Huis ten Bosch ('House in the Woods') is a royal palace and one of three official residences of the Dutch Royal Family. Construction of Huis ten Bosch began in 1645, under the direction of Bartholomeus Drijffhout, and to a design by Pieter Post and Jacob van Campen. It was commissioned by Amalia von Solms, the wife of stadtholder Frederick Henry, on a parcel of land granted to her by the States General. The first stone was laid by Elizabeth of Bohemia.
After her husband's death in 1647, Amalia dedicated the palace to him. Led by the Catholic architect-painters Jacob van Campen and Pieter Post, other major Catholic artists of the day such as Gerard van Honthorst, Jacob Jordaens, Thomas Willeboirts Bosschaert, Theodoor van Thulden, Caesar van Everdingen, Salomon de Bray, Pieter Soutman, Gonzales Coques, Pieter de Grebber, Adriaen Hanneman and Jan Lievens filled the Oranjezaal ('Orange Hall' ) with paintings glorifying the late prince. The dining room was designed by Daniel Marot.
Over the next century and a half, the palace would change possession from the Nassau family, the king of Prussia, and many stadtholders until the French invaded in 1795. They gave the palace to the Batavian (Dutch) people who still own it to this day.
The National Art Gallery, precessor of the Rijksmuseum, was housed in the building from 1800 to 1805. Napoleon Bonaparte's brother, Louis, king of Holland, briefly lived in the palace between 1805 and 1807.
When William I was proclaimed King of the Netherlands, he made Huis ten Bosch one of his official residences. It became a favourite location for many members of the Royal Family, and during World War I it became the primary residence of Queen Wilhelmina.
The Queen and her family were forced to evacuate the palace for Britain (from which the Queen's family, but not the Queen herself, would move on to Canada) when the German army invaded the Netherlands during World War II. The Nazi administration planned to demolish the palace, but the controller convinced them otherwise. However, the palace was damaged beyond habitation.
Between 1950 and 1956, the palace was restored and once again became a Royal residence. It became the prime residence once more in 1981.
The palace has undergone major reconstructions since it was built. Currently, it consists of a central part with two long wings, spanning approximately 110 m from end to end.References:
The Château Comtal (Count’s Castle) is a medieval castle within the Cité of Carcassonne, the largest city in Europe with its city walls still intact. The Château Comtal has a strong claim to be called a 'Cathar Castle'. When the Catholic Crusader army arrived in 1209 they first attacked Raymond-Roger Trencavel's castrum at Bèziers and then moved on to his main stronghold at Carcassonne.
The castle with rectangular shape is separated from the city by a deep ditch and defended by two barbicans. There are six towers curtain walls.
The castle was restored in 1853 by the architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc. It was added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 1997.