The Hohenzollern family, historically a German royal house, has unsuccessfully demanded the return of the last residence of the former emperor Wilhelm II, the “Huis Doorn” in the Netherlands.
In 2014, through a law firm, the Hohenzollerns had threatened the Dutch state with a lawsuit if their claims were not honoured, correspondence recently published by the Ministry of Culture in The Hague has revealed.
The then culture minister Jet Bussemaker had rejected the claims.
The story had initially been reported in the German news magazine Der Spiegel.
For years, the former ruling house of Hohenzollern has also been demanding the return of real estate and other possessions in Germany that had been expropriated in the Soviet zone of occupation after World War II.
In May 2015, the minister replied to the request for return, which the ministry had received in September 2014: “After consulting the ministries concerned, I can report that, in the view of the state, there is no reason to comply with your client’s request.”
The last German kaiser, Wilhelm II (1859-1941), had been forced to abdicate at the end of World War I in 1918, after which he fled to the Netherlands.
There he bought the Doorn country house near Utrecht, which was modest by his standards. The ex-emperor lived in the Doorn house until his death in 1941. He was also buried in a mausoleum on the property.
After World War II, the country house and property were confiscated by the Dutch state. The house, which is furnished as it was during Wilhelm’s lifetime, is now a museum.