Paleis Het Loo reopens to the public

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Paleis Het Loo reopens to the public
Installation view.

AMSTERDAM.- Paleis Het Loo, the largest 17th-century palace of the House of Orange-Nassau and a national museum since 1984, is open for visitors as of today. It has been closed for a long time due to a thorough renovation. Kossmanndejong is working with the museum to give the palace a new lease of life. Kossmanndejong are still developing the exhibitions in the new underground extension. But you can now visit the renewed palace routes, the audio tours and a presentation on the history of Paleis Het Loo in the renovated historic palace.

Traces of the past

Your visit starts at the servants’ entrance, a room Kossmanndejong transformed to tell the history of Paleis Het Loo. A film brings a model of the palace and gardens to life and takes you on a journey through time, from the construction of the palace to the current renovation. You can also admire traces left by residents of Paleis Het Loo over the past centuries. Most of them are everyday objects, from pots and shards to the water pipes from the gardens’ first fountains. Archaeologists discovered some of these objects during the renovation.

Historical immersion

The palace rooms look the same as they did when the royals roamed them. To allow visitors to fully experience this historic atmosphere, Kossmanndejong omitted as many “museum” elements as possible. Unnecessary distractions, such as text signs, disappear. Kossmanndejong also examined how visitors should move through the space. While Paleis Het Loo is one of the most visited museums in the Netherlands, it’s also full of small corridors and narrow rooms. By adjusting the routes and audio tour length to support the expected number of visitors, Kossmanndejong ensures a smooth and comfortable visit. If designers did their job well, you won’t even notice hey were there.

'If you don't notice we were there, that means we've done our job well.' --Robin Schijfs, Lead designer Kossmanndejong

Invisible runners

To further enhance the authentic palace experience, Kossmanndejong developed an “invisible” runner that is almost indistinguishable from the original floor. Kossmanndejong photographed the floors and printed the patterns directly onto the runners. The route markers and audio stops are also printed on the carpet. This way, Kossmanndejong protects the palace’s historic floors while maintaining the rooms' immersive qualities.

Audio encounters

There are two routes in Paleis Het Loo. Along the East Route, you walk through the palace in the 17th century when the newly built royal seat was one of the great centres of power in Europe. During the tour, William III’s best friend whispers the secrets of the Stadtholder-King in your ear. The West Route reveals how later generations of the royal family lived in the palace. You can choose between two stories: the comical family show At Home with the Royals, or a more intimate tour where Queen Wilhelmina and her immediate family take centre stage. Screenwriters wrote the three audio tours, imbuing each one with its own character and transforming the narrative into a progressive story that builds as you enter each room.

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