June 10th, 2006
An interesting idea for the preservation of Beeckestijn. This museum and important historical garden in Velsen is in danger of being sold to parties who will probably not see the recently restored gardens as an asset.
The Stichting Vrienden van Beeckestijn (foundation of Friends of Beeckestijn) launched some plans (in Dutch), one of which is to keep a collection of wild animals at the estate in an attempt to attract tourists. At the moment, the future of council-owned Beeckestijn is uncertain; the museum is now closed, awaiting a decision concerning its future. The foundation states the unknown new owners should need to strengthen the bonds between the museum and the gardens, the wildlife being one of the means to do that.
This is a fine idea, however it will all depend on the way things are set up. The original 18th century design of the Beeckestijn gardens included a Menagerie, a recluse for exotic animals. We know there was a greenhouse around the 1800’s.
A few suggestions: we know there has been a white cockatoo in the 1760’s. From previously unpublished correspondence of Willem Boreel, son of the owner, we know that he’d ordered a few specimen of the ‘Rossignol de Virginie’ in 1765.