marries Anna Paulowna of Russia, the lodge is remodelled in empire style, with two elongated wings, closely following her ancestral home in Pavlovsk (http://www.alexanderpalace.org). During the works the white stucco and strange clock tower-extension are added (see top photo). 

Even with all the extensions, she complains bitterly about the plainness of the place to her brother, the Czar of Russia. He orders a shipload of oversized marble statues and porphyry urns to be sent to her, still there today. Even so, the palace retains a very unpretentious Dutch summer residence style. 

This picture shows the Baarnse wing, with the main entrance and Bordes (raised entrance platform) and the Stuczaal behind the main entrance (as shown in the picture above). 

The 1937 refurbishment were done in the right-hand part of the corps de logis and are in a typical 1940s style with light beech honey-coloured panelling, light blue carpets and Lalique ceiling lights. Worth a visit!

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