From monastery via military hospital to Grand Hotel Karel V
Withdrawn from urban life, the Dom guards and the wall protects. The sweet noise of the street ebbs away in the distance. How many footsteps would have been here? Grand Hotel Karel V has a rich history. Walking through the imposing cloister, dining where the knights once ate, having drinks on the old grain loft, signing an important contract in the turret, enjoying a barbecue in the Officierstuin or having a meeting in the former dormitory of the monks … history is everywhere.
The hotel owes its name to Emperor Karel V, one of the prominent guests who stayed here with his sister Maria of Hungary. In 1543 they visited the meeting of the Order of the Golden Fleece which held its chapter meeting in the “Balije van Utrecht”, as the monastery was originally known. It was at the height of his fame: Karel V ruled the largest European empire ever. His motto was “Plus Oultre” or “Continuously”. Karel V was boundlessly ambitious, and he wanted that in his realm ‘the sun would never go down’.
The German House
More than 650 years ago, in 1348, the Knightly German Order ordered the construction of this monastery. Popularly, the Balije van Utrecht was soon called The German House. It was inhabited by knights and priests who had made the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. The German House became the starting point for the Crusaders who went to the east to bring ‘the heathens’ to faith. In addition, the monastery, with good facilities for that time, also served as a reception centre for high-ranking kings and nobles. For example, in 1713 the House hosted a Spanish minister, the Count of Osasuna and his entourage, during the negotiations for the Peace of Utrecht.