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Around a month ago a large ‘auction’ of landscape features in The Netherlands was announced, in an attempt to rake in more money to protect and maintain these vital landscapes. A website is available where people can bid for their favourite piece of landscape. People do not actually buy a piece of land or countryside, but they do provide the money for maintenance, and in return receive a promise that this landscape feature will not be threatened within ten years after the auction.

I think it is a great idea to make more money available for the protection of landscape features. People are more inclined to give (extra) money to particular projects than they would for a more general countrywide protection scheme.
Some of the projects presented in the auction are still rather generic. You can buy a native tree for € 5,- or something, somewhere in the countryside (and then hope that somebody is actually going to look after this tree for ten years). But there are also more specific goals.

One of these is the restoration of the belvedere at Leyduin. 1)To my surprise it is the only one in the whole auction that has any bearing on historical gardens. The organisations behind this auction own loads of historical gardens and estates. There are way more opportunities there to profit from in the future. The dilapidated belvedere has been in a terrible state for a long time. Several attempts to put a stop to the decline have only helped temporarily. The owner, Landschap Noord-Holland, thinks the research itself will cost € 15.000,-, while the whole restoration budget is estimated to be € 80.000,-.

The funny thing is, that this belvedere was built in the late 18th century, in a time when building a ruin to adorn your garden with was quite normal. 2)The structure was first mentioned in 1798, as a hermit’s lodge on a hill –hermitage op een heuvel. The ruin at Frankendael (built somewhat later, but in the same spirit) is a good example of how that was done. So where the owner tries to repair the belvedere into its original state, that original state might be closer to the current state than the owner now believes.
As far as I have been able to find out, no contemporary images of the belvedere exist. But the original description as a hermit’s lodge suggests that the building was not a neat neogothical tower, but already a ‘romantically dilapidated’ structure to begin with.
I’m curious to find out whether that will actually be the result of the architectural research.

And while Landschap Noord-Holland is trying to restore this tower, they might also want to consider restoring the area around the nearby cascade.

The situation around the Leyduin cascade as it was depicted on a postcard around 1900.

The cascade is still there, although it has not been working properly since the water levels in the dunes dropped considerably after the city of Amsterdam started to use it for their public water supplies. But that might change now the excessive draining has stopped. This spot is currently rather bleak and empty and could use some form of decoration and lightening up.

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. To my surprise it is the only one in the whole auction that has any bearing on historical gardens. The organisations behind this auction own loads of historical gardens and estates. There are way more opportunities there to profit from in the future.
2. The structure was first mentioned in 1798, as a hermit’s lodge on a hill –hermitage op een heuvel.

One Response to “Research budget for the Leyduin belvedere”

  1. on 23 Aug 2013 at 9:49 pmHvdE

    After years of fundraising, research and -a relatively short period of- restoration work, the Leyduin belvedere is ready to be officially opened in the weekend of 14 and 15 september 2013.
    The restoration began in 2012, the total costs were €150.000,-.

    I found the announcement here. And more detailed information here (both in Dutch).

    The research showed that while everyone thought the tower was built as a folly without a roof (a ruin), it actually once had a roof. Whether that roof was original or added later, is not clear to me from the links above.
    Additions to the building were made, during the 19th century. The gothic windows, some of the plaster work inside the tower and the parapets are all 19th century additions to a structure now believed to date back to the 1760s.

    Glad the research was done, and it paid off with several new insights. I hope to be able to link to the report soon.

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