hof geschiedenis

'landgoed' Het Hof

a rich past and an inspiring future

anno 1643

blooming 'landgoed' Het Hof has a rich past which goes all the way back to the Middle Ages. The van Haemstede Montigny family where the first owners (1285-1438), followed by the van Borselen family (1438-1507) and the van Brederode family (1507-1568). The mansion was destroyed by the troops of Sonoy in the battle against the Spaniards in 1574.

Het Hof, as we know it today, is a very early and unique pure Dutch Classicist landscaped estate realized by Anthonis Studler van Zurck, a wealthy merchant of Swiss origin. He bought the Heerlijkheid in 1641. Bergen was initially a prominent place and the ties with the ruling lords were good. However, the Heerlijkheid was not an attractive purchase by the time that Studler van Zurck came to Bergen. Bergen, which constisted of little more than a handful of artisans and fishermen at the time, had had a tragic history. The village had been raided and ransacked many times and to make matters worse, the Spaniards came to besiege Bergen in 1574. The Heerlijkheid was almost completely reduced to ashes which had disastrous consequences for Het Hof. Things started looking up with the arrival of Studler and he gave the orders to have another Hof built in Bergen mid-17th century. Old drawings and designs show the plans for a palatial house with gardens and woodlands. The main building with the centre facade was never realised, the west wing was where the stables and coach house were located and the 

east wing was the living area. The west wing has long been demolished, the east wing is the core of what we now know as Het Hof. 

Jacobus Henricus van Reenen bought Bergen in 1851 for ƒ150.000. The core of the Heerlijkheid was Het Hof with the surrounding 17th century landschaped gardens, a stretch of dunes and even a part of the beach. After van Reenen restored Het Hof to its present form, he settled there with his wife Lady Wilhelmina Rendorp van Marquette. The property stayed in the possession of the van Reenen family for almost a century. The Volkshogeschool started renting Het Hof from the van Reenen family in 1945, Het Hof was empty at the time and showed signes of the war. The property was restored bit by bit with little money and the commitment of students. Het Hof came in the hands of the municipal Bergen from whom the Volkshogeschool kept renting until 1962. Het Hof and the farm were then bought from Bergen in 1962 and the Zwarte Schuur was given as a gift. The land will be in leasehold until 2062.

Het Hof is now listed as a monument. The old footbridge, which is very likely the original bridge as built by Studler, is listed as part of the monument. The fence is made of fine ironwork and there are canons on both sides of the driveway which stem from the French period.

the main house

The setup of Het Hof is grand and one of the few examples in the Netherlands where the original geometrical structure is still present. Nevertheless, changes have been made thoughout the centuries that deserve to be kept. Anthonis Studler van Zurck had big plans with the Heerlijkheid Bergen ever since he had it in his possession since 1641. Drawings from 1652 show his dream, which was a Corps de Logis (main building) flanked by two houses which would enclose a square courtyard. The map of the estate is based on harmonious musical harmonies. The two houses were completed in 1660 but the mainhouse was never built. The western house was completely demolished around 1830 and after the estate was sold to van Reenen in 1851, the eastern part was renovated to the current neo-classical building that it is today. The asymmetric position on top of the rectangular plot is explained by the fact that the rest of the house was never built.

the garden

The Hof garden is, due to its very old lane pattern, one of the most unusual and orginal gardens in the Netherlands. Some changes have been made to the garden in the course of 350 years but always in respect to the geometrical structure. The same goes for the scenic pond that probably dates back to the last century. Worth mentioning are the old trees in front of the building, they are the oldest trees in the province of North-Holland. All have probably been planted by Studler himself mid-17th century. 

Another special feature is the huge kitchen garden which contains all types of vegetables, fruit and flowers. And the curved 

wall which dates back to around 1650. The wall, of which there are a few more in the Netherlands, was built to grow fruit. The wall is facing the sun from the south and the curves make sure that the warmth from the sun is captured. The warm microclimate which is then created is perfect for growing southern fruits like peaches and figs in a relatively cold country. The curved construction was also applied to create more rigidity. Without this contrusction, a wall of this length could potentially collaps in a storm which seems an outdated theory today, but fact remains that the curved wall is a beautiful construction.  

geschiedenis hoftuin