The Dutch royals will house 30 refugees in one of their guest castles, Het Oude Loo

Last Friday, Belgium’s King Philippe announced his immediate plan to house Ukrainian refugees in one of Belgium’s royal estates. The Belgian government quickly acted to facilitate their royal family’s compassion towards refugees, and help make it easier for Ukrainian refugees to be housed privately and indefinitely. That’s what I admire most of all, that the Belgian government is making it easier for royals and private citizens to offer shelter to Ukrainians. Of course, there was a lot of talk after that among the other royal houses in Europe. Prince Charles and Queen Elizabeth basically told people to look into it and made no firm commitments either way. But it looks like the Dutch royal family will house refugees too:

Since the Russian invasion began on February 24, more than 3.6 million Ukrainian refugees (according to the UN) have fled the country. One of the best things we can do to help right now is offer them a safe and welcoming place to stay. And while it’s truly admirable that so many people across Europe have already volunteered their own homes to house refugees, some people – like those with multiple properties – can definitely do more than others.

The Dutch royal family is leading the way. King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima of the Netherlands have announced they will open up one of their castles to eight Ukrainian families fleeing the conflict. Up to 30 refugees could be housed in a fifteenth-century castle on the Het Loo Palace estate in Apeldoorn, around an hour’s train ride east of Amsterdam.

Het Loo Palace is mostly used by the Dutch royals as a kind of country house and guest residence. Refugees won’t be staying in the entire thing – which is so grand it’s often called ‘The Versailles of the Netherlands’ – but instead in a smaller castle in the grounds called Het Oude Loo.

Sure, Het Oude Loo isn’t the biggest castle in the area, but it’s still a pretty special place. A national heritage site, Het Oude Loo is tall, gorgeous and surrounded by a very cool moat. It’s go beautiful gardens, too – with statues, ponds and even its own hedge maze.

According to Dutch News, 12,000 Ukrainian refugees have already arrived in the Netherlands. Willem-Alexander and Máxima join around 1,700 Dutch households who have already volunteered to take people in. And that isn’t the only way the Dutch government is looking to help. Among other things, national rail provider NS is providing free travel for those Ukrainians fleeing the conflict.

It’s unclear exactly how refugees for Het Oude Loo will be chosen, nor how long they’ll be able to stay but housing refugees is a generous, altogether lovely thing to do – no matter who you are. The Dutch royals are, at the very least, setting a good example for how other rich people with big houses can help those feeling the conflict. Over to you, Liz!

[From Time Out]

Yes, it’s a lovely and smart thing from the Dutch royals. That being said, I’m sure some questions will be asked. Questions like “why only the cool guest castle and not the main castle?” And “how many more properties do you have available right now?” Which are the same questions for the Windsors, honestly. Liz and Charles are acting like all of their palaces and castles and Duchy properties are ALL in use, 24-7, 12 months a year. And that’s not the case, at all.

PS… I wonder if the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will visit with Ukrainian refugees when they go to The Netherlands next month.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid.

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20 Responses to “The Dutch royals will house 30 refugees in one of their guest castles, Het Oude Loo”

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  1. Jjjj says:

    That’s awesome!

  2. EM says:

    It’s a great move from a humanitarian standpoint and also from a PR one. I hope the driver is humanitarian because let’s face it, all of Europe can be impacted by Putin’s wars and there but for the grace of God….

  3. Lucky Charm says:

    Good for them for doing this, and everyone else opening up their homes and AirBnB to refugees.

    “PS… I wonder if the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will visit with Ukrainian refugees when they go to The Netherlands next month.” Kaiser, I’d say that’s a sure bet!

  4. BeanieBean says:

    ‘Guest castle’. My my. I think this is lovely, just lovely. As for all those other royal estates, in any country, yes, they’re no doubt unoccupied & ostensibly available, but I would imagine a fair amount of prep work would be in order–particularly for the curators. What to do with the priceless antiques, artwork, object d’art, etc.? What a wonderful uplift to the souls for the people who might be housed there, but…with every day use comes every day problems–accidental breakage, worn fabrics, etc. This is setting a good example.

    • Wilma says:

      Not all of them are immediately habitable as it has been quite a while people actually lived in them.

  5. Stan says:

    Maybe some Dutch readers can fact check me on this, but Het Loo is really a museum open to the public these days so it would seem more appropriate to house people not in the main building. Moreover, it has extensive grounds that are also open to the public for walking and biking, so privacy might be a concern to have them in the middle of a tourist attraction.

    • Scal says:

      This is Het Oude Loo not Het Loo. Oude Loo is a guest house on the estate of Het Loo and isn’t open to the public or the museum. I’d guess that section also has a seperate garden and is away from the bike paths/walking.

      • Stan says:

        Yes, I understand but Het Oude Loo is part of Het Loo, is it not? And the question I thought was being asked was why weren’t the refugees being allowed to stay in the larger palace (Het Loo) and my answer was because the larger palace is used mainly as a museum, not as a residential palace.

    • Old Cheese says:

      Yes, Het Loo is a museum and currently under construction. Housing people there, would be like housing people in Versailles (but with bonus construction workers).

      Offering people to stay in Het Oude Loo is a very nice gesture.

  6. Nancy says:

    Personally I think only Harry will travel to the Netherlands. And that he absolutely will pay a visit to the Ukrainian refugees.

  7. Snuffles says:

    “PS… I wonder if the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will visit with Ukrainian refugees when they go to The Netherlands next month.”

    I’d say a 90% probability of that happening.

  8. Willow says:

    Are the buildings set up for people to live in them? And is there transportation to shopping and services like medical care? Because castles are great, but I’ve toured a few in Europe that no one could live in. Maybe hotels or guest quarters would be more practical.

    • Old Chees says:

      It’s not in the middle of nowhere, it’s close to a city (Apeldoorn). And because the museum Het Loo is nearby, there’s a busstop.

      Apparantly the emperor of Japan stayed there with his wife Masako when she was having mental problems in 2006. So the accomodation is probably up to par.

  9. Johanna says:

    It’s fantastic to see royals taking real action! I just wish that refugees from other war zones would be met with the same compassion 😔

  10. Jill says:

    Just imagine if all the European royal families opened up ALL their properties to ALL refugees, not just white ones…

  11. Eggbert says:

    I cannot understand how monarchies are still a thing. They’re just a huge waste of resources. Open up all the royal properties to the public: house refuges, convert buildings into community centers, turn those drafty castles into museums where the proceeds go to charity, pay reparations! I’m in my late 30’s, and it’s my sincere hope to see the dissolution of (at least) the British monarchy in my lifetime.

  12. Twinkle says:

    Very generous of them all of the other European countries that have shown compassion to the Ukrainians. Where were they when there were refugees from the Middle East and Africa?

    • Flowerlake says:

      Did you even check how many Syrian refugees were accepted just by Germany alone before you posted this?

      Note that Germany is a much smaller country than the US. Other European countries accepted refugees from Syria as well.

      How many did the US accept?

    • Rebecca says:

      There’s a lot of Syrian refugees in Europe. Sweden took in thousands upon thousand. I know that people on here like to show how good they are by pointing out racism, but this ain’t it. Many small European countries took in many more refugees from the Middle East than the US ever has.