The grounds surrounding Castle De Haar were designed between 1892 and 1909 as an eclectic ensemble, consisting of a formal garden, a romantic park, a farm house and horticultural lots. One hundred years after its creation, the park needs a thorough facelift. Many trees are gone and some have grown so large that the original proportions have been lost. The undergrowth, so important for the spatial experience at eye-level, has mostly disappeared. The park has become too transparent and lacks excitement and adventure.
By carefully analyzing the elements and
structures that together constitute the park the master plan serves as
framework for the renovation and restructuring of the Castle de Haar
The present castle is based on a ruin, all that remained of a much older stronghold. It occupied a strategic position at the border of the river landscape with soil that allows trees to grow and the peat bog area to the north, that only supports meadows. Long drainage ditches run parallel and give the parcellation of the landscape its direction.
Over the parallel lines at ground level a completely different set of sightlines is superimposed. Fanning out from the castle, they provide an unobstructed view of places of interest further on in the landscape, like church towers and near-by villages. Conversely, in the park the casual stroller enjoys alternately the vistas and the view back at the castle.
Next to the formal garden with its neatly arranged geometric axis of water the romantically landscaped park offers a different experience. The layout of the footpaths resembles a double pretzel and with the shrubbery restored at eye-level, the park works as a maze in which to lose oneself, while still knowing where you are.
Finally there are the bodies of water in distinctly different patterns throughout the estate. The oldest of these are remnants of the original castle grounds, now part of the formal garden. Canals surround the castle proper, close to some ponds. Most dominant are the two stretches of water that are at the heart of garden and park: the ‘Grand Canal’ and the ‘Serpentine’.
Corporation ‘Kasteel de Haar’