Getting a Peek Inside the Pope’s House

Thanks to Twitter, I found out this week that the Paushuize (Pope House) would be open to the public this morning. As a quick refresher, it’s the house built by the only Dutch pope, Adrian VI, although he never got to live in it. As it’s primarily used for conferences and such nowadays, it’s not usually open to the public except for special events. Even though it was only the ground floor that was open today, I knew I had to go.

I’ve written about the Pauishuize (Pope House) before and I recommend giving it a read again, if for no other reason than to laugh at my excitement over the Holy Roman Empire. Plus, there’s a bit of interesting history about Pope Adrian. It turns out he was the last non-Italian pope until Pope John Paul II.

Anyway, here are some photos of the inside. There were only a few rooms open, but they were quite stunning. This room is what we jokingly referred to as the small breakfast nook. Of course, if you’ve seen one coffered-ceiling breakfast nook you’ve seen them all.


There was one section with three rooms leading off each other, reminding me a bit of the shotgun houses in New Orleans. One was a rich red with an impressive fireplace, the next was a soft green, and then the last was black and decorated with numerous paintings of the pope. The wallpapers in all of the rooms were fabric and textured.

I think the green room paid homage to the fact that Louis Bonaparte (Lodewijk Napoleon in Dutch) and his wife Hortense stayed in the house briefly while the residence on Voorstraat was being completed. The couple were the King and Queen of Holland from 1806-1810, having been appointed to the position by Napoleon. There is a bust of her in the green room. If you’re wondering, there were chocolate eggs and bunnies placed in random spots throughout the house.
Paushuize Hortense(?)

There were also some wonderful paintings throughout the house. This next one was amusing, as it seems to depict Utrecht, but with a greater sense of hilliness that you’d expect. Still, the panel on the left does include the Domtoren and looks as if it could be representing the southern end of the city walls near the Sonnenborgh Museum.
Paushuize Unexpected Hills

However, my favorite painting was a representation of the Wittevrouwenpoort, which I’ve also posted about before.
Wittevrouwenpoort (Detail)

Finally, as you enter the door into the courtyard of the property, the first reaction from everyone seems to be, “wow!” Sadly, my photo doesn’t do it justice, but it really was quite stunning, in part because it was so unexpected. It wasn’t just the bitterly cold wind that was taking our breath away!
Paushuize Wow

On the off chance you want to see more, I’ve got a few more photos of the Paushuize in a set on Flickr and I’ll probably go back and add a few more eventually.

9 thoughts on “Getting a Peek Inside the Pope’s House

  1. What a beautiful house! Shame I didn’t know it was open for viewing, I walked past is almost daily when I was at uni and would have loved to take a peek inside. That hill in the painting was there btw, it collapsed during the same storm as the middle section of the Dom 🙂

    • Did it get washed away? Was it a somewhat man-made hill? I’m very curious now. Still, there are a few hilly bits here on the eastern side of town where the walls used to be.

  2. What a stunning house! Pity that it’s not generally open to the public, I hope they do this more often and during the week, so that I get the chance to take a peek myself some time. For the meantime, thanks for showing us this, Alison!

    • I hope they do open more of it up in the future. We barely scratched the surface with that one small section. I can only imagine how big it must really be. Some parts of it are going to be open on April 14, I think, as part of the Culturele Zondag festivities. Not sure on the details, though.

  3. Thanks so much, all this information about mt home town I had no idea about! And the pictures are stunning. I’ll have to try to see it the next time we are out there if all circumstances work together.

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