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 Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.
The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick. The tower was likely inhabited by the principal family or clan of the area but also served as a last resort for the village in case of an attack.
The broch continued to be inhabited while it began to collapse and the original structures were altered. The cistern was filled in and the interior was repartitioned. The ruin visible today reflects this secondary phase of the broch's use.
The site is surrounded by three ditches cut out of the rock with stone ramparts, encircling an area of around 45 metres diameter. The remains of numerous small stone dwellings with small yards and sheds can be found between the inner ditch and the tower. These were built after the tower, but were a part of the settlement's initial conception. A 'main street' connects the outer entrance to the broch. The settlement is the best-preserved of all broch villages.
Pieces of a Roman amphora dating to before 60 AD were found here, lending weight to the record that a 'King of Orkney' submitted to Emperor Claudius at Colchester in 43 AD.
At some point after 100 AD the broch was abandoned and the ditches filled in. It is thought that settlement at the broch continued into the 5th century AD, the period known as Pictish times. By that time the broch was not used anymore and some of its stones were reused to build smaller dwellings on top of the earlier buildings. Until about the 8th century, the site was just a single farmstead.
In the 9th century, a Norse woman was buried at the site in a stone-lined grave with two bronze brooches and a sickle and knife made from iron. Other finds suggest that Norse men were buried here too.