A royal story

Steeped in Groningen’s history, monumental Hotel Prinsenhof dates back to the 15th century. During its long life, it has been a monastery, episcopal palace, stadtholder’s palace, military hospital, broadcasting building and now hotel and restaurant. Once tranquil, it is now a vibrant place. Bought from the city of Groningen in 2005, the buildings were meticulously restored over a period of three years. Historical elements such as the 17th century Prinsentuin (Prince’s garden) and the 18th century sundial are eye-catching focal points. The hotel’s interior is contemporary and stylish.

Where once the 15th century monks assembled for mass, today you will find the Grand Café. Many historic elements have been preserved, such as the magnificent mantelpiece. The Gothic lancet windows have been restored with stained glass.

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The 17th century stadtholder Willem-Frederik van Nassau-Dietz (1613-1664) and his wife Albertine Agnes van Nassau (1664-1696) once slept in the area where restaurant Alacarte now serves delicious food. Their daughter Henriette Catharina married Prince Johann George II van Anhalt in 1659 in De Prinsenhof, the only royal wedding ever held in Groningen.

Weather permitting, lunch and dinner are now served on the terrace with a view of the monumental Martinitoren. The French revolution also had an effect on the Netherlands. William V (1748-1806), the last stadtholder, fled to England in 1795. French troops conquered Groningen one month later. They pillaged the Prinsenhof and sold off priceless tapestries and grand mantelpieces to rich Groningen families.

In 2013, the Dutch Royal Family returned when King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima honoured the Prinsenhof with a visit. The rooms they stayed in are justifiably called the ‘Royal Suite’. The box hedges in the Prinsentuin, clipped into the letters W and A, not only remind us of the former stadtholder Willem Frederik and his wife Agnes, but also of the current King of the Netherlands.