The Noordeinde palace originated as a medieval farmhouse, which was converted into a spacious residence by the steward of the States of Holland, Willem van de Goudt in 1533. The original farmhouse's cellars can still be seen in the palace basement.
From 1566 to 1591, the palace had a different owner. After that it was leased, and in 1595, purchased by the States of Holland for Louise de Coligny, the widow of William of Orange, and her son Prince Frederik Hendrik. In recognition of William’s service to the nation, the States presented the building to his family in 1609.
Frederik Hendrik substantially enlarged the house, which was then known as the Oude Hof. He began by buying the surrounding plots of land. The architects Pieter Post and Jacob van Campen, who built Huis ten Bosch Palace in 1645, were among those involved in the alterations. The alterations included lengthening the main building and adding wings on either side, thus creating the characteristic H-form that is seen today.
After Frederik Hendrik died in 1647, his widow, Amalia van Solms, spent much of her time at the Oude Hof. Following her death in 1675, the house was more or less empty for many years. After the death of the Stadholder-King William III in 1702, it passed to King Frederick I of Prussia, a grandson of Frederik Hendrik’s.
In 1740 Voltaire stayed in one of the apartments while he negotiated with Dutch publisher Jan van Duren about the Anti-Machiavel. In 1754, King Frederick the Great of Prussia sold his land-holdings in the Netherlands to Stadholder William V.
The son of Stadholder William V, who would become King Willem I, took up residence at the Oude Hof in 1792. But when the French invaded the Netherlands in 1795, during the French Revolutionary Wars, he and his family were forced to flee to England. The Oude Hof became the property of the Batavian Republic and hence state property, the status it has today. The gardens of the palace are open to the public.
In 1813, after the fall of Napoleon, Prince Willem returned to the Netherlands, where he was proclaimed Sovereign Prince.
The Constitution of the time decreed that the State must provide a summer and a winter home for the sovereign. Initially there were plans to build a new winter residence, but in the end it was decided to make extensive alterations to the Oude Hof.
King Willem I moved into Noordeinde Palace in 1817, living there until his abdication in 1840. His successor, King Willem II, never resided there. Like his grandfather, King Willem III used Noordeinde as his winter home, though he preferred to live at his summer residence, Het Loo Palace in Apeldoorn. In 1876, he had the royal stables built in the gardens behind Noordeinde Palace.
Even after King Willem III married Queen Emma, the royal family continued to use Noordeinde as their winter home. Their daughter, Princess Wilhelmina, was born there in 1880, and Queen Emma and her daughter spent their winters at Noordeinde after the King’s death in 1890. In 1895 the Queen Regent had premises for the Royal Archives built in the grounds.
In 1901, Queen Emma moved to Lange Voorhout Palace, today's Escher Museum, while Queen Wilhelmina and her husband Prince Hendrik remained at Noordeinde.
Until the German invasion in 1940, Queen Wilhelmina continued to make frequent use of Noordeinde Palace. After the war, the palace was again used as the Queen’s winter residence.
In 1948, the central section of the palace was destroyed by fire. That same year Juliana acceded to the throne. She preferred Soestdijk Palace as her official residence, though some members of the Royal Household continued to use offices in Noordeinde. Between 1952 and 1976 the Institute of Social Studies was based in the north wing of the palace. Following a thorough restoration in 1984, the Palace became the Dutch Monarch’s workplace and office for all political and stately affairs.References:
The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood is one of the main sights of St. Petersburg. The church was built on the site where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated and was dedicated in his memory. Construction began in 1883 under Alexander III, as a memorial to his father, Alexander II. Work progressed slowly and was finally completed during the reign of Nicholas II in 1907. Funding was provided by the Imperial family with the support of many private donors.
Architecturally, the Cathedral differs from St. Petersburg's other structures. The city's architecture is predominantly Baroque and Neoclassical, but the Savior on Blood harks back to medieval Russian architecture in the spirit of romantic nationalism. It intentionally resembles the 17th-century Yaroslavl churches and the celebrated St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow.
The Church contains over 7500 square metres of mosaics — according to its restorers, more than any other church in the world. The interior was designed by some of the most celebrated Russian artists of the day — including Viktor Vasnetsov, Mikhail Nesterov and Mikhail Vrubel — but the church's chief architect, Alfred Alexandrovich Parland, was relatively little-known (born in St. Petersburg in 1842 in a Baltic-German Lutheran family). Perhaps not surprisingly, the Church's construction ran well over budget, having been estimated at 3.6 million roubles but ending up costing over 4.6 million. The walls and ceilings inside the Church are completely covered in intricately detailed mosaics — the main pictures being biblical scenes or figures — but with very fine patterned borders setting off each picture.
In the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, the church was ransacked and looted, badly damaging its interior. The Soviet government closed the church in the early 1930s. During the Second World War when many people were starving due to the Siege of Leningrad by Nazi German military forces, the church was used as a temporary morgue for those who died in combat and from starvation and illness. The church suffered significant damage. After the war, it was used as a warehouse for vegetables, leading to the sardonic name of Saviour on Potatoes.
In July 1970, management of the Church passed to Saint Isaac's Cathedral (then used as a highly profitable museum) and proceeds from the Cathedral were funneled back into restoring the Church. It was reopened in August 1997, after 27 years of restoration, but has not been reconsecrated and does not function as a full-time place of worship; it is a Museum of Mosaics. Even before the Revolution it never functioned as a public place of worship; having been dedicated exclusively to the memory of the assassinated tsar, the only services were panikhidas (memorial services). The Church is now one of the main tourist attractions in St. Petersburg.