Prinses Marianne

Princess Marianne of the Netherlands (1810-1883) has her own room at Huygens' Swaensteyn. The chamber is stylishly furnished with personal belongings and paintings from her renowned art collection. These objects recount the story of both an empire and a turbulent life, the story of a 19th-century princess who also wanted to be an independent woman.


Princess Marianne was the youngest daughter of King William I of the Netherlands and his wife, Wilhelmine (Mimi) of Prussia. She was born in Berlin in 1810, where the princely family was living in exile, on the run from Napoleon Bonaparte. After the French emperor was deposed in 1813 and Prince Frederick was welcomed as the new ruler in Scheveningen, Marianne returned to the Netherlands. The Kingdom of the Netherlands was created soon after, with Prince Frederick becoming King William I and his wife Wilhelmine the first Queen of the Netherlands.


Ansichtkaart als souvenier, 1875

Prinses Marianne, Berlin, 9 mei 1810 – Erbach, 29 mei 1883

Once she had reached marriageable age, the young and extremely elegant Princess Marianne became popular amongst the European princes. Her first engagement, to the Swedish Prince Gustaf in June 1828, was called off due to political considerations. Shortly after, she married her first cousin Prince Albert of Prussia. The marriage took place on 14 September 1830 in the ballroom at Noordeinde Palace in The Hague. Albert and Marianne settled in Berlin.


In 1848, Marianne purchased the Rusthof country estate in Voorburg. Here, close to The Hague, she hoped to mend the relationship with her family. She only partially succeeded in doing so, but Voorburg itself offered her a very warm welcome indeed. On 8 May 1849, she travelled into the festively decorated Herenstraat, where she was greeted by cheering crowds.


To an outsider, it must have appeared to be a happy marriage. Between 1831 and 1842, Marianne gave birth to no fewer than five children. However, there were palpable tensions behind the scenes. Albert and Marianne separated in 1844 and the marriage was officially dissolved five years later. Sometime around 1844 Marianne had already met the man who was to become the love of her life. His name was Johannes van Rossum and he worked as a coachman for the House of Orange. At Marianne’s request, Johannes was added to her own royal household. He became her secretary, her librarian and her lover. The couple would stay together for 28 years, only parting when Johannes passed away.

In Marianne’s chamber, you can learn all about her life in Voorburg, but also about her numerous trips through Europe, her castles in Italy and Germany and the happy times she spent with the love of her life. Discover the fascinating story of a woman who chose her own path.