Oops … The Life of a Castleholic 2016

This afternoon Castleholic‘s Svenja said on Twitter: “I just did the maths for an upcoming post: I visited 19 castles and palaces this year – at what point do you start calling it an addiction?” History of Royal Women‘s Moniek replied: “I visited 42 things, of which 22 were a castle or palace. I am deeply ashamed.” It made me wonder how many residences, estates, castles and palaces I actually visited in 2016. It took me a while to go through my personal Facebook, but I think I have made a fairly accurate list. I must admit I haven’t been able to go inside everywhere, as sometimes you are just allowed to walk around or visit the gardens, and some of them are rather small. But I come to 17 … of which I have visited two twice this year and only counted once. And that despite of an ankle injury. And no, I haven’t counted the Lego castles I have seen this year. Also not counted are the churches, exhibitions and other royalty/nobility related things I did see this year.

The castle year only started with a visit on 20 March to the Royal Palace in Amsterdam, actually together with Moniek. A visit without a particular reason I think. I visited again with another friend on 3 September, when we had a look at the Royal Portraits exhibition.

On 24 April me and two friends from Belgium and Denmark visited the Royal Greenhouses at the Laeken Palace. You can’t visit the palace itself, but the greenhouses are open three weeks a year. Really a wonderful place and very recommendable.

The second week of May I visited Denmark. With a friend I walked around the tiny estate Herningsholm in Herning. Not quite sure if it qualifies for this list, but really it once was a large manor. I also visited the Koldinghus in Kolding and saw the Fabergé exhibition.

The injury prevented me from doing a lot in the Summer, but early August I was in East Frisia, Germany and visited three castles there. The gardens of Lütetsburg Castle are lovely and you can see the buildings itself, but unfortunately you don’t get further than the gate. In Dornum I went to see the Beningaburg (also Osterburg), where you at least can go inside and have a drink. I only saw the outside of the Norderburg, which nowadays is a school.

On 6 August I joined some friends and visited the Palace Noordeinde in The Hague, only exceptionally open for four Saturdays in the Summer. Really something very special.

Actually where I live, in Groningen, The Netherlands, they have something that used to be the Court of the Stadtholders – when they were in Groningen. The garden is still nice, but the buildings are housing a hotel and some other things. Not sure how much of it is still original. Anyway in August I have recorded actually having been in the garden, although I have passed the walls and buildings many times this year.

Palace Het Loo – with Moniek again – on 20 August, when we saw the Vincent Mentzel photo exhibitions, the gardens from the rooftop, some lovely table decorations and dresses from the Queens Wilhelmina and Juliana, as well as some nice new vases. And of course I visited again on 17 December to see Christmas at the Palace and the Anna Pavlovna exhibition.

On 10 September I visited two castles: Beverweerd Castle and Zuylen Castle, in the Netherlands. Not often I am in this part of the Netherlands.

My parents, sister and I had a look at the (former) Borg Ewsum in Middlestum, near Groningen. But there is not much left, and as there was a noisy event going on, we didn’t want to have a better look at the remains.

Of course in October I went to Albania. Maybe not much of a castle, but I actually was in the Royal Residence in Tirana, where Crown Prince Leka and his now wife Elia live. Just shortly, but still. And I also was on the outside of what still is called the Royal Palace by monarchists. On my last day in Albania I also visited Kruja Castle.

Last but not least a week ago I had a walk around the Haneburg in Leer. Another school that you can’t just enter.

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