Over 300 castles and fortified palaces can be found in the Netherlands. These are open for the public and even though not all are wheelchair-friendly, most of the impressive gardens that belong to them are accessible. Some of these royal buildings can be visited also inside by wheelchair-users.
Soestdijk Palace is a former palace of the Dutch Royal Family and it is located on the border of Baarn. The royal building consists of a central block and two wings. It was the official residence of Princess Juliana and Prince Bernhard, former queen and king of the Netherlands until 2004. It was uninhabited for more than a year when it opened for the public in 2006.
The tour takes the visitors through the representative style rooms and the private quarters of the former queen and king. The original atmosphere of the castle is very well preserved. The building is authentic and since it was inhabited for almost seventy years, it is a vulnerable part of the Dutch cultural heritage.
The palace and the park are accessible for wheelchair users. There are several disabled parking spots available. The palace and the main route through the paved paths are accessible for visitors with a wheelchair or rollator. The size of the elevator is 90x120; therefore the wheelchair size must be the same size or smaller for visiting the palace. Both in the palace and the greenhouse there are adapted toilets available.
It is possible to rent a wheelchair at the cashier or at the entrance of Palace Soestdijk. However, reservation in advance is not possible.
The castle was built by a knight called Diederic Loef of Horne in the Dutch countryside where two rivers meet. That time it was a good location to levy customs. Nowadays, it is a meeting point with friends, family or colleagues for a day out. The castle is also available for parties, meetings, weddings and it is possible to spend the night. There is a museum that belongs to the castle where visitors can learn virtually about the Middle Ages and the Hollandic Water Line.
The fort is wheelchair accessible, except the upper floors. Wheelchair rental at the location is possible. Adapted toilets are available and guide dogs are permitted.
Visitors with a disability are allowed to drive all the way into the fort. Visit the website of the castle!
The palace is located just outside Apeldoorn. It was a residence of the Oranges, a royal family that played a central role in the politics of the Netherlands and had significant importance in Europe in the 17th century. The building went through renovation and is open for the public since 1984. The original furniture, object and paintings of the Oranges can be seen by the visitors. The palace is a national heritage site and one of the most visited museums in the Netherlands. The gardens that belong to the building are unique in the country with their symmetrical design.
The distances in the grounds of the palace are notable. It is advised to take plenty of time for the visit and to pick a quiet day. The quietest days are Tuesdays and Fridays and mornings are the calmest periods.
Since the walk is quite long -8 minutes- from the entrance building to the palace, golf cart transport is offered that are wheelchair- and walker accessible. The return ticket is €1 per person and there is room for eight people.
Het Loo Palace is wheelchair and walker accessible, but not wheelchair-friendly due to the limitations of the building and the gravel paths in the gardens. The whole interior can be visited except the upper floor of the East Wing and the Chapel. The corridors of the palace are narrow, wheelchairs with a width of 76 cm or smaller can access. The two elevators in the main building have 208 cm height, 140 cm depth and 89 width. Adapted toilets and parking for visitors with a disability are available as well. Guide dogs are allowed. Wheelchairs can be rented at the ticket office, but reservations cannot be made in advance. Companions from care institutions can enter free of charge if this is noted via firstname.lastname@example.org at least 3 working days prior to the visit.
Beside the palace, the temporary exhibitions, the restaurants and the film theatre are accessible. The film theatre can accommodate up to 10 wheelchair-users.
Visitors with a disability are unable to join the regular guided tours outdoors, however, they can listen a guide who tells the story at a fixed point in the gardens. Visit the website of the palace!
Hoensbroek Castle can be found in the south part of the Netherlands in Limburg province and is one of the largest and most stunning castles in the country. It consists of 40 different beautiful halls and rooms and the oldest structure of the castle is dates from 1250. Visitors can view the ballroom, the spooky dungeon and enjoy the view from 60 m height in the medieval look-out tower.
The castle complex is surrounded by a moat and a bridge arches over the water that leads to the main building. Two identical towers are situated at the main building and the forecastles enclose two large inner courts.
Hoensbroek Castle was inhabited through seven centuries. It has been residence for medieval knights, earls and rich men. Even though not everyone had the same prominent role, all these noble people filled high political functions, married in their own circle, grabbed land and titles. There are several stories around the castle that were carried by word of mouth and sometime got exaggerated to a more imaginative version. Found out more about these legends during your visit!
The castle is mostly accessible for wheelchair-users and elevator is available in the building. Parking space for people with a disability is available within 50 meters from the castle, free of charge. People with a disability and one companion can purchase entrance ticket for a reduced price. Visit the website of the castle!
Photo: Rictor Norton & David Allen
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