Sunday, June 11, 2017

Castleholics Anonymous with Arjan

In today's edition of Castleholics Anonymous I speak to Arjan, a fixture in the royal Twitterverse, about royal residences and more - enjoy!

At Amalienborg Museum (All photos by Arjan)
Over the past year or so, you have shaken hands with quite a few royals - tell us about your most memorable experiences!
Oh boy, I could go on about that for hours! Talking to members of Liechtenstein's Princely Family on Staatsfeiertag was fantastic and shaking hands with the Duchess of Cambridge was also very special. I also attended Queen Fabiola of Belgium's funeral, which was a great honour. I shook hands with Guillaume and Stéphanie of Luxembourg after their civil wedding (their wedding celebrations were fantastic) and could congratulate them. So many great experiences!

Turning to castles... Do you still remember the first one you ever visited and what your impression was?
That must have been Loevestein Castle, on a school outing. It made a huge impression on me as a child. The castle is famous (in the Netherlands at least) because of Hugo Grotius, who had been held captive there and escaped hidden in a book chest. That story was fascinating of course.

Grand Ducal Palace in Luxembourg
Of the castles and palaces you have visited since, which would you recommend most to any Castleholic to go and see?
I must say that I mainly visit castles because of their relationship with certain royals or royal families. Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle are fantastic of course: magnificent buildings that have seen generations of royals living there, up til this day. I also loved the Royal Palace in Stockholm and Amalienborg Palace in Copenhagen (but that was because of the museum, which I loved). A great summer tip is the Grand Ducal Palace in Luxembourg: open for a few weeks every summer and I highly recommend a tour. I also loved Nymphenburg Palace in Munich: a great reminder of the splendour of the former Bavarian Royal Family. And a must-see for every castle lover: Schloss Neuschwanstein, Ludwig II of Bavaria's 'fairy tale castle'. Incredibly crowded with tourists, but it's like you're walking in a Disney movie. You don't want to miss that one!

If I would give you the money to buy a castle to live in (alas, I don't have quite enough), which one would you go for?
Schloss Wolfsgarten, the hunting lodge of the former Grand Ducal Family of Hesse and By Rhine. It looks like it's located in a huge forest. It looks romantic, and it's more like a collection of big houses. I think it's beautiful.

In the Steinerner Saal of Schloss Nymphenburg
Focusing on visiting and not purchasing castles, which ones are on top of your list to see in the near and not-so-near future?
I would love to visit Fredensborg Palace in Denmark. That has a lot to do with my interest in King Christian IX of Denmark and his descendants. At Fredensborg, the huge family gathered during summer time. And of course, it's still one of the residences of the Danish Queen. I planned on going there this year, but that couldn't be arranged (it's only opened in the summer during a few weeks). Maybe I'll go next year! I would also love to visit the Royal Palace in Oslo one day!

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