January 16, 2007

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

By Nate Wybenga

Today we toured the area around the Vecht river.  The Vecht corridor region became in the 17th century an area of recreation for the wealthy of Amsterdam.  They built large estates known as “buitens”, and many of these estates still exist today. 

The first thing we did today was visit a castle.  Although the castle is not open to the public, we were able to drive right up to the gate and take a good look at it from the outside.  Then we drove further into the Vecht corridor region, and had the amazing opportunity to tour through one of the wealthy estates or buitens.  Professor Hoeksema and Professor Aay have a friend who is neighbors with the owners of the buiten, and they were gracious enough to give us a tour.  The house was amazing.  Along with the incredible efforts the homeowners have made to preserve the history of the home, a few things especially stuck out to me:  The home has no central heating; instead, each room has a gas furnace in it.  The father of the homeowner enjoyed making models of ships.  The home has inside some 28 models of ships made by the homeowners father, the pinnacle of the collection was a model that took 12 years to build, and was approximately 2 feet wide, 7 feet long, and 5 feet tall!  The homeowners have also contributed a lot to the history of the home by bringing in items that are relevant to the home or relevant to the 17th century Vecht corridor region.

After touring through the buiten, we had lunch at the church of Sander Griffioen, the friend of Professor Hoeksema and Professor Aay.  After lunch Sander gave us a tour of his hometown, Loenen, located in the Vecht corridor.  Loenen is a beautiful town that maintains much of its history.  Because of its beauty, Loenen has become a society with many elite and powerful members.

The last stop of our excursion today was at another castle.  This castle is closed during the winter; however, the group is at times able look around the site.  This time we were able to get a pretty good view of the exterior of the castle, but we weren’t allowed around the site.

Class was really fun today, and it was great to have the opportunity to tour through a buiten.

The first castle we visited


Our visit to the buiten


The second castle we visited

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