September 17th, 2008
The 150 year old orangery at Eikenrode in Loosdrecht will be demolished, sources close to Eikenrode say. The orangery (which might have been designed by J.D. Zocher jr) played an important role in the plans to revitalise the estate: it was to be restored and house care apartments. But it was set to fire in December 2007.
The damaged orangery in September 2008. Photo by HvdE.
In an initial response shortly after the fire, RACM concluded that although severe damage was done, restoration of the orangery was still possible. The orangery also kept its status as a monument of national importance (Rijksmonument). A few months later the whole future of Eikenrode was at stake, when banks decided to put the estate up for auction. These plans were curbed at the last moment, but the initial reason for this auction never became clear.
The plan to sell the orangery to a third party who will demolish the building, was allegedly induced by the discovery of large quantities of asbestos in the orangery. The associated costs to clean the site were too high for the current owners (which may explain why the banks planned the sudden auction).
The solution chosen is to have the orangery demolished, the site cleaned and a new building with care apartments erected by a third party. That same party will manage the new building and the surrounding garden in this part of Eikenrode for a period of about 30 years. After that, the care apartments and adjacent grounds should apparently return to the current owners of the estate.
We at HGblog expect RACM has worked with the owners to develop these new plans. A final decision is expected in the near future.
This looks like a practical solution for the owners of Eikenrode, who saw a vital source of income go down the drain when the orangery caught fire. And given the efforts they have put into the restoration of the house and park up till now, we’re certain the decision was made with pain in their hart. But still: what a shame of that fine orangery.