Programme The Historic Country Houses of Amsterdam

The programme may be subject to change.

On Friday 3 July 2020 from 3 p.m., you will be accommodated at the Chateau-Hotel Marquette in Heemskerk. After meeting the participants and guides, the programme will be outlined. Subsequently, René Dessing[1] will give a lecture on the country houses of Amsterdam, followed by dinner at Chateau Marquette[2].

On Saturday 4 July 2020 at 9 a.m., you will travel to Amsterdam by bus. During the 17th and 18th century, the many merchants living there built their country houses in the area around Amsterdam. You will visit the Amsterdam Museum, where curator Thijs Boers[3] will give a lecture on the rise of Amsterdam as a trade city and how this brought great prosperity to a part of its citizens. Subsequently, there will be a tour of the museum focusing on aspects that have influenced the rise of these country houses. After lunch you will make a walk through the Amsterdam city centre. You will visit the 17th-century baroque (former) Amsterdam city hall[4] on the Dam square, together with several unique canal-side houses. At the time these houses were owned by merchants, many of which also owned country houses outside the city. The day will end at Huize Frankendael in the Watergraafsmeer polder. This is one of the two remaining country houses located within city borders. Dinner will be served at the adjacent Restaurant De Kas, situated in a park where the city nursery was once located. Around 10:30 p.m. you will return to Chateau Marquette.

On Sunday 5 July 2020 on 8:30 a.m., the bus will depart to the Beemster polder, which is a Unesco World Heritage site. In the village of Middenbeemster, Ceciel Nyst will give an introductory lecture. During the 17th century, the Beemster was a collective reclamation that was financed by the merchants of Amsterdam. There were fifty country houses, all of which have disappeared. You will visit the Betje Wolff (house) museum, where you will hear more about the life of this literary educated, 18th-century Baptist pastor’s wife. You will see the geometrically landscaped Beemster polder during a tour by bus. After a lunch with pancakes, you will spend the afternoon at the Rijksmuseum. There you will see parts of the exhibition that relate to the country life of Holland. The evening is free for your own visit to Amsterdam. At 9:30 p.m. the bus will depart from a central location to Chateau Marquette, where you will arrive at 10:15 p.m.

On Monday 6 July 2020, on 8:30 a.m. we will start with a lecture by Alexander de Bruin on the many historic country houses in Kennemerland. After a bus drive you will visit De Nijenburg in Heiloo, a country house that is currently owned by monument organisation Hendrick de Keijser. After lunch, we will visit the Akerendam country house in Beverwijk, where you will see the house and its historic garden. In the afternoon, you will see the unique Huis the Manpad in Heemstede, which dates from 1631. Moreover, the longest serpentine wall of Europe in an orchard with old fruit varieties and espaliered fruit trees can be found here. After dinner in the former coach house of Groenendaal you will arrive at Chateau Marquette at 9 p.m.

On Tuesday 7 July 2020, we will visit Haarlem, where you will enter the Welgelegen pavilion. At the time, this building was commissioned by wealthy banker Henry Hope to accommodate his large collection of paintings. It is the first building designed like a museum in the Netherlands. Restoration architect Cor Bouwstra[5]  and interior expert Dirk van Beek[6]  will give an explanation on the restoration and the upholstering they carried out at Welgelegen. The complex was inhabited by King Louis Bonaparte during the French occupation. Today, it houses the provincial administration of North Holland. Lunch can be chosen freely in Haarlem. In the afternoon, we will pay an extensive visit to the Elswout country house in Overveen. Here, Marcel van Ool[7] and Inger Groeneveld[8] will provide introductory lectures on Staatsbosbeheer and its country estates including Elswout. Dinner will be served at Duin & Kruidberg, which has been commissioned by colonial entrepreneur Jacob Cremer around 1900. It was considered the largest private residential home at a country house complex at the time. The architects were Johan van Nieukerken and sons. You will arrive at Chateau Marquette around 9 p.m.

After checking out on Wednesday 8 July 2020 at 9 a.m., we will visit the unique castle museum of Sypesteyn in Nieuw-Loosdrecht. This rich collection includes many porcelain works from Loosdrecht. Curator Rik van Wegen will give an introductory lecture on the house, the collection and the garden. After lunch on the bus, we will visit various country houses in ‘s-Graveland. This area, originally heathland, was partitioned and cultivated in the 17th century by merchants from Amsterdam. It stood the test of time remarkably well, and still contains many beautiful country houses. You will visit the lovely garden of the private country house Berg & Vaart. At the Dutch Society for Nature Conservation, Michiel Purmer[9] will give a lecture on the ‘s-Graveland country house. You will also visit the unique Trompenburg. The architect is suspected to be Amsterdam’s city architect Daniël Stalpaert, who was building for admiral Cornelis Tromp. This country house is included in the top hundred most important monuments of the Netherlands. Guided by forester Johan van Galen, you will visit the vegetable garden of Gooilust. An aperitif will be served at the lovely Capitol at Schaep & Burgh, followed by dinner at Restaurant Vlaar. At 9:30 p.m. you will check into Hotel Amrath Lapershoek in Hilversum.

On Thursday 9 July 2020, there is no programme until 1 p.m., when we start with a lecture by Lenneke Berkhout[10]  on the House of Orange and the collaboration with their gardeners during the 17th and 18th century. After this you will visit the Muiderslot, where curator Yvonne Molenaar[11]  and garden master Henk Boers[12]  will guide you through the collection and the gardens. During the 17th century, the Muiderslot was a literary centre around the 17th-century writer/poet Pieter Corneliszn Hooft. Dinner will take place at the ancient and charming fortified town of Muiden.

On Friday 10 July 2020, the last day of this study programme, in the morning you will visit (country house) Groeneveld Castle in Baarn, where you will see not only the house but also parts of the park. The park was revised by landscape architect Michael van Gessel between 1950 and 1990. Here, Peter Verhoeff[13]  will give a lecture on Dutch landscape architecture and historic country house design. Lunch will take place at the coach house of Groeneveld Castle. We will continue with a boat tour on the Vecht river, with many privately-owned historic country houses. After a short evaluation, we will conclude this study programme with a last dinner at Restaurant Slangevegt in Breukelen.

On Saturday 11 July 2020, after check-out, a bus will depart on 9:30 a.m. to Schiphol-Airport via Amsterdam. This concludes the study tour Historic Country Houses of Amsterdam 2020.

[1] René Dessing is an art historian and chairman of sKBL. In 2009, he initiated the National Year of Dutch historic country houses, which took place in 2012. In addition, he is director of the Erfgoed Landfort Foundation (

[2] Chateau Marquette is one of the country houses of Amsterdam, which came into possession of the mayor of Amsterdam and amateur architect Pieter Rendorp. The participants will stay the night here in a modern part on the terrain of the hotel.

[3] Thijs Boers is an art historian and curator of the Amsterdam Museum and Museum Willet-Holthuysen in Amsterdam.

[4] King Louis Bonaparte commissioned to convert this city hall into a palace. Today the Palace of Amsterdam serves as the official reception location during state visits and other receptions of the royal family. The building is considered the culmination of 17th-century architecture in the Netherlands and was built by Jacob van Campen.

[5] Cor Bouwstra is working as a restoration architect at Bouwstra & Verlaan. Restorations realized by this bureau include numerous historic country houses.

[6] Dirk van Beek is co-owner of Oostendorp Interior & Upholstery. They are involved in many interior restorations and refurbishments of monumental buildings, including the Royal Palace of Amsterdam.

[7] Marcel van Ool is an art historian specialized in cultural history and landscapes working at Staatsbosbeheer, the national public body for strengthening the position of nature.

[8] Inger Groeneveld is an art historian working as a theory teacher Interior and Furniture at the Royal Academy of Arts The Hague.

[9] Michiel Purmer is a historic geographer specialized in cultural history and landscapes working at the Dutch Society for Nature Conservation.

[10] Lenneke Berkhout wrote a dissertation on the relation between the House of Orange and the gardeners that were working at their palaces during the period 1621-1732.

[11] Yvonne Molenaar is art historian and curator of the collection of the Muiderslot and specialist in 17th century Dutch flower arranging.

[12] As master gardener, Henk Boers is responsible for the gardens of the Muiderslot, as well as Huygens’ Hofwijck in Voorburg.

[13] Peter Verhoeff is working as a landscape architect and is managing director of Stichting In Arcadië.