Soestdijk Palace (Dutch: Paleis Soestdijk [paːˈlɛis sustˈdɛik]) is a former palace of the Dutch Royal Family. It consists of a central block and two wings.
Although named after the village of Soestdijk, which is largely in the municipality of Soest, the Soestdijk Palace is just north of the border in the municipality of Baarn in the province of Utrecht. It was the home for over six decades of Queen Juliana and her husband, Prince Bernhard until their deaths in 2004.
In the middle of the seventeenth century the Country house on the Zoestdijk was built for Cornelis de Graeff. After the rampjaar his son Jacob de Graeff sold it to Stadhouder William III. Then the palace originally started as a hunting lodge that was built between 1674 and 1678 by Maurits Post, who was also involved in building two other royal palaces, Huis ten Bosch Palace and Noordeinde Palace. William left the Netherlands in 1688 to reside in London as William III of England.
During the French invasion in 1795, the palace was seized as a spoil of war and turned into an inn for French troops. When Louis Bonaparte became King of Holland, he took possession of it and had it extended and refurnished.
It was presented to William II of the Netherlands in 1815 in recognition of his services at the Battle of Waterloo. From 1816 to 1821, the palace was significantly expanded by adding two wings, the northern or Baarn wing, and the southern or Soest wing. In 1842 its contents were enriched by the addition of the neoclassical furnishings of his former palace in Brussels, today the Palais des Académies.
Soestdijk became the property of the State of the Netherlands in 1971, though it was used by Princess Juliana (Queen of the Netherlands from 1948–1980) and Prince Bernhard as their official residence until both of their deaths in 2004. Soestdijk Palace then remained empty and unused for over a year before its opening to the public. Since spring 2006, it has been possible to visit, pending a decision about its future use.
A forest, the Baarnse Bos, is adjacent to the palace. It was developed as a French landscape garden between 1733 and 1758.
Media related to Soestdijk Palace at Wikimedia Commons
- (in Dutch) Paleis Soestdijk (official website)
- The Royal Women of Soestdijk Palace