Paleis het Loo
As a museum dedicated to a royal family still in office, Paleis Het Loo is unique. And precisely because the House of Orange still reigns, it’s quite complicated to make an exhibition about the Dutch monarchy. After all, this is a story about history, politics, diplomacy and its living members.
The museum recently underwent a major renovation and expansion. Kossmanndejong designed the four new permanent exhibitions, two of which already opened in 2022: the ‘Historical Palace’ and ‘Traces of the Past’. The two newest exhibitions are now open: ‘The House of Orange’ and ‘Knighthoods and Honours’.
The Mulifaceted Monarchy
The exhibition ‘The House of Orange’ examines the Dutch monarchy from three perspectives. The introduction explores the relationship between the House of Orange and the Dutch people, including how orange became the national colour of the Netherlands. Then we present a chronological history of the monarchy. Our cubic scenography suits our storytelling as we place historical inflection points in sharp corners along the timeline. The exhibition concludes with a journey through the monarch’s lifecycle. Visitors witness how the monarch navigates their public and private lives.
Visitors meet the main characters of the House of Orange through a monumental landscape of cubes. We divided the royal family’s chronological history into smaller, easy-to-access content blocks. Every object on display is an entry point to a bigger story. Animations, films and photographs complete these stories. Text signs provide in-depth content, but even those who do not want to read can dive deep. Piece by piece, you discover how the Netherlands became a kingdom and which royals played a role.
A Canvas of Palace Walls
Monarchs – they’re just like us! Or are they? This is the central question in the East Wing, where visitors journey through a monarch’s life from cradle to grave. To visualize this lifecycle, we used the palace walls as our canvas – printing related images, quotes and news headlines on the walls. We paired themes and milestones with the wing’s architecture. A corner divides a young Queen Juliana from her classmates – on which side would you prefer to be? A narrow corridor becomes a physical manifestation of the monarch’s rite of passage at their investiture. And a monumental room full of images reveals the monarch’s diverse responsibilities at a glance. The throughline in our storytelling and their lifecycle is the monarch’s ‘dual role’: the tension between their public and private selves.