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Dutch royal palace due to be converted into hotel

A Dutch palace is to be partly converted into a hotel following a bid of 1.7 million euros. The purchase follows a competition in which the government sought to find a new function for Soestdijk Palace.

Over a hundred ideas for the future of the palace were submitted and narrowed down to three. The Eden Soestdijk which was inspired by the Eden Project in England would have developed a biodome of different climate zones on the land as well as a five-star hotel. The palace would be turned into an information centre. The second involved keeping and maintaining the palace and its grounds for the public. The winning project focused on innovation in the economy and will also develop a hotel.

The buyers, known as Made by Holland, will transform the 17th-century palace and gardens into a place of innovation and entrepreneurship.

The plans, accepted by the Dutch Ministry of Home Affairs, features 14 hotel rooms on the top floor. As well as the conversion of some rooms into changing exhibitions to highlight what the Netherlands has to offer.

The palace and its surrounding gardens will not drastically change. However, parts of the estate such as the playhouse, water tower, chalet and ice cellar will be developed to focus on temporary exhibits. 65 houses will be built in the area of the former barracks.

Key historical structures will be restored, and some landscaping will take place throughout the grounds as well as several additions to highlight the identity of the estate. The development plans will take anywhere between 10 and 15 years to complete. The Palace has been empty for 13 years. In 2015 the government held a consultation to find ideas for the empty palace.

The palace started off as a hunting lodge which was then extended and refurbished by Louis Bonaparte, King of Holland following the French Invasion in 1795. The palace became the property of the State in 1971. Princess Juliana, who was the Queen of the Netherlands from 1948 to 1980, and Prince Bernhard used it as their official residence until their deaths in 2004.

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