After a weekend of friends, food and fireworks, my head is back in the Netherlands. A little escapism from the horrible heat. . .
Today I am thinking of Rosendael. Architecturally, the house is a bit disjointed with a medieval keep and two 17th-century wings. Over the centuries it seems to have grown organically, added onto and modified in stages, rather than subjected to wholesale renovations. It has passed through only two families in its long history and is regarded as one of the most important houses in the Gelderland.
However, it is the landscape and gardens that truly make Rosendael a standout. Only a few miles from the German border, the terrain is hillier and more varied than most of the Netherlands. In the late 17th century, Daniel Marot was enlisted to transform the grounds into a stunning series of vistas, accented by decorative features and water follies (including the famous Bedriegertjes, or trick fountains). In the first half of the 19th century, J.D. Zocher the Younger was hired to redesign the grounds to something more picturesque. However, Marot's glorious shell grotto, painted pavilion, and fountains survive. Because of its proximity to the German border, the house and gardens sustained significant bomb damage during the Second World War. While the family tried valiantly to restore the property, it was eventually turned over to the Gelderland Landscape Trust in 1978. Since then the Trust has worked to bring the house back to its former glory, opening the house to the public in 1990. It is hard now to imagine such an idyllic setting in the midst of such violent warfare. But least we forget, the curator pointed out several books in the library, bullets still lodged in their spines.
More photographs here.