Councillors have approved redevelopment plans for the former royal palace at Soestdijk in the face of objection from the daughters of Queen Juliana.
The 17th-century palace in Baarn, Utrecht, was the private residence of Juliana and her husband Prince Bernhard until they died in 2004. In 2017 the Dutch state sold it to real estate company Meyer Bergman Erfgoed Groep.
Plans to convert the estate into a hotel, restaurant and luxury flats, as well as workspaces for innovative companies, were strongly criticised by Princess Irene and her sister Princess Margriet. The most controversial part of the plan involves clearing a section of woodland to make space for apartments.
‘Our grandmother [Queen Wilhemina] and our mother attached great importance to preserving as much of the woodlands as possible,’ Irene wrote in a letter to the municipal council, according to RTL Nieuws.
Concerns were also raised about the impact of car parking and staging large-scale events in the grounds of the palace. On Wednesday, the council approved the plans but commissioned an outside expert to evaluate the next stages.