you’ll tread in the footsteps of Marijke Meu
Maria Louise van Hessen-Kassel, Princess of Oranje Nassau (1688-1765) was renowned, beloved, and the stem of the current royal house. She played an umistakable role in the development of the way we see the Dutch royals today. And even now, the city she called home breaths grandeur. Check out the historic city centre of Leeuwarden and jump into the queenly world of Maria Louise.
A whiff of royal allure
From the Paleis het Stadhouderlijk Hof and the Princessehof, to the Prinsentuin and Grote Kerk. The Frisian capital is filled with reminders of the Maria Louise’s time. She came to Leeuwarden from Germany, having married the Frisian ‘stadhouder’, to live in the Stadhouderlijk Hof, the historic home of the Nassaus. Unfortunately, her husband died before their son had reached adulthood, leaving Maria Louise to become Regent.
Maria Louise took to the task of being Regent with ease- under her guidance the Friesian Nassaus grew in important hugely. Once her son reached adulthood he took on the responsibilities of Stahouder, however after his untimely death, Maria Louise again stepped into the role of Regent whilst her grandson was too young to ascend. Maria Louise was incredibly well liked, dashing, influential; and modest- with Frisian people of the time knowing her as Marijke Meu, or ‘Maaike Mouike’, which is Frisian for ‘Aunt Marijke’.
Regal lodgings and eating
In the heart of Leeuwarden you’ll find the Pales Stahouderlijk Hof, the former stately home of the Nassau family. Today, however, it’s a top hotel!
Maria-Louise later traded in the Stadhouderlijk Hof for the Princessehof. This former palace now has a permanent exhibition about her life, but what you might not know is that the renowned graphic artist M.C. Escher was also born in the palace!
Pleasure garden of the Nassaus
The current city park, the Prinsentuin, is a former royal pleasure garden! King Willem I turned the gardens into a park for the people of the city, and now you’ll find a city harbour, summer festivals, and the Koperen Tuin restaurant.
In the cellar of the Grote of Jacobijnerkerk, you’ll find the final resting place of the Nassaus. It’s the oldest church in the city (about 700 years old!), and it’s also now a unique place for all kinds of festivals and activities (as well ask still being a church).