Het Loo Reopens after Renovations

Posted in on site by Editor on April 24, 2022

Construction at Apeldoorn, in the Netherlands, continues until at least 2023, but the palace interiors are once again open. From the press release, via Art Daily (18 April 2022). . .

Paleis Het Loo—the largest 17th-century palace of the House of Orange-Nassau and a national museum since 1984—is once again open for visitors. Built in the 1680s, it has been closed since 2018 for a thorough renovation. Kossmanndejong is working with the museum to give the palace a new lease on life. The design firm is still developing the exhibitions in the new underground extension, but you can now visit the renewed palace routes, with new audio tours, and watch a presentation on the history of Paleis Het Loo in the renovated historic palace.

New carpet runners are printed to match the historic floor coverings and include audio cues.

Visits now begin 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 with a journey through time, from the construction of the palace to the current renovation. Visitors can also admire traces left by residents of Paleis Het Loo over the past centuries. Most 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.

The palace rooms look the same as they did when the royals roamed them. To allow visitors to experience more fully 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 you don’t notice we were there, that means we’ve done our job well.” –Robin Schijfs, lead designer for Kossmanndejong

To enhance the authentic palace experience, Kossmanndejong developed an ‘invisible’ runner that is almost indistinguishable from the original floors. 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.

There are two routes in Paleis Het Loo. Along the East Route, visitors walk through the 17th-century palace, one of the great centres of power in early modern Europe. During the audio tour, William III’s best friend whispers the secrets of the Stadtholder-King. 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 focused on Queen Wilhelmina and her immediate family. Screenwriters wrote the three audio tours, imbuing each with its own character and transforming the narrative into a progressive story that builds along the route.

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