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Palais Het Loo

Listed under Gardens in Apeldoorn, Netherlands.

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A historical Dutch garden which set the fashion for early formal English landscape gardens.

In Apeldoorn a magnificently restored and immaculately maintained formal baroque garden is laid out before a red brick royal palace. From 1686 the palace replaced a former medieval castle bought by Prince William of Orange and Princess Mary before they came to the English throne.

A Dutch version of the familiar French Formal garden, it reflects the belief that emphasis on order and harmony on earth mirrors peace and unity in Paradise. The glory of the four-part garden is in its ornamentation and use of water. Sculpture, fountains, bassins and cascades abound.

A clipped box and gravel parterre surrounded by wooden arbours covered in hornbeam of the Queen's Garden and a bowling green and floral parterres of the King's Garden, lie beside the wings at each side of the palace. Down wide stone steps from the terrace in front of the palace is the Lower Garden with eight beautifully manicured box and gravel parterres laid out like oriental rugs and bordered by carefully planted specimen plants around interesting water features.

The Lower Garden is almost certainly designed by Daniel Marot, a French designer who fled to the Netherlands subsequent to the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685. Marot achieved a high degree of unity by using similar designs in different ways in stucco ceilings, garden parterres, wrought ironwork, silk wall hangings, garden urns and ceiling paintings. He is also associated with William and Mary's garden at Hampton Court.

Beyond a narrow tree-lined canal lie four of the original twelve parterres of the Upper Garden. In place of the remaining eight parterres here are specimen trees and the remains of an English landscape garden which was introduced from 1806 by Napoleon's brother, Louis Napoleon, the first King of Holland. At the end of the garden, in the centre, is the dramatic King's Fountain with a jet spouting to a height of 13 metres. In a broad sweep behind the fountain the garden is terminated by a curved colonnade.

The palace itself is also open to the public and contains many fine art treasures. www.sisley.co.uk

Written by  Tony Sissons.

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