Henriëtte Amalia of Anhalt-Dessau moved with her six unmarried daughters – one daughter had married 1708 – to Diez, where she had Schloss Oranienstein renovated. The Schloss had been built by her mother-in-law, Albertine Agnes of Nassau on the ruins of Dierstein Abbey.
Albertine Agnes was born in The Hague on 9 April 1634 as the daughter of Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange and Amalia of Solms-Braunfels. After waiting for something better to come along, Albertine Agnes married her second cousin William Frederick, Prince of Nassau-Dietz in May of 1652 in Cleves. They went on to have three children together, of which two survived to adulthood.
When William Frederick died in 1664, Albertine Agnes acted as regent for their son, which lasted until 1677. She was mostly in control of his education and was very concerned because of his ill health. She ended up outliving her son for two months. Her biggest legacy is perhaps her many building projects and her art collection. She was also responsible for the building of the Oranjewoud Palace, where she died in 1696. She was buried in Leeuwarden.
When Henriëtte Amalia’s son died in 1711, leaving behind a pregnant Marie Louise, Henriëtte Amalia travelled to Leeuwarden hoping to be appointed regent. Her grandson was born 48 days after the death of her son. However, the government was instead handed to her daughter-in-law.
While at Schloss Oranienstein, Henriëtte Amalia lived well beyond her means and she built up a huge debt. However, she was loved in the city, because she stimulated the economy.
While the Oranjewoud Palace no longer exists as Albertine Agnes intended it, Oranienstein has survived the times, though it was heavily altered by her daughter-in-law. The Schloss currently stands on the military grounds of the Bundeswehr and houses the Nassau-Oranien Museum. It can be visited with a tour year round. As it is on military grounds, you are required to show ID. The woman who gave our German tour also spoke excellent Dutch and even English. The Schloss gets a lot of Dutch visitors because of its background. The tour only covers the (front) gardens, the lowers floor, the chapel and the look-out. All the other parts of the Schloss are in use as offices. The museum is quite small but still worth a visit and you can certainly tell that they’ve tried to make something of it. Our tour guide was quite knowledgeable too.
Overall, I would highly recommend the Schloss if you are in the area. Do check the website for the tour times. The entrance fee is very reasonable at €4.