You might have heard already, but this Summer, as last year, the Noordeinde Palace and the Royal Stables open their gates again. The Palace opened its doors on Saturday 15 July 2017, and the three Saturdays afterwards. Like last year, the tickets were sold out within a day. The Stables can be visited for three weeks, from Tuesday to Friday between 18 July and 4 August 2017. If you will be in The Hague during this time, I recommend you having a look at the website to see whether there are still tickets available.
I visited the Palace already last year – surprisingly I just notice I didn’t post about it back then – and enjoyed my visit a lot. There were a few tiny changes this year, but as the Palace isn’t open on the same day as the Stables, I decided to visit the Stables this year. It is not that I live around the corner. It was lovely to have a look at these Stables finally and to see actually how big the place is. I enjoyed having a look at the horses, the carriages (even when I had seen several of them before) and the few cars. The staff was very informative and helpful, and even took several pictures of me during my visit – very handy if you travel alone. It is very nice that you are given a nice booklet with information about the Palace and the Stables.
The Stables form part of the Civil Household and is headed by the Crown Equerry. This Crown Equerry is responsible for organising the procession for the state opening of parliament on the third Tuesday in September and other public occasions. The Stables were founded by King Willem I of the Netherlands in 1815. The present location at the Hogewal in The Hague is in use since 1878.
The Royal Stables are responsible for transport of the members of the Royal House and the Royal Household. Staff takes care of the royal cards, the motor coach, horses, carriages and coaches belonging to the Royal House. There are about 30 horses – all named by Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands I was told. In the Riding Stable are usually eight horses, being used by members of the Royal House and the King’s adjutants. In the Carriage Stable are about 24 carriages horses, according to tradition all black. They are either Friesian, Gelderland or Groningen horses. For them there is an indoor and an outdoor manege.
The Royal Stables also take care of more than 70 carriages. Most of them are being kept at the Palace Het Loo in Apeldoorn. Furthermore there are about 30 cars for members of the Royal House, their guests, the Royal Household and the transport of horses and luggage. Nowadays the royal family uses cars from Volvo and Audi. There is also an extended Cadillac for foreign heads of state. And there are still some old Fords. They all have a blue colour and a number plate starting with AA. There is also the royal bus.
There are plans to keep the palace and the stable open for visitors for a few weeks each Summer in the future also. Because the Palace is in use as working palace during the week, it will only be open on Saturdays.