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Het Loo Palace was opened for public in 1984. From this moment the museum has given an idea of the historic connection between the House of Orange-Nassau and the Netherlands. Albron provides the culinary setting when visiting the palace in both de Balzaal as well as in the Prins Hendrik Garage. Last year both restaurants have undergone a great metamorphosis, they each got their own character, with a great end-result! Conceptional developed the two restaurant concepts in collaboration with Albron. We would like to tell you about ‘the making of’.
Restaurant de Balzaal is located in the west wing of the palace, by the croquet court. The second restaurant, Prins Hendrik Garage, is located in the stables square (Stallenplein), near the entrance of the museum, and overlooks the monumental stables complex. The question from the palace and Albron was as follows: develop a new restaurant concept for both Balzaal and Prins Hendrik Garage which contributes to the overall experience of Het Loo Palace. First we got into the history of the palace; Het Loo Palace, also called “the second Versailles “, was built in 1686 and was long used as the royal palace. After a reconstruction from 1976 to 1982 the palace opened for public in 1984 and became a national museum. Ever since, Het Loo Palace is still the best Dutch example of a royal residence from the second half of the seventeenth century.
The Golden Age serves as inspiration for the redevelopment of the restaurant Balzaal, a period in Dutch history that largely coincides with the seventeenth century. The northern Netherlands, which together formed the Dutch Republic, had a flowering period in the area of trade, science and arts. During the Golden Age the display cabinet emerged. Due to rising prosperity and growth in maritime navigation, people were able to afford luxury goods. These goods were displayed in a show case so people could show off their accumulated wealth. At first this mainly concerned Chinese porcelain and silver tableware, which, a the time, stood for status and prestige. We used this fact to make a statement by developing a contemporary display cabinet in the form of a bar, with contemporary ‘showpieces’ of, among others, Lenneke Wispelway.
Two other impressive objects in the Balzaal are the carpets. The design for the classic deep blue carpets was inspired by the gardens of Het Loo Palace. The base of the design is the baroque pattern of the 17th century gardens. We then added floral patterns which resulted in a mix of classic and contemporary shapes. The carpets are manufactured by Desso.
Details are not the details, they make the concept
The Balzaal is situated at the original site of the stables. The walls depict five 17th century hunting scenes on gold leather. The new restaurant concept is a combination of classic and contemporary elements; the classic look of the Balzaal, including the ancient wall paintings, combined with contemporary furniture and porcelain. Characteristic is the display cabinet; a large gold-colored cabinet, made up of different parts of brass, containing a collection of contemporary art pieces, carefully selected by Nicole Uniquole. Moreover the terrace has been completely remodeled and is bright and inviting. A perfect place to have a coffee or a glass of wine overlooking the gardens of Het Loo Palace. The menu is royal, including a generously topped club sandwich, a delicious chocolate cake and a elaborate High Tea. Het Loo Palace was even appointed by Quote as one of the best places in the world to have a High Tea!
Prince Hendrik, the husband of Queen Wilhelmina, was very interested in cars. Queen Wilhelmina, however, did not believe that cars would replace the carriages within a few years. Therefore, she found it unnecessary to build a garage. In 1914, Prince Hendrik got his way and a garage was built opposite the existing stables. Here, there was room for 8 cars. Nowadays the garage houses a restaurant. The original function of the Prins Hendrik Garage formed the basis for the new restaurant concept. From the use of certain materials and subtle references in furniture to recognizable elements on the wall. On two island buffets Albron presents its fresh products. Headlights provide the lighting. The cash registers are on a dresser that was often used as a storage wall for tools. Sugar and milk are presented in toolboxes. Guests are able to sit on car bench seats and the menu signage consists of authentic license plates. A special detail is the separation wall between the sitting area and the buffets, which consists of serpentine belts and pulleys.
Would you like to visit the Balzaal or the Prins Hendrik Garage? This is possible between 10:00 and 17:00 from Tuesday until Sunday with a valid museum entrance ticket.
For more information you can visit the following websites:
Paleis Het Loo | http://www.paleishetloo.nl
Albron | http://www.albron.nl