Always dreamt of living on an estate, surrounded by masses of designed landscape you won’t need to maintain yourself? Now’s your chance:Fürst Pückler’s Muskauer Park (Park Muzakowski) offers housing opportunities for people who don’t care about living in small houses, as long as the surrounding area offers plenty of agreable space. The park is situated in Bad Muskau, north of Görlitz, on both sides of the German-Polish border. The houses on offer are on the German side.
Hermann Fürst Pückler Muskau turned the park into a landscape garden from 1811 onwards, after having seen examples in England. Since 2004, it is a Unesco cultural landscape. Pückler Muskau wrote about his views on landscape gardening, and his experiences at Muskau. The Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg presents links to both the book and the accompanying atlas.
The Dutch ministry of agriculture, nature and food quality (LNV) has presented an updated list of estates, falling under the Natuurschoonwet, which are open to the public. The Natuurschoonwet (difficult to translate) basically concerns a law, introduced in 1928 with the aim to protect estates by giving the owner fiscal benefits when they present suitable plans to preserve the estate. The estate should have a size of at least 5 hectare, of which a large amount consists of woodland. A size of 1 hectare is enough to qualify for fiscal benefits under the Natuurschoonwet for estates which are important from a historical point of view. The gardens and woodlands surrounding castle Rosendael are an example of one of the estates for which the Natuurschoonwet is applicable.
The list of estates is updated twice a year. The latest version can be found here. As the list only concerns estates for which the Natuurschoonwet regulations are applicable, it does not present a complete list of Dutch estates that are open to the public.
(Update@8-Feb-2007: Beeckestijn was awarded a place on this list as early as 1930. The Dutch newspaper Het Vaderland reported on December 2nd of that year, that Beeckestijn, together with neighbouring Waterland, Heerenduinen (also in Velsen) and Tusschenwijck (in Wijk aan Zee) was going to be protected under the Natuurschoonwet. All four estates were owned by J.G. Boreel van Hogelanden, Esq. Talk about fiscal benefits….
Of these four estates, only Heerenduinen is on the current list now. Why the other three are taken from the list, and when, is not clear to me. To be continued.)
In this earlier post I mentioned the design by T. Henry Reetz for the garden of Paleis Het Loo, which discovery was made public by Cascade. They also mentioned that the upper part of the garden that had not been restored in the past decades, would be restored in 2007, taking this new design as an example.
In order to be able to compare the Reetz design from 1706 with the current situation -before the restoration takes place, as well as with a plan from ca 1725 by C.P. van Staden, I’ve created the following image (click on image for a larger picture with more detail):
LTR: the 1706 design by Reetz (from the Cascade weblog), the 1725 design by Van Staden (from the site of Paleis Het Loo) and the situation as available on Google Earth today (image probably winter 2005/2006).
Interesting stories emerge from documents produced by the council of Velsen. Finally, the minutes of the last debates of the old council have been published in November (debates dating back to Januari and March 2006). It is fascinating to see how desparate the former council was to get Beeckestijn sold before the elections in March 2006. Staring into the headlights of the upcoming local elections -with devastating results predicted- the former council had the brilliant idea to upgrade the opinion on one of the bidders for Beeckestijn during a meeting in which these bids were discussed. The new council has now made plans to get Beeckestijn sold before July 2007 to be able to get the budget in check with the financial wishes of the province, under who’s supervision the council operates (in a sort of ‘Chapter 11’ situation). But: surprisingly good returns on several ground speculation projectes suddenly yielded around €7 million towards the council’s treasury in the last months. Meanwhile, the opposition (i.e. the former counsil) starts questioning these returns. Continue reading
Castle Sterkenburg, in Driebergen in the centre of The Netherlands, has received a sum of € 3.307.914,00 for several restoration projects. This is over 10% of the total sum granted for restorations this year by the Ministry for education, culture and science (OCW).
Sterkenburg, which is privately owned and currently in use as an apartment building, has retained one of its medieval features: the round tower. The rest of the current building is the result of additions from the 18th century and an all but complete rebuild in the 19th century. The restoration grants are all for the buildings on the premises: the castle itself, the gardener’s house and the coach house. Continue reading
Mr. Kees de Ruiter, president of the new Dutch organisation responsible for the protection of the cultural heritage, RACM, held a plea to protect 10% of the Dutch cultural landscape as historical landscapes.
In an interview he claimed that regional differences are disappearing in an increasing pace, pointing at the same terracotta pots used everywhere and similarities between industrial estates throughout the country. At the moment no cultural landscapes have been protected formally.
And although I like the idea in general, I am slightly disturbed by the fact that the interview apparently did not state any requirements for this 10% -nor did it state which parameters mr. De Ruiter wants to use to select the greater group of so-called cultural landscapes. It did, however, state that we should be well considered about what we do with the other 90% percent of the cultural landscape, meaning the to-be-unprotected part of what can at best be descibed as an ill defined group of landscapes (within the even greater group of Dutch landscapes -which are all not natural, and as a consequence, he means the whole of The Netherlands?), which are changing in such a rapid pace, they must defy definition.
Sometimes no news is the best news.
Update (Feb 4, 2007): Unesco created this website recently, on which their criteria to ascertain whether a certain landscape qualifies as a ‘cultural landscape’ can be found, as well as an overview of the landcapes listed thusfar. Interesting stuff. Does not exactly help me to clarify what Mr. De Ruiter really wants, though.
In recent news: Natuurmonumenten has bought Jagtlust for €6,2 million. Jagtlust is one of the many estates in ‘s Graveland, but less well known because up till now it has been private property. The current owner will be living in the coach house after the sale. The house and coach house will be restricted areas, Natuurmonumenten will open (parts of) the park for public.
The house, with 9.5 hectare of land, has been for sale for over four years. Initially the asking price for the estate was €13.5 million, thus making it the most expensive real estate property brought to the market by a private owner in The Netherlands. In early 2005, the asking price had already been dropped by €4 million. The €6.2 million for which the estate was eventually sold, is brought together by the province (€3 million), the national ministry of agriculture and nature (€800.000) and two anonymus gifts (together €750.000). Natuurmonumenten expects to be able to cover the remaining €1.5 million by letting the main building and coach house.
Not noticed by the local press: Continue reading
In the mean time I have been digging up some more information on the architect mentioned in my previous post: T. Henry Reetz, though it is hard to really get a grip on this architect.
He was born in France, in 1685, and probably moved to Berlin soon after. He must have had an early talent for drawing, because the first architectural drawings we know of are dated 1695 -he was ten years old then. In 1706 he is enlisted in the Brandenburg army, as an architect and engineer. On the 5th of July 1706, Reetz was ordered by the “Geheimen Rat” (secret counsil) to draw reconstruction plans for the Moritzburg in Halle. The drawings have survived, but there are no signs that the plans have actually been executed. In 1707 he traveled into Italy, and after 1713 (the year the Prussian king Frederick I died and in which Hofarchitekt Johann Friedrich Eosander left the court as well) Reetz went to Paris. Continue reading