If royal experiences are on your list while traveling, visit the Netherlands and get up close to the House of Orange-Naasau in cities such as Delft and The Hague.
Start your exploration of royal Delft at Museum Prinsenhof, the place that witnessed one of the most important events in Dutch history. In 1584, this is where William of Orange was shot in the stairwell by Balthasar Gerards after the king of Spain put a price on the royal head. Today, Museum Prinsenhof is a wonderful museum that brings you face to face with history. See the holes left by the bullets that ended William of Orange’s life and are still embedded in the wall nearly 450 years later.
Around the corner from the Prinsenhof is the Oude Kerk (Old Church), whose leaning tower dominates Delft’s skyline. Take a picture of the leaning tower, the beautiful stained glass, and the graves of famous Dutchmen including Johannes Vermeer, Piet Hein, and Anthonie van Leeuwenhoek.
In about five minutes, you can walk through the pleasant streets of Delft to the Nieuwe Kerk (New Church), where William of Orange is buried. Ever since the day he was interred, the Nieuwe Kerk has been the location of the tomb monuments of Royal Family members — you can admire the beautiful monumental grave of the “Father of the Nation”. In addition to William of Orange’s impressive grave, there is also a permanent exhibition about the church’s extraordinary history, and you can climb the tower for the best view of Delft.
Lange Voorhout Palace
Across the square along the royal pond adjacent to the Binnenhof, on the stately Lange Voorhout is Lange Voorhout Palace. This used to be the palace of Queen Emma, King Willem-Alexander’s great-great-grandmother. This is where you will find Escher at the Palace, an interactive museum dedicated to the mind-boggling works of M.C. Escher.
Delft is not the only royal city in the Netherlands. The Hague, the government city where King Willem-Alexander holds offices in a palace, is just 15 minutes away by train or car. Admire beautiful palaces and the Binnenhof, this city’s centuries-old center of power.
Start your visit to royal The Hague with Noordeinde Palace. Once the residence of William of Orange’s widow and her children, today it is the office palace of our current monarch, King Willem-Alexander. The adjacent Palace Gardens are open year-round and perfect for a picnic with a view of the palace and Royal Stables.
A walk through The Hague’s center to the Binnenhof, the government center of Holland, takes less than 10 minutes. Prince Maurits, one of William of Orange’s sons, took up residence in the Binnenhof in 1585. That marked the beginning of the centuries-old ties between The Hague and the Dutch Royal Family. In present times, this is where politicians from the Upper and Lower Houses meet every day.