Commercial Beeckestijn

Beeckestijn popped up in a Dutch television commercial recently. Wait for or skip to the second half of the video. Visible are the stairways to the 1719 pond and the pond itself, the 1960’s berceau and the flower garden.

Beeckestijn's flower garden

Given the troublesome position Beeckestijn is in at the moment, it would be nice when part of the revenues from this commercial could be used to prevent the estate from being sold. Unfortunately, that is not possible, because Beeckestijn is a public park. On the other hand, if Beeckestijn would be able to receive money from production teams, it probably wouldn’t have been picked as a location.
I guess they were glad they didn’t need to record live sound (so they could mix the dorky song in afterwards): last time I visited the garden, I heard one of these planes cruising overhead every 90 seconds or so.

A lost and gone menagerie

menagerie 1772The menagerie at Beeckestijn, which might be recreated in the future, has not existed for very long. We first hear of it in the early 1760’s and it was probably replaced by a greenhouse in 1784 (which in its turn was demolished in 1957). The fact that the new coalition for the preservance of Beeckestijn has produced plans in which both a menagerie and a greenhouse are among the star attractions, and at the same time suggest that by doing so, the history of this garden can be respected seems a bit odd.

That being said, it is ofcourse true that in order to preserve a location like this, one sometimes needs to cut a few corners to reach a valuable compromise. I should say I fully support the job these people and organisations are doing, and I am glad that the State Secretary for culture has opposed the plans of the counsil of Velsen to sell Beeckestijn to the highest bidder, because the proposed sale conflicted with their own rules for selling the estate.

Animals to save Beeckestijn

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.