Baarn approves plans to build hotel, apartments on grounds of Soestdijk Palace
The city council of Baarn approved the zoning plan for Soestdijk Palace on Wednesday evening. With a large majority, the council gave owner MeyerBergman Erfgoed Groep the green light to restore Princess Juliana and Prince Bernhard's former residence and give the estate a new use. The owner wants to realize a hotel and catering and build luxury apartments on the 350-year-old estate.
The apartments, in particular, generated a lot of discussions. Several parties believe too much nature will be lost. Part of Baarn is also concerned about expected noise nuisance from events and traffic.
The zoning plan explained the outlines within which the estate may be developed. The owner can now further develop the plans.
MeyerBergman Erfgoed Groep hopes to start the restoration in 2023. "We can now move forward with the much-needed restoration of the palace. Soestdijk Palace is an iconic place with great cultural-historical and social value for all of us. As owners, we aim for a sustainable future for the estate," said Maya Meijer-Bergmans.
Baarn has been discussing the details of the state for several years, continuously adjusting the frameworks in parts. Still, not everyone is happy with Soestdijk's future. Opponents have one last possibility to protest: they can go to the Council of State.
Time will tell whether the municipality made the right decision, mayor Mark Roell said after the meeting on Wednesday. He hopes "in the interest of the future of the estate" that the parties remain open to the voices of society. Residents of Baarn have often spoken out about Soetsdijk. "The involvement is huge."
According to Roell, that the municipality of Baarn had to decide about Soestdijk was "not our choice" but that of the national government. Due to the government's decision to sell estates, among other things, the extensive and complicated process ended up on the municipality's plate. "The government should have kept the responsibility itself."
Reporting by ANP