The Last Stand of An Emperor

In the previous century, Huis Doorn was the residence of Wilhelm II, the German Emperor who was exiled after the Great War. From 1920 to his death in 1941, Wilhelm lived here surrounded by memories of the Hohenzollerns, his once powerful family of electors, kings and emperors. After World War Two, the house, the collection and the woodland park were confiscated as enemy property. The official transfer to the Dutch State took place in 1953. Since then Huis Doorn has been a national museum managed by Stichting tot Beheer van Huis Doorn (Foundation for the Management of Huis Doorn).Nothing was changed after the death of Wilhelm II. In this sense, the decorations and the furniture of Huis Doorn are unique to Europe. This house has frozen a Royal House and its contents in time and therefore shows everything the way it really was – a time capsule of international royal taste at the beginning of the 20th century.Important art treasures, extensive elements of late 19th century interior design and many personal trinkets have been brought together in a unique way at Huis Doorn. The current furnishings of the house consist exclusively of objects that Emperor Wilhelm II, under an agreement made with the German state in 1920, was allowed to take to the Netherlands from his former imperial palaces to furnish his new residence. The selection that was made as a result of this agreement remains of the utmost importance, both culturally and historically. Wilhelm II was descended from Louise Henriette of Orange-Nassau, he was in fact a Prince of Orange like the members of the Dutch Royal family. He chose to emphasize this fact in his selection of works of art for his new residence in the Netherlands. In addition, the emperor chose to illustrate the ancient ties between his family (the House of Hohenzollern) and the House of Orange with portraits of, amongst others, Stadtholder Willem V and his bold wife Wilhelmina of Prussia, Wilhelm’s great-great-great aunt, who was stopped by patriots at Goejanverwellesluis in 1787.