In order to keep the many extensive sub-collections together, four foundations were created by Queen Juliana, each with its own objectives and ‘collecting profile’.
The first foundations
Stichting Archief van het Huis Oranje-Nassau was established in 1968. According to its statutes, it is intended to collect and manage ‘archive material pertaining to or associated with the House of Orange-Nassau, the House of Nassau and any of the related houses’. The sovereign is the trustee of this foundation. Two other foundations were also formed at this time: Stichting Kroongoederen van het Huis Oranje-Nassau and Stichting Regalia van het Huis Oranje-Nassau. These were merged in 2008, under the name of the former, with the aim of ensuring that ‘in the exercise of their royal dignities, descendants of Her Majesty Queen Wilhelmina, Princess of Orange-Nassau, may have the necessary or appropriate moveable tangible property at their disposal’. Behind this legalistic formulation lies a collection: the paraphernalia used by the trustee of this foundation, the sovereign, in his capacity as head of state. Principal amongst these are the regalia, but they also include such things as the Golden Coach, ceremonial tack for the royal horses and ceremonial table services, linens and silverware. On a day-to-day basis, the objects managed by this foundation are looked after by various departments of the Royal Household.
Four years later Queen Juliana also established the Stichting Historische Verzamelingen van het Huis Oranje-Nassau. Its purpose is to assemble and manage works of art and other objects related to the houses of Nassau and Orange-Nassau, but no longer in everyday use, “in order that these items… may serve the public benefit”. To this end, a large part of this collection is available to be loaned to various museums. The current trustees are Her Majesty Queen Máxima (president), Professor J. P. Sigmond representing the Minister of Education, Culture and Science and G. J. de Graaf LLM. Its extensive programme of loans, makes this the most visible of the foundations and the one that carries out the heritage policy of the Royal House of the Netherlands. This website is one of the ways in which the foundation seeks to increase the visibility and use of its collection and those of the other foundations. To ensure the long-term preservation of the often very valuable objects in its care, the foundation also oversees an active programme of restoration and conservation.
The two most recent foundations date from 2007. They are the Stichting Koninklijke Geschenken and the Stichting Officiële Geschenken van het Huis Oranje-Nassau. The collection of the first of these, with the sovereign as its trustee, consists of gifts presented to him as monarch on the occasion of state and official visits. Other gifts to the King and members of the Royal House are entrusted to the Royal Gifts Foundation, which has the same board of trustees as the Historical Collections Foundation. Both “gift” foundations can lend items from their collections.
Historical Collections foundation - 2015 annual report
For the Historical Collections of the House of Orange-Nassau Foundation (SHVON) , 2015 was a landmark year. The website koninklijkeverzamelingen.nl was developed and launched, the provenance research project was completed and the restoration workshop entered service. Meanwhile, our day-to-day work continued as normal. Numerous items were lent to other institutions in the Netherlands and abroad, new object records were generated and existing ones were registered. We also gave a large number of guided tours for visiting groups. For more details of all these developments, and to learn more about our loans, the website launch and recordings for the TV royalty programme Blauw Bloed at the Royal Collections of the Netherlands, please see our annual report.