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Het Oude Loo
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The Dutch royal family is letting Ukrainian refugees stay in this castle

Up to 30 people fleeing the conflict could be housed in Het Oude Loo in Apeldoorn

Ed Cunningham
Written by
Ed Cunningham

Since the Russian invasion began on February 24, more than 3.6 million Ukrainian refugees (according to the UN) have fled the country. One of the best things we can do to help right now is offer them a safe and welcoming place to stay. And while it’s truly admirable that so many people across Europe have already volunteered their own homes to house refugees, some people – like those with multiple properties – can definitely do more than others. 

The Dutch royal family is leading the way. King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima of the Netherlands have announced they will open up one of their castles to eight Ukrainian families fleeing the conflict. Up to 30 refugees could be housed in a fifteenth-century castle on the Het Loo Palace estate in Apeldoorn, around an hour’s train ride east of Amsterdam.

Het Loo Palace is mostly used by the Dutch royals as a kind of country house and guest residence. Refugees won’t be staying in the entire thing – which is so grand it’s often called ‘The Versailles of the Netherlands’ – but instead in a smaller castle in the grounds called Het Oude Loo.  

Sure, Het Oude Loo isn’t the biggest castle in the area, but it’s still a pretty special place. A national heritage site, Het Oude Loo is tall, gorgeous and surrounded by a very cool moat. It’s go beautiful gardens, too – with statues, ponds and even its own hedge maze.

According to Dutch News, 12,000 Ukrainian refugees have already arrived in the Netherlands. Willem-Alexander and Máxima join around 1,700 Dutch households who have already volunteered to take people in. And that isn’t the only way the Dutch government is looking to help. Among other things, national rail provider NS is providing free travel for those Ukrainians fleeing the conflict.

It’s unclear exactly how refugees for Het Oude Loo will be chosen, nor how long they’ll be able to stay but housing refugees is a generous, altogether lovely thing to do – no matter who you are. The Dutch royals are, at the very least, setting a good example for how other rich people with big houses can help those feeling the conflict. Over to you, Liz!

Want to do your bit? Here are 22 ways you can help the people of Ukraine right now.

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