Castles, country houses and estates: a unique experience

How do we experience castles, country houses and estates in The Netherlands? That is this year's theme on the national symposium to be held on 29 November 2017: Castle and country house museums: what to see and do?

Exchange knowledge

Together with Adrienne Vriesendorp (chairperson of the board of Castle Duivenvoorde), Adriana Esmeijer (director of the Prince Bernhard Culture Fund) and René Dessing (director of the Castles, Estates and Country Houses Foundation), Rik Janssen, Regional Minister for Zuid-Holland, opened the symposium. The symposium's aim was to exchange knowledge on the experience at castles and country houses. Zuid-Holland counts a number of successful examples. The Castles, Estates and Country Houses Foundation together with the Prince Bernhard Culture Fund and the Province of Zuid-Holland are organising the symposium.

Country estate area

Because of the increasing urbanisation, many country houses in The Netherlands have disappeared. The country estate area in Zuid-Holland (the area between Monster and Hillegom) still holds a large concentration of beautifully restored and accessible historic country homes. These are situated on our beach ridges and along our canals.

Working together

“The Province of Zuid-Holland not only protects its cultural heritage, but considers its accessibility and its ability to experience it, just as important. Cultural heritage makes us aware of our history, but also takes care of public revenues that can be put to good use in the maintenance of this heritage.

We actively look for the connection with recreation, tourism and water. Our cultural heritage lines, that connect a series of monuments with one communal story, are a good example. We arrange this together with the owners, authorities, entrepreneurs, social organisations and a host of volunteers”, says Rik Janssen.


Cultural heritage makes the surroundings more attractive. It tells the story of our history. The country estate area is one of the cultural heritage lines that tell the story of our history. That is why Zuid-Holland wants to protect this country estate area, make it visible and fit to be experienced. A place for everyone to enjoy the beautiful green environment in the centre of the dynamic Randstad conurbation. The realisation of this ambition is not something the Province can do on its own. Through the Cultural Heritage Table, the Province works with a large number of partners on making this cultural heritage line, the Country Estate Area, fit to be experienced.

Over the past few years, the Province of Zuid-Holland and the Prince Bernard Fund have each invested over €200,000 in subsidy in a theme fund for the country estate area. In all, the Province invested over €1.4 million in projects in the Country Estate Area in 2017. New investments will be made in the Country Estate Area un 2018. The Province has reserved over €1.9 million for projects. The funding of such projects always involves co-funding, and the input and commitment of volunteers is of key importance.