There’s a castle near Hague that once was a brewer’s farm. Jan, son of a golf club maker made money brewing beer. On an estate the size of 7 rugby fields he built a farmhouse. Now, when you walk in the dense estate’s forest it is not a farmhouse that’s hidden from sight.
Delft brewer’s fortune
Jan Pieterszn. Colff doesn’t want to follow his father’s footsteps and make golf clubs. He does what many do in his days and opens a brewery. In de Witte Hoefijsser – In The White Horseshoe- is right next to the canal in Voorstraat 2 in Delft. Two centuries later, in 1770, his grandson Pieter Maartenszn. enjoys great fortune. He adds Hoeffijser to his name and replaces his great grandfather’s ‘Colffmaekerswoning’ – house of a golf club maker- . Pieter proudly calls the new building ‘House of Hoeffijser’. It comprises a mansion surrounded by a canal and a small farmer’s house. To make sure outsiders understand the difference between mansion and farmer’s house the first is referred to as Large Horseshoe.
The woman and the Dutch estate
Mid 19th century brickmanufacturer Cornelis Schiffer van Bleyswijk renovates the whole estate and dedicates it to his wife Suzanna de Wildt. The Large Horseshoe estate is now De Wiltenburg, later known as Wittenburg. It still is not a castle near Hague, but this will soon change. At the turn of the 20th century an esquire knocks on the door and buys estate De Wittenburg.
Wittenburg becomes a castle near Hague
Fashion changes with time. Esquire Helenus Martinus Speelman has high demands when it comes to the design of his new house. His architect Johannes van Nieukerken has to make several designs before Helenus finally approves the design. This is the moment the brewer’s farm, the brickmanufacturer’s house becomes the castle near Hague. Parts of demolished houses in Amsterdam and The Hague form the castle. When his mansion is almost finished and the tower is built, Helenus tells the workers to remove tower and upper floor. Still not happy with the result, he asks his friend, also promoter of the interests of Dutch castles, for advice. The upper floor and tower are rebuilt.
The hotel in the Dutch castle
The castle near Hague that once was a brewer’s farm is now a stately 4 star hotel and event location. Royalty, ministers and corporates have been coming here for ages. With the opening of the new restaurant, Sophie, named after the wife of Helenus you can now also enjoy the estate’s tranquility during a lunch, high tea or dinner in De Wittenburg.
Explore the estate and it’s surrounding
One extra tip: Explore the park which is full of monuments and monumental trees. From different sides you’ll find great sneek peaks on the castle, its pond and outside terrace. When you you enter estate De Witteburg via the original lime lane you’ll see the estate’s border monument with the initials of Helenus.
You can also reach this Dutch castle by bike. There is an amazing cycle route from The Hague to Leiden that passes several estates in this part of Holland. Some, like this castle near Hague are hard to spot in spring and summer due to the lush monumental trees.
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