The Glass Coach on display

I almost didn’t make it to the second exhibition I wanted to visit after the Hermitage in Amsterdam. On my way to the railway station I was diverted by “Open Tower Day”, and several great towers on my way to the train were open. I did climb the tiny tower of the “Waag”, and made it to the top of the tower of the Beurs van Berlage, the building where the civil marriage of King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima took place. Luckily the train left almost immediately, even when it took 45 minutes to reach The Hague. Then the trouble began. Only one of three busses passing the Louwman Museum is actually available on weekends … and of course it turned out I had to wait for 45 minutes before the next bus came.

So I finally managed to get at the Louwman Museum and had only 1 hour and 15 minutes left for the museum … I actually had to hurry through the museum to get out in time, so if you want to pay a proper visit take more time than that. A pity as all these old cars (more than 250!), posters and other items connected with cars in this quite big car museum deserve a bit more attention. From old carriages to racing cars, you can simply find the whole history of the car here. Cars once used by famous people like Elvis Presley, James Bond, Steve McQueen and Sir Winston Churchill and also some royals. The real reason for my visit however was the Glass Coach … the exhibition about its restoration will be on display until 21 June.

This Ferrari 500 superfast speziale from 1965 was once owned by Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands. A big lover of fast cars, especially Ferraris, and he loved them to be green. As a good friend of Enzo Ferrari he had the car done the way he wished it to be: painted in Verde Pinto, with a beige leather interior and a 4.0 litre twelve-cylinder.

A (Mercedes) Benz like this one was used in June 1910 in the Prince Heinrich Race – named after a brother of Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany – a race of 1,900 kilometer across Germany and a part of France. Some of these cars also took part in the Tsar Nicolas’ race in Rusland a month later, and drove 2,800 kilometers in eight days. This car was completely restored a few years ago.

Unfortunately the 1933 Mercedes-Benz once owned by Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany is on display at an exhibition at Huis Doorn in Doorn, The Netherlands, at the moment.

On 16 March King Willem-Alexander personally opened the exhibition in this museum that was opened by his mother, then Queen Beatrix, on 2 July 2010. The exhibition is being organised in connection with the celebration of 200 years Kingdom of the Netherlands, a Kingdom that actually existed exactly 200 years on 16 March.

The Glass Coach was ordered by King Willem I of the Netherlands in 1821 at Pierre Simons in Brussels, and was finished in 1826. It is the eldest coach in the collection of the Dutch Royal Stables and was only used on special occasions, like the weddings of Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard in 1937, and Queen Beatrix and Prince Claus in 1966. Apart from the coach itself, also the harnesses of the horses are normally being used by the Royal Stables. And there are uniforms of coachmen also. Although it has been restored and might be used again in the future, you never know when that is. And even then … when do you have a chance again to get this close to such a beautiful coach. I for sure enjoyed being able to have a good look, and did of course take the opportunity to have myself photographed with it.

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