Huis Doorn

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Huis Doorn
Red brick front of the building with a stone bridge leading to the entrance
Huis Doorn in 2010
Huis Doorn is located in Utrecht (province)
Huis Doorn
Location of the museum in Utrecht in the Netherlands
Established 1956[1]
Location Langbroekerweg 10[2]
Doorn, Netherlands
Coordinates 52°01′53″N 5°20′19″E / 52.0314°N 5.3386°E / 52.0314; 5.3386Coordinates: 52°01′53″N 5°20′19″E / 52.0314°N 5.3386°E / 52.0314; 5.3386
Type National museum
Historic house museum
Visitors 25,000 (2012)[3]
Director F.M. Louhenapessy[4]
President R.C. Robbertsen[4]
Website www.huisdoorn.nl

Huis Doorn (Dutch pronunciation: [ɦœys dʊːrn]; English: Doorn Manor) is a manor house and national museum in the town of Doorn in the Netherlands. The museum shows the early 20th-century interior from the time when former German Emperor Wilhelm II lived in the house.

Huis Doorn was first built in the 9th century. It was rebuilt in the 14th century, after it was destroyed. It was again rebuilt in the 19th century to its present-day form. The gardens were also created in the 19th century. After World War I, Wilhelm II bought house, where he lived in exile from 1920 until his death in 1941. He is buried in a mausoleum in the gardens. After the German occupation in World War II, the house was seized by the Dutch government as hostile property.

Huis Doorn is now a national museum and a national heritage site. The interior of the house has not been changed since Wilhelm II died. Every year in June, German monarchists come to Doorn to pay their respects to the emperor. In 2012, the museum had 25,000 visitors.

Early history[edit]

The first house was built in the 9th century, but it was destroyed and rebuilt in the 14th century.[5] It was again rebuilt in the late 18th century in a conservative manner and, in the mid-19th century, a surrounding park was laid out as an English landscape garden.

Baroness Ella van Heemstra (1900–1984), the mother of actress Audrey Hepburn, spent much of her childhood living in the house.

Residence of Wilhelm II[edit]

Hermine Reuss of Greiz and Wilhelm II at Huis Doorn in 1933

The property was purchased in 1919 by Wilhelm II, the last German Emperor, as his residence-in-exile (1920–1941), following his abdication after World War I. During his years in exile, he was allowed to travel freely within a 15 mile radius of his house, but journeys farther than that meant that advance notice had to be given to a local government official. As he disliked having to kowtow to a minor official, he rarely journeyed beyond the "free" limit. The former Emperor regularly exercised by chopping down many of the estate's trees, splitting the logs into stacks of firewood, thereby denuding the matured landscape as the years progressed. Hence he was called by his enemies "The Woodchopper of Doorn".

Wilhelm's asylum in the Netherlands was based on family ties with Queen Wilhelmina, whom, some claim, he embarrassed by his political statements. In fact, Wilhelm rarely spoke publicly, while in exile. His first wife, Dona, died at Huis Doorn and, afterwards, her body was taken back to Potsdam in Germany where she was buried in the Temple of Antiquities. Wilhelm could only accompany her on her last journey as far as the German border. In 1938, his grandson, Prince Louis Ferdinand, was married to Grand Duchess Kira of Russia, in Huis Doorn. Despite the Nazi occupation of Holland in 1940, Wilhelm went undisturbed by the Wehrmacht.

Five of Wilhelm's beloved dachshunds are buried in the park. A marker is dedicated to the memory of his dog, "Senta", who was a favorite of Wilhelm and died in 1927 at the age of 20.

Wilhelm II died of a pulmonary embolism at Huis Doorn, on 4 June 1941, with German occupation soldiers on guard at the gates of his estate. He was buried in a small mausoleum in the gardens, to await his return to Germany upon the restoration of the Prussian monarchy, according to the terms of his will. His wish that no swastikas would be displayed at his funeral was not heeded.

Historic house museum[edit]

Dining room in 2013

The Dutch government seized the manor house and its household effects in 1945 and, since then, many new trees have been re-planted and the wooded parkland is returning to its earlier glory.

Huis Doorn opened its doors as a historic house museum in 1956.[1] It was just as Wilhelm left it, with marquetry commodes, tapestries, paintings by German court painters, porcelains and silver. Wilhelm's collections of snuffboxes and watches that belonged to Frederick the Great are considered by some to be the most interesting of the artifacts.

In June each year, a devoted band of German monarchists still come to pay their respects and lay wreaths, accompanied by marchers in period uniforms and representatives from modern monarchist organisations, such as Tradition und Leben of Cologne.

The house became a national heritage site or rijksmonument in 1997.[5]

In 2012, the museum had 25,000 visitors.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b (Dutch) Reinier Baarsen, Het Huis Doorn, Jaarboek Monumentenzorg 2001, 2001. Retrieved on 11 April 2014.
  2. ^ Contact, Huis Doorn. Retrieved on 27 September 2013.
  3. ^ a b (Dutch) Nieuwe toekomst voor Huis Doorn, Jaar van de historische buitenplaats, 2013. Retrieved on 27 September 2013.
  4. ^ a b (Dutch) Organisatie, Huis Doorn. Retrieved on 27 September 2013.
  5. ^ a b (Dutch) Monumentnummer: 506961 - Huis Doorn, Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed. Retrieved on 9 April 2014.

External links[edit]

Monumentenschildje blauw wit.svg Dutch Rijksmonument 506961