Finally, after three years the Noordeinde Palace in The Hague, The Netherlands, opened its doors again this summer. Starting on 23 July both the palace and the mews are open on four Saturdays.
If you are still thinking of buying a ticket: unfortunately once again it is sold out already.
I managed to get a combination ticket for the palace and the mews, a novelty this year. Prices have gone up, from 6 Euro for each, a combi ticket now was 15 Euro. It was also possible to buy a ticket for either the palace or the mews. If you think of going next year, keep an eye on this website. Tickets usually go on sale a few weeks beforehand, and the dates are even known earlier.
Tickets can’t be passed on to other people, and you need to bring your passport/identification.
Not much new in the palace itself and this year there was only a very tiny special exhibition. Furthermore there was not as much palace staff itself inside the palace I think, more people hired to do the job. When the palace just opened, one could ask the staff a lot of questions about the daily life inside the palace. But I found the staff still very willing to answer questions and figuring out where to see things.
After having visited nearly each year since it opened, I think it is about time to leave it to others to visit. Although I probably go again next year, as I have promised my British friend Sue to accompany her. As one of my fellow royalty watchers I met pointed out: the public has changed somewhat. Where in the beginning you mainly saw huge amounts of fans, now more visitors are there because they are just curious to see where the King and Queen work. Visiting the palace is not as new anymore as it used to be.
Honestly I find audio tours a nuisance. When you are allowed to take photos, like here, it is very irritating having both an audio guide, and a camera around your neck. I also had a small plastic bag with me, as big bags are not allowed (their depot by the way is well organized). So it was all a bit much.
The audio tour – available both in Dutch and English – was something new this year. It is King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands himself who gives the introduction. There are 13 stories about rooms and halls, and the family, on the route through the palace. For a change I did take the audio tour with me, and I must admit it was well done, with good information and things were pointed out that you probably would have missed otherwise.
On the other hand, something negative, the audio tour makes people stay inside the palace much longer than in the past. People are listening to the audio tour and standing on the same spot for ages. The result: queues inside the palace to see a room sometimes. And it was much more crowded than I remembered from previous years. Hardly any masks, but the palace had done its best to let in fresh air. Some windows were open, making it possible to get a glimpse of the balcony from the side.
I have a feeling there is less to see in the royal mews than usual. Less horses, and the ones that were there were not allowed to be touched or fed any longer. I guess the change was made because it wasn’t good for the horses to be touched by hundreds of people each day of opening.
However new is that apart from the Glass Coach and the Creme Calèche also the Golden Coach is on display. No longer surrounded by glass, as it was the case at the Amsterdam Museum last year. You can’t walk around, but they prominently show the controversial side of the carriage.